The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association; the World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group. The World Bank's most recent stated goal is the reduction of poverty; as of November 2018, the largest recipients of world bank loans were India and China, through loans from IBRD. The World Bank is different from the World Bank Group, an extended family of five international organizations: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development International Development Association International Finance Corporation Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes The World Bank was created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference along with the International Monetary Fund; the president of the World Bank is, traditionally, an American. The World Bank and the IMF are both based in Washington, D.
C. and work with each other. Although many countries were represented at the Bretton Woods Conference, the United States and United Kingdom were the most powerful in attendance and dominated the negotiations; the intention behind the founding of the World Bank was to provide temporary loans to low-income countries which were unable to obtain loans commercially. The Bank may make loans and demand policy reforms from recipients. Before 1974, the reconstruction and development loans provided by the World Bank were small; the Bank's staff were aware of the need to instill confidence in the bank. Fiscal conservatism ruled, loan applications had to meet strict criteria; the first country to receive a World Bank loan was France. The Bank's president at the time, John McCloy, chose France over two other applicants and Chile; the loan was for US$250 million, half the amount requested, it came with strict conditions. France had to agree to produce a balanced budget and give priority of debt repayment to the World Bank over other governments.
World Bank staff monitored the use of the funds to ensure that the French government met the conditions. In addition, before the loan was approved, the United States State Department told the French government that its members associated with the Communist Party would first have to be removed; the French government complied and removed the Communist coalition government - the so-called tripartite. Within hours, the loan to France was approved; when the Marshall Plan went into effect in 1947, many European countries began receiving aid from other sources. Faced with this competition, the World Bank shifted its focus to non-European countries; until 1968, its loans were earmarked for the construction of infrastructure works, such as seaports, highway systems, power plants, that would generate enough income to enable a borrower country to repay the loan. In 1960, the International Development Association was formed, providing soft loans to developing countries. From 1974 to 1980 the bank concentrated on meeting the basic needs of people in the developing world.
The size and number of loans to borrowers was increased as loan targets expanded from infrastructure into social services and other sectors. These changes can be attributed to Robert McNamara, appointed to the presidency in 1968 by Lyndon B. Johnson. McNamara implored bank treasurer Eugene Rotberg to seek out new sources of capital outside of the northern banks, the primary sources of funding. Rotberg used the global bond market to increase the capital available to the bank. One consequence of the period of poverty alleviation lending was the rapid rise of third world debt. From 1976 to 1980 developing world debt rose at an average annual rate of 20%. In 1980 the World Bank Administrative Tribunal was established to decide on disputes between the World Bank Group and its staff where allegation of non-observance of contracts of employment or terms of appointment had not been honored. In 1980 McNamara was succeeded by Alden W. Clausen. Clausen crafted a different mission emphasis, his 1982 decision to replace the bank's Chief Economist, Hollis B.
Chenery, with Anne Krueger was an example of this new focus. Krueger was known for her criticism of development funding and for describing Third World governments as "rent-seeking states". During the 1980s the bank emphasized lending to service Third-World debt, structural adjustment policies designed to streamline the economies of developing nations. UNICEF reported in the late 1980s that the structural adjustment programs of the World Bank had been responsible for "reduced health and educational levels for tens of millions of children in Asia, Latin America, Africa". Beginning in 1989, in response to harsh criticism from many groups, the bank began including environmental groups and NGOs in its loans to mitigate the past effects of its development policies that had prompted the criticism, it formed an implementing agency, in accordance with the Montreal Protocols, to stop ozone-depletion damage to the Earth's atmosphere by phasing out the use of 95% of ozone-depleting chemicals, with a target date of 2015.
Since in accordance with its so-called "Six Strategic Themes", the bank has put various additional policies into effect to preserve the environment while promoting development. For example, in 1991 the bank announced that to protect against deforestation in the Amazon, it would not finance any commercial logging or infrastructure projects that harm the en
Water is a transparent, tasteless and nearly colorless chemical substance, the main constituent of Earth's streams and oceans, the fluids of most living organisms. It is vital for all known forms of life though it provides no calories or organic nutrients, its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that each of its molecules contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, connected by covalent bonds. Water is the name of the liquid state of H2O at standard ambient pressure, it forms precipitation in the form of rain and aerosols in the form of fog. Clouds are formed from suspended droplets of its solid state; when finely divided, crystalline ice may precipitate in the form of snow. The gaseous state of water is water vapor. Water moves continually through the water cycle of evaporation, condensation and runoff reaching the sea. Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface in seas and oceans. Small portions of water occur as groundwater, in the glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland, in the air as vapor and precipitation.
