Italian battleship Roma (1940)
Roma, named after two previous ships and the city of Rome, was the third Vittorio Veneto-class battleship of Italy's Regia Marina. The construction of both Roma and her sister ship Impero was due to rising tensions around the world and the navy's fear that only two Vittorio Venetos in company with older pre-First World War battleships, would not be enough to counter the British and French Mediterranean Fleets; as Roma was laid down four years after the first two ships of the class, some small improvements were made to the design, including additional freeboard added to the bow. Roma was commissioned into the Regia Marina on 14 June 1942, but a severe fuel shortage in Italy at that time prevented her from being deployed. In this role, she was damaged twice in June 1943, from bomber raids on La Spezia. After repairs in Genoa through all of July and part of August, Roma was deployed as the flagship of Admiral Carlo Bergamini in a large battle group that comprised the three Vittorio Venetos, eight cruisers and eight destroyers.
The battle group was scheduled to attack the Allied ships approaching Salerno to invade Italy on 9 September 1943, but the news of the 8 September 1943 armistice with the Allies led to the operation being cancelled. The Italian fleet was instead ordered to sail to La Maddalena and subsequently to Malta to surrender to the Allies. While the force was in the Strait of Bonifacio, Dornier Do 217s of the German Luftwaffe's specialist wing KG 100—armed with Fritz X radio-controlled bombs—sighted the force; the first attack failed. The hit on Roma caused water to flood two boiler rooms and the aft engine room, leaving the ship to limp along with two propellers, reduced power, arc-induced fires in the stern of the ship. Shortly thereafter, another bomb slammed into the ship and detonated within the forward engine room, causing catastrophic flooding and the explosion of the #2 main turret's magazines, throwing the turret itself into the sea. Sinking by the bow and listing to starboard, Roma capsized and broke in two, carrying 1,393 men—including Bergamini—down with her.
For additional information, see Littorio-class battleshipThe Italian leader Benito Mussolini did not authorize any large naval rearmament until 1933. Once he did, two old battleships of the Conte di Cavour class were sent to be modernized in the same year, Vittorio Veneto and Littorio were laid down in 1934. In May 1935, the Italian Naval Ministry began preparing for a five-year naval building program that would include four battleships, three aircraft carriers, four cruisers, fifty-four submarines, forty smaller ships. In December 1935, Admiral Domenico Cavagnari proposed to Mussolini that, among other things, two more battleships of the Littorio class be built to attempt to counter a possible Franco-British alliance—if the two countries combined forces, they would outnumber the Italian fleet. Mussolini postponed his decision, but authorized planning for the two ships in January 1937. In December, they were approved and money was allocated for them. Laid down nearly four years after Vittorio Veneto and Littorio, Roma was able to incorporate a few design improvements.
Her bow was noticeably redesigned to give Roma additional freeboard. She was equipped with thirty-two rather than twenty-four 20 mm /65 caliber Breda guns. Roma had a beam of 32.82 m and a draft of 9.6 m. She was designed with a standard displacement of 40,992 long tons, a violation of the 35,000-long-ton restriction of the Washington Naval Treaty; the ship was powered by four Belluzo geared steam turbines rated at 128,000 shaft horsepower. Steam was provided by eight oil-fired Yarrow boilers; the engines provided a range of 3,920 mi at 20 knots. Roma had a crew of 1,830 to 1,950. Roma's main armament consisted of nine 381-millimeter 50-caliber Model 1934 guns in three triple turrets, her secondary anti-surface armament consisted of twelve 152 mm /55 Model 1934/35 guns in four triple turrets amidships. These were supplemented by four 120 mm /40 Model 1891/92 guns in single mounts. Roma was equipped with an anti-aircraft battery that comprised twelve 90 mm /50 Model 1938 guns in single mounts, twenty 37 mm /54 guns in eight twin and four single mounts, sixteen 20 mm /65 guns in eight twin mounts.
