Why Is China Called China?

For centuries, the world has been captivated by the mysterious nation of China and the cultural traditions that it has become synonymous with. But if you ever wondered why this vibrant powerhouse is called ‘China’, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating history behind this name and explore its deep-rooted significance and the influence it has had on the nation.

So, let’s unravel the mystery and explore why China is called China.


China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. For centuries, it has been home to extraordinary achievements in art and culture, science, industry, and more. It’s no surprise that so many countries refer to the country as “China”.

But why? What’s the story behind how this country came to be known as “China”?

Let’s delve into history to find out the answers.

The Abridged History of “China”

Primarily Dynastic

The name China is actually derived from the Chinese Qin dynasty. During the Qin (pronounced “Chin”) dynasty, hundreds of years before the beginning of the Common Era (CE), Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified various warring states under the Qin dynastic banner, creating the foundation of the world’s earliest empire.

In a way, you could say that all of China is named after this dynasty.

Tang and Song-based Naming

The Tang and Song dynasties that followed the Qin also contributed to the name of China.

Over the centuries, the English pronunciation of “China” evolved out of a combination of both the Tang and Song pronunciations of the word “Qin”. The Tang pronunciation was “Chin” and the Song pronunciation was “Cin”.

Eventually, these two pronunciations blended together to become the English “China”.

Popularization of “China”

The term “China” was popularized by Marco Polo, the famous Venetian explorer. He visited China in the 13th century and used the term in his diary, along with his descriptions of the land, people, and customs he encountered during his travels.

Since then, the term “China” has been used to refer to this great country in popular culture and conversations.


In conclusion, the term “China” is actually derived from the Chinese Qin dynasty, which was established several hundred years before the Common Era and is one of the oldest civilizations in world history. Through the subsequent dynasties of Tang and Song and the popularization of the term “China” by Marco Polo, the country eventually came to be known as “China” today. Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and even the Great Wall of China are all legacies from this country known as “China”.

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