Water plays an important role in the world economy. 70% of the freshwater used by humans goes to agriculture. Fishing in salt and fresh water bodies is a major source of food for many parts of the world. Much of long-distance trade of commodities and manufactured products is transported by boats through seas, rivers and canals. Large quantities of water and steam are used for cooling and heating, in industry and homes. Water is an excellent solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances. Water is central to many sports and other forms of entertainment, such as swimming, pleasure boating, boat racing, sport fishing, diving; the word water comes from Old English wæter, from Proto-Germanic *watar, from Proto-Indo-European *wod-or, suffixed form of root *wed-. Cognate, through the Indo-European root, with Greek ύδωρ, Russian вода́, Irish uisce, Albanian ujë; the identification of water as a substance Water is a polar inorganic compound, at room temperature a tasteless and odorless liquid, nearly colorless with a hint of blue.
This simplest hydrogen chalcogenide is by far the most studied chemical compound and is described as the "universal solvent" for its ability to dissolve many substances. This allows it to be the "solvent of life", it is the only common substance to exist as a solid and gas in normal terrestrial conditions. Water is a liquid at the pressures that are most adequate for life. At a standard pressure of 1 atm, water is a liquid between 0 and 100 °C. Increasing the pressure lowers the melting point, about −5 °C at 600 atm and −22 °C at 2100 atm; this effect is relevant, for example, to ice skating, to the buried lakes of Antarctica, to the movement of glaciers. Increasing the pressure has a more dramatic effect on the boiling point, about 374 °C at 220 atm; this effect is important in, among other things, deep-sea hydrothermal vents and geysers, pressure cooking, steam engine design. At the top of Mount Everest, where the atmospheric pressure is about 0.34 atm, water boils at 68 °C. At low pressures, water cannot exist in the liquid state and passes directly from solid to gas by sublimation—a phenomenon exploited in the freeze drying of food.
At high pressures, the liquid and gas states are no longer distinguishable, a state called supercritical steam. Water differs from most liquids in that it becomes less dense as it freezes; the maximum density of water in its liquid form is 1,000 kg/m3. The density of ice is 917 kg/m3. Thus, water expands 9% in volume as it freezes, which accounts for the fact that ice floats on liquid water; the details of the exact chemical nature of liquid water are not well understood. Pure water is described as tasteless and odorless, although humans have specific sensors that can feel the presence of water in their mouths, frogs are known to be able to smell it. However, water from ordinary sources has many dissolved substances, that may give it varying tastes and odors. Humans and other animals have developed senses that enable them to evaluate the potability of water by avoiding water, too salty or putrid; the apparent color of natural bodies of water is determined more by dissolved and suspended solids, or by reflection of the sky, than by water itself.
Light in the visible electromagnetic spectrum can traverse a couple meters of pure water without significant absorption, so that it looks transparent and colorless. Thus aquatic plants and other photosynthetic organisms can live in water up to hundreds of meters deep, because sunlight can reach them. Water vapour is invisible as a gas. Through a thickness of 10 meters or more, the intrinsic color of water is visibly turquoise, as its absorption spectrum has
Natural rubber called India rubber or caoutchouc, as produced, consists of polymers of the organic compound isoprene, with minor impurities of other organic compounds, plus water. Thailand and Indonesia are two of the leading rubber producers. Forms of polyisoprene that are used as natural rubbers are classified as elastomers. Rubber is harvested in the form of the latex from the rubber tree or others; the latex is a sticky, milky colloid drawn off by making incisions in the bark and collecting the fluid in vessels in a process called "tapping". The latex is refined into rubber ready for commercial processing. In major areas, latex is allowed to coagulate in the collection cup; the coagulated lumps are processed into dry forms for marketing. Natural rubber is used extensively in many applications and products, either alone or in combination with other materials. In most of its useful forms, it has a large stretch ratio and high resilience, is waterproof; the major commercial source of natural rubber latex is the Pará rubber tree, a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae.
This species is preferred. A properly managed tree responds to wounding by producing more latex for several years. Congo rubber a major source of rubber, came from vines in the genus Landolphia. Dandelion milk contains latex; the latex exhibits the same quality as the natural rubber from rubber trees. In the wild types of dandelion, latex content varies greatly. In Nazi Germany, research projects tried to use dandelions as a base for rubber production, but failed. In 2013, by inhibiting one key enzyme and using modern cultivation methods and optimization techniques, scientists in the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Germany developed a cultivar, suitable for commercial production of natural rubber. In collaboration with Continental Tires, IME began a pilot facility. Many other plants produce forms of latex rich in isoprene polymers, though not all produce usable forms of polymer as as the Pará; some of them require more elaborate processing to produce anything like usable rubber, most are more difficult to tap.
