|Literal meaning:||Middle Kingdom|
|People's Republic of China|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Uyghur:||جۇڭخۇا خەلق جۇمھۇرىيىت|
|Zhuang:||Cunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz|
The word "China" is derived from Persian Cin (چین), which is from Sanskrit Cīna (चीन). It is first recorded in 1516 in the journal of Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. It appears in English in a translation published in 1555. The Sanskrit word was used to refer to China as early as AD 150. There are various scholarly theories regarding the origin of this word. The traditional theory, proposed in the 17th century by Martino Martini, is that "China" is derived from "Qin" (秦), the westernmost of the Chinese kingdoms during the Zhou Dynasty, or from the succeeding Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). The word Cīna is used in two Hindu scriptures – the Mahābhārata of the 5th century BC and the Laws of Manu of the 2nd century BC – to refer to a country located in the Tibetan-Burman borderlands east of India.
In China, common names for the country include Zhōngguó (Chinese: 中国; literally "the Central State(s)") and Zhōnghuá (Chinese: 中华), although the country's official name has been changed numerous times by successive dynasties and modern governments. The term Zhongguo appeared in various ancient texts, such as the Classic of History of the 6th century BC, and in pre-imperial times it was often used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia from the barbarians. The term, which can be either singular or plural, referred to the group of states in the central plain. It was only in the nineteenth century that the term emerged as the formal name of the country. The Chinese were not unique in regarding their country as "central", since other civilizations had the same view.
Read more about this topic: China
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