The ship was protected by a main armored belt, 280 mm with a second layer of steel, 70 mm thick. The main deck was 162 mm thick in the central area of the ship and reduced to 45 mm in less critical areas; the main battery turrets were 350 mm thick and the lower turret structure was housed in barbettes that were 350 mm thick. The secondary turrets had 280 mm thick faces and the conning tower had 260 mm thick sides. Roma was fitted with a catapult on her stern and equipped with three IMAM Ro.43 reconnaissance float planes or Reggiane Re.2000 fighters. Roma's keel was laid by the Italian shi
Japanese submarine I-182
The Japanese submarine I-182 was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD7 sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the 1940s. She was sunk with all hands by an American destroyer in mid-1943; the submarines of the KD7 sub-class were medium-range attack submarines developed from the preceding KD6 sub-class. They displaced 1,862 metric tons surfaced and 2,644 metric tons submerged; the submarines were 105.5 meters long, had a beam of 8.25 meters and a draft of 4.6 meters. The boats had a complement of 86 officers and crewmen. For surface running, the boats were powered by two 4,000-brake-horsepower diesel engines, each driving one propeller shaft; when submerged each propeller was driven by a 900-horsepower electric motor. They could reach 23 knots on 8 knots underwater. On the surface, the KD7s had a range of 8,000 nautical miles at 16 knots; the boats were armed with all in the bow. They carried, they were intended to be armed with two twin-gun mounts for the 25 mm Type 96 anti-aircraft gun, but a 120 mm deck gun for combat on the surface was substituted for one 25 mm mount during construction.
Built by the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, the boat was laid down as I-82 and renamed I-182 in 1942. She was launched on 30 May 1942 and completed on 10 May 1943; the boat was sunk with the loss of all 87 officers and crewmen aboard by the destroyer USS Wadsworth on 1 September 1943 off the New Hebrides. I-182 was stricken from the Navy List in 1943. Bagnasco, Erminio. Submarines of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-962-6. Carpenter, Dorr B. & Polmar, Norman. Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1904–1945. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-396-6. Chesneau, Roger, ed.. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. Hackett, Bob & Kingsepp, Sander. "IJN Submarine I-182: Tabular Record of Movement". Combinedfleet.com. Retrieved 8 November 2015. Jentschura, Hansgeorg. Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute. ISBN 0-87021-893-X
SS Conte di Savoia
SS Conte di Savoia was an Italian ocean liner built in 1932 at the Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, Trieste. Conte di Savoia was ordered for the Lloyd Sabaudo line; the new Italia Line controlled Rex, a similar though larger ship completed just two months before Conte di Savoia. The Conte di Savoia was more modern in decoration and appearance than Rex and was the first major liner fitted with gyroscopic stabilisers. In November 1932 she made her maiden voyage to New York. Unlike Rex, she never made a record transatlantic crossing, reaching a best speed of 27.5 knots in 1933. Conte di Savoia had one unusual feature designed to increase passenger numbers. Three huge anti-rolling gyroscopes were fitted low down in a forward hold; these rotated at high revolutions and were designed to eliminate rolling - a persistent problem on the rough North Atlantic crossing that affected all shipping lines. In practice they reduced the rolling by slowing down the rolling period, they caused the vessel to "hang" annoyingly when the vessel was on the extreme limit of her rolls.
For safety reasons the system was abandoned on eastbound crossings where the prevailing weather produced following seas, although it was still used on westbound crossings. This was because with a following sea the vessel tended to'hang' with the system turned on, the inertia it generated made it harder for the vessel to right herself from heavy rolls. None of this affected the operation of the shipping lines advertising department and the benefits of a "smooth crossing" were promoted during the life of the ship. In 1931, Italian architect, Melchiorre Bega was selected to design the interior lay-out and furnishings of the Conte di Savoia. Bega, well-known for his innovative designs of stores, cafés and hotels, created a modernist interior. Conte di Savoia was pulled from commercial line service in 1940 for wartime service, she was sunk in 1943, despite being refloated and rebuilt in 1945 was scrapped in 1950. Eugenio Pacelli's 1936 visit to Philip; the Liner. New York, NY: WW Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-06166-3.