Some produce other desirable materials, for example chicle from Manilkara species. Others that have been commercially exploited, or at least showed promise as rubber sources, include the rubber fig, Panama rubber tree, various spurges, the related Scorzonera tau-saghyz, various Taraxacum species, including common dandelion and Russian dandelion, most for its hypoallergenic properties, guayule; the term gum rubber is sometimes applied to the tree-obtained version of natural rubber in order to distinguish it from the synthetic version. The first use of rubber was by the indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica; the earliest archeological evidence of the use of natural latex from the Hevea tree comes from the Olmec culture, in which rubber was first used for making balls for the Mesoamerican ballgame. Rubber was used by the Maya and Aztec cultures – in addition to making balls Aztecs used rubber for other purposes such as making containers and to make textiles waterproof by impregnating them with the latex sap.
The Pará rubber tree is indigenous to South America. Charles Marie de La Condamine is credited with introducing samples of rubber to the Académie Royale des Sciences of France in 1736. In 1751, he presented a paper by François Fresneau to the Académie that described many of rubber's properties; this has been referred to as the first scientific paper on rubber. In England, Joseph Priestley, in 1770, observed that a piece of the material was good for rubbing off pencil marks on paper, hence the name "rubber", it made its way around England. In 1764 François Fresnau discovered. Giovanni Fabbroni is credited with the discovery of naphtha as a rubber solvent in 1779. South America remained the main source of latex rubber used during much of the 19th century; the rubber trade was controlled by business interests but no laws expressly prohibited the export of seeds or plants. In 1876, Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 Pará rubber tree seeds from Brazil and delivered them to Kew Gardens, England. Only 2,400 of these germinated.
Seedlings were sent to India, British Ceylon, Dutch East Indies and British Malaya. Malaya was to become the biggest producer of rubber. In the early 1900s, the Congo Free State in Africa was a significant source of natural rubber latex gathered by forced labor. King Leopold II's colonial state brutally enforced production quotas. Tactics to enforce the rubber quotas included removing the hands of victims to prove they had been killed. Soldiers came back from raids with baskets full of chopped-off hands. Villages that resisted were razed to encourage better compliance locally. See Atrocities in the Congo Free State for more information on the rubber trade in the Congo Free State in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Liberia and Nigeria started production. In India, commercial cultivation was introduced by British planters, although the experimental efforts to grow rubber on a commercial scale were initiated as early as 1873 at the Calcutta Botanical Gardens; the first commercial Hevea plantations were established at Thattekadu in Kerala in 1902.
In years the plantation expanded to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India. India today is the
Transport or transportation is the movement of humans and goods from one location to another. In other words the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of an organism or thing from a point A to the Point B. Modes of transport include air, water, cable and space; the field can be divided into infrastructure and operations. Transport is important because it enables trade between people, essential for the development of civilizations. Transport infrastructure consists of the fixed installations, including roads, airways, waterways and pipelines and terminals such as airports, railway stations, bus stations, trucking terminals, refueling depots and seaports. Terminals may be used both for maintenance. Vehicles traveling on these networks may include automobiles, buses, trucks, watercraft and aircraft. Operations deal with the way the vehicles are operated, the procedures set for this purpose, including financing and policies. In the transport industry and ownership of infrastructure can be either public or private, depending on the country and mode.
Passenger transport may be public. Freight transport has become focused on containerization, although bulk transport is used for large volumes of durable items. Transport plays an important part in economic growth and globalization, but most types cause air pollution and use large amounts of land. While it is subsidized by governments, good planning of transport is essential to make traffic flow and restrain urban sprawl. Humans' first means of transport involved walking and swimming; the domestication of animals introduced a new way to lay the burden of transport on more powerful creatures, allowing the hauling of heavier loads, or humans riding animals for greater speed and duration. Inventions such as the wheel and the sled helped make animal transport more efficient through the introduction of vehicles. Water transport, including rowed and sailed vessels, dates back to time immemorial, was the only efficient way to transport large quantities or over large distances prior to the Industrial Revolution.
The first forms of road transport involved animals, such as horses, oxen or humans carrying goods over dirt tracks that followed game trails. Many early civilizations, including those in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, constructed paved roads. In classical antiquity, the Persian and Roman empires built stone-paved roads to allow armies to travel quickly. Deep roadbeds of crushed stone underneath kept such roads dry; the medieval Caliphate built tar-paved roads. The first watercraft were canoes cut out from tree trunks. Early water transport was accomplished with ships that were either rowed or used the wind for propulsion, or a combination of the two; the importance of water has led to most cities that grew up as sites for trading being located on rivers or on the sea-shore at the intersection of two bodies of water. Until the Industrial Revolution, transport remained slow and costly, production and consumption gravitated as close to each other as feasible; the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw a number of inventions fundamentally change transport.
With telegraphy, communication became independent of the transport of physical objects. The invention of the steam engine followed by its application in rail transport, made land transport independent of human or animal muscles. Both speed and capacity increased allowing specialization through manufacturing being located independently of natural resources; the 19th century saw the development of the steam ship, which sped up global transport. With the development of the combustion engine and the automobile around 1900, road transport became more competitive again, mechanical private transport originated; the first "modern" highways were constructed during the 19th century with macadam. Tarmac and concrete became the dominant paving materials. In 1903 the Wright brothers demonstrated the first successful controllable airplane, after World War I aircraft became a fast way to transport people and express goods over long distances. After World War II the automobile and airlines took higher shares of transport, reducing rail and water to freight and short-haul passenger services.
Scientific spaceflight began in the 1950s, with rapid growth until the 1970s, when interest dwindled. In the 1950s the introduction of containerization gave massive efficiency gains in freight transport, fostering globalization. International air travel became much more accessible in the 1960s with the commercialization of the jet engine. Along with the growth in automobiles and motorways and water transport declined in relative importance. After the introduction of the Shinkansen in Japan in 1964, high-speed rail in Asia and Europe started attracting passengers on long-haul routes away from the airlines. Early in U. S. history, private joint-stock corporations owned most aqueducts, canals, railroads and tunnels. Most such transport infrastructure came under government control in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, culminating in the nationalization of inter-city passenger rail-service with the establishment of Amtrak. However, a movement to privatize roads and other infrastructure has gained some ground and adherents.
A mode of transport is a solution that makes use of a particular type of vehicle and operation. The transport of a person or of cargo may invol
An industry is the production of goods or related services within an economy. The major source of revenue of a group or company is the indicator of its relevant industry; when a large group has multiple sources of revenue generation, it is considered to be working in different industries. Manufacturing industry became a key sector of production and labour in European and North American countries during the Industrial Revolution, upsetting previous mercantile and feudal economies; this came through many successive rapid advances in technology, such as the production of steel and coal. Following the Industrial Revolution a third of the economic output comes from manufacturing industries. Many developed countries and many developing/semi-developed countries depend on manufacturing industry. Slavery, the practice of utilizing forced labor to produce goods and services, has occurred since antiquity throughout the world as a means of low-cost production, it produces goods for which profit depends on economies of scale those for which labor was simple and easy to supervise.
International law has declared slavery illegal. Guilds, associations of artisans and merchants, oversee the production and distribution of a particular good. Guilds have their roots in the Roman Empire as collegia Membership in these early guilds was voluntary; the Roman collegia did not survive the fall of Rome. In the early middle ages, guilds once again began to emerge in Europe, reaching a degree of maturity by the beginning of the 14th century. While few guilds remain today, some modern labor structures resemble those of traditional guilds. Other guilds, such as the SAG-AFTRA act as trade unions rather than as classical guilds. Professor Sheilagh Ogilvie claims that guilds negatively affected quality and innovation in areas that they were present; the industrial revolution saw the development and popularization of mechanized means of production as a replacement for hand production. The industrial revolution played a role in the abolition of slavery in North America; the Industrial Revolution led to the development of factories for large-scale production with consequent changes in society.
The factories were steam-powered, but transitioned to electricity once an electrical grid was developed. The mechanized assembly line was introduced to assemble parts in a repeatable fashion, with individual workers performing specific steps during the process; this led to significant increases in efficiency. Automation was used to replace human operators; this process has accelerated with the development of the robot. Certain manufacturing industries have gone into a decline due to various economic factors, including the development of replacement technology or the loss of competitive advantage. An example of the former is the decline in carriage manufacturing when the automobile was mass-produced. A recent trend has been the migration of prosperous, industrialized nations towards a post-industrial society; this is manifested by an increase in the service sector at the expense of manufacturing, the development of an information-based economy, the so-called informational revolution. In a post-industrial society, manufacturers relocate to more profitable locations through a process of off-shoring.