Page at 20th Century Liners website History Statistics Winchester, Clarence, ed. "The Rex and the Conte di Savoia", Shipping Wonders of the World, pp. 1341–1345, illustrated description of the Rex and the Conte di Savoia
Republic of China Navy
The Republic of China Navy is the maritime branch of the Republic of China Armed Forces. The ROC Navy's primary mission is to defend ROC territories and the sea lanes that surround Taiwan against a blockade, attack, or possible invasion by the People's Liberation Army Navy of the People's Republic of China. Operations include maritime patrols in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding waters, as well as counter-strike and counter-invasion operations during wartime; the Republic of China Marine Corps functions as a branch of the Navy. The ship prefix for ROCN combatants is ROCS; the Navy CHQs is subordinate to the General Staff, the Minister of Defense, the ROC President. Internal units: Personnel, Combat Readiness & Training, Planning, Combat Systems, General Affairs, Inspector General, Political Warfare. Naval Fleets Command 124th Fleet: Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City 131st Fleet: Keelung City, Taiwan Province 146th Fleet: Magong City, Penghu County, Taiwan Province Amphibious Fleet, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City 168th Fleet: Suao, Yilan County, Taiwan Province 192nd Fleet: Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City 256th Submarine Squadron: Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City 261st Squadron Hai Chiao PGMG Guided Missile Boat/Craft Group 1st Hai Chiao Guided Missile Boat/Craft Squadron of 10 Kuang Hua VI-class missile boat at Suao naval base 2nd Hai Chiao Guided Missile Boat/Craft Squadron of 10 Kuang Hua VI-class missile boat 3rd Hai Chiao Guided Missile Boat/Craft Squadron of 10 Hai Ou-class missile boat 4th Hai Chiao Guided Missile Boat/Craft Squadron of 10 Hai Ou-class missile boat 5th Hai Chiao Guided Missile Boat/Craft Squadron of 11 Kuang Hua VI-class missile boatHai Feng Shore Based Anti-ship Missile Group, operates 6 batteries of fixed/mobile HF-2 anti-ship missiles.7th Hai Feng Shore Based Anti-ship Missile Squadron, Eastern Taiwan.
Aviation Command Naval Aviation, at Pingtung, will receive 12 P-3C 2013/2014. 1st ASW Aviation Group133rd Squadron: S-2T, at Pingtung. 134th Squadron: S-2T, at Pingtung.2nd ASW Aviation Group701st Helicopter Squadron, S-70C-1, at Hualien. 702nd Helicopter Squadron, S-70C-2, at Tsoying. 501st Helicopter Squadron, 500MD ASW, at Tsoying. Maintenance Group1st Maintenance Squadron 2nd Maintenance Squadron 3rd Maintenance Squadron Marine Corps Command Education and Doctrine Command Logistics Command Naval Academy, Hydrographic & Oceanographic Bureau, Shipbuilding Development Center, Communication Systems, General Service. Sources: The precursor to the modern ROC Navy was established as the Ministry of the Navy in the Provisional Government of the Republic of China in 1911 following the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. During the period of warlordism that scarred China in the 1920s and 1930s the ROCN remained loyal to the Kuomintang government of Sun Yat-sen instead of the warlord government in Beijing which fell to the nationalist government in the 1928 northern campaign and between the civil war with the Communist Party and 1937 Japanese invasion of Northeast China.
During that time and throughout World War II, the ROCN concentrated on riverine warfare as the poorly equipped ROCN was not a match to Imperial Japanese Navy over ocean or coast. Following World War II, a number of Japanese destroyers and decommissioned U. S. ships were transferred to the ROC Navy. During the Chinese Civil War, the ROCN was involved in the protection of supply convoys and the withdrawal of the ROC Government and over 1 million refugees to Taiwan in 1949; the subsequent reorganization and reestablishment of the Navy after evacuation to Taiwan is referenced in the lyrics of the post 1949 ROC Navy Song "The New Navy". Following the relocation of the ROC government to Taiwan, the ROCN was involved in a number of commando attack escorts and transport of more displaced soldiers and to provide patrols and resupply operations to Kinmen and Matsu in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea offshore islands. Since the 1990s the Navy has grown in importance as the emphasis of the ROC's military doctrine moves towards countering a possible People's Republic of China blockade, as well as offshore engagement.
The ROCN has been working hard to expand its capability in electronic and anti-submarine warfare, as well as the replacement of its current antiquated fleet. However local shipbuilder CSBC still lacks the technology to build modern submarines. OfficersNon-commissioned Traditionally, most ROCN equipment is purchased from the United States, though several ships have been built domestically under licence or through domestic development; the ROCN has purchased Lafayette-class frigates from France and Zwaardvis-class submarines from the Netherlands as well as four U. S. Kidd-class destroyers intended for Iran. Despite the ROCN refurbishing and extending the service life of its vessels and equipment, it has suffered from procurement difficulties due to pressures exerted by the PRC, it has only two useful submarines. The U. S. has approved sales of eight new diesel powered submarines but lacks the manufacturing capability to make the engines. Furthermore, the Legislative Yuan did not approve the budget and thereby slowed the opportunity to procure the badly needed underwater defense capability.
In 2003 the US Government suggested buying four Nazario Sauro-class refurbished submarines from Italy, that agree
HMS Abdiel (M39)
HMS Abdiel was an Abdiel-class minelayer that served with the Royal Navy during World War II. She served with the Mediterranean Fleet, Eastern Fleet, Home Fleet, the Mediterranean Fleet. Abdiel was sunk by mines in Italy's Taranto harbour in 1943. Although designed as a fast minelayer her speed and capacity made her suitable for employment as a fast transport. On 22 March 1941, Abdiel had acceptance trials interrupted and was ordered to lay mines with the objective of preventing the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau breaking out from Brest. In operation'GV','GX' and'GY', Abdiel with the destroyers Intrepid and Icarus escorted by Kipling and Jackal on 23 and 28 March laid mines in the vicinity of Little Sole Bank and 40 mi WSW of Brest. From 17 to 30 April 1941 Abdiel attempted to complete her trials programme but this was again abandoned when the ship was ordered to join the cruiser Dido and the destroyers Kelly, Kelvin and Jersey; this group was transferred from Plymouth to Gibraltar, having loaded military stores destined for Malta.
The ships subsequently joined the Mediterranean Fleet. On 24 to 28 April 1941 they formed part of "Operation Dunlop". Dido and destroyers Janus and Nubian, having discharged naval stores at Malta, proceeded to Alexandria. On 21 May 1941 Abdiel laid a field of 150 mines off Akra Dhoukaton. On the field were the same day lost the Italian destroyer Carlo Mirabello, the gunboat Pellegrino Matteucci and the German transports Kybfels and Marburg which were transporting a large contingent of the 2nd Panzer Division from Patras in Greece across the Adriatic Sea to the port of Taranto in Italy. On the night of 26–27 May, escorted by the destroyer Hero and the Australian destroyer Nizam, landed 800 Commandos at Suda Bay. On 31 May 1941, Abdiel sailed from Alexandria for Sfakia, Crete with the light cruiser Phoebe and three destroyers. During the following night these ships removed 4,000 troops from Crete. Between December 1942 and April 1943 Abdiel, in cooperation with the minelaying submarine Rorqual and Abdiel's sister ship Welshman, laid several minefields with about 2,000 mines in the Strait of Sicily.
On 9 January 1943, after Abdiel laid a minefield across the Axis evacuation route from Tunisia, an Italian convoy ran into it and the destroyer Corsaro was sunk, while the destroyer Maestrale was damaged. On 3 February 1943 another Italian convoy fouled another of her minefields south of Marettimo island, off the western tip of Sicily, losing the destroyer Saetta and the torpedo boat Uragano. On 8 March 1943, Abdiel again laid a minefield on the Axis evacuation route, 30 nautical miles north of Cap Bon, Tunisia. On 24