Measurements of manufacturing industries outputs and economic effect are not stable. Traditionally, success has been measured in the number of jobs created; the reduced number of employees in the manufacturing sector has been assumed to result from a decline in the competitiveness of the sector, or the introduction of the lean manufacturing process. Related to this change is the upgrading of the quality of the product being manufactured. While it is possible to produce a low-technology product with low-skill labour, the ability to manufacture high-technology products well is dependent on a skilled staff. An industrial society is a society driven by the use of technology to enable mass production, supporting a large population with a high capacity for division of labour. Today, industry is an important part of nations. A government must have some kind of industrial policy, regulating industrial placement, industrial pollution and industrial labour. In an industrial society, industry employs a major part of the population.
This occurs in the manufacturing sector. A labour union is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals in key areas such as wages and other working conditions; the trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers. This movement first rose among industrial workers; the Industrial Revolution changed warfare, with mass-produced weaponry and supplies, machine-powered transportation, the total war concept and weapons of mass destruction. Early instances of industrial warfare were the Crimean War and the American Civil War, but its full potential showed during the world wars. See military-industrial complex, arms industries, military industry and modern warfare. Industries portal Industry information North American Industry Classification System North American Product Classification System Outline of industry Standard Industrial Classification Krahn, Harvey J. and Graham S. Lowe.
Work and Canadian Society. Second ed. Scarborough, Ont.: Nelson Canada, 1993. Xii, 430 pp. ISBN 0-17-603540-0 Media related to Industries at Wikimedia Commons Quotations related to industry at Wikiquote
Hong Kong the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region. Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842; the colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War, was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The entire territory was transferred to China in 1997; as a special administrative region, Hong Kong's system of government is separate from that of mainland China and its people identify more as Hongkongers rather than Chinese. A sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the world's most significant financial centres and commercial ports.
It is the world's seventh-largest trading entity, its legal tender is the world's 13th-most traded currency. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it has severe income inequality; the territory has the largest number of skyscrapers in most surrounding Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong ranks seventh on the UN Human Development Index, has the sixth-longest life expectancy in the world. Although over 90 per cent of its population uses public transportation, air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates; the name of the territory, first spelled "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780 referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between local fishermen. Although the source of the romanised name is unknown, it is believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng; the name translates as "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour".
"Fragrant" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's freshwater influx from the Pearl River or to the odor from incense factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export. Sir John Davis offered an alternative origin; the simplified name Hong Kong was used by 1810 written as a single word. Hongkong was common until 1926, when the government adopted the two-word name; some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including Hongkong Land, Hongkong Electric and Shanghai Hotels and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The region is first known to have been occupied by humans during the Neolithic period, about 6,000 years ago. Early Hong Kong settlers were a semi-coastal people who migrated from inland and brought knowledge of rice cultivation; the Qin dynasty incorporated the Hong Kong area into China for the first time in 214 BCE, after conquering the indigenous Baiyue. The region was consolidated under the Nanyue kingdom after the Qin collapse, recaptured by China after the Han conquest.
During the Mongol conquest, the Southern Song court was located in modern-day Kowloon City before its final defeat in the 1279 Battle of Yamen. By the end of the Yuan dynasty, seven large families had settled in the region and owned most of the land. Settlers from nearby provinces migrated to Kowloon throughout the Ming dynasty; the earliest European visitor was Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares, who arrived in 1513. Portuguese merchants established a trading post called in Hong Kong waters, began regular trade with southern China. Although the traders were expelled after military clashes in the 1520s, Portuguese-Chinese trade relations were reestablished by 1549. Portugal acquired a permanent lease for Macau in 1557. After the Qing conquest, maritime trade was banned under the Haijin policies; the Kangxi Emperor lifted the prohibition, allowing foreigners to enter Chinese ports in 1684. Qing authorities established the Canton System in 1757 to regulate trade more restricting non-Russian ships to the port of Canton.
Although European demand for Chinese commodities like tea and porcelain was high, Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was insignificant. To counter the trade imbalance, the British sold large amounts of Indian opium to China. Faced with a drug crisis, Qing officials pursued ever-more-aggressive actions to halt the opium trade; the Daoguang Emperor rejected proposals to legalise and tax opium, ordering imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to eradicate the opium trade in 1839. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, forcing a British military response and triggering the First Opium War; the Qing ceded Hong Kong Island in the Convention of Chuenpi. However, both countries did not ratify the agreement. After over a year of further hostilities, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded to the United Kingdom in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. Administrative infrastructure was built up by early 1842, but piracy and hostile Qing policies towards Hong Kong prevented the government from attracting merchants.
The Taiping Rebellion, when many wealthy Chinese fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colon
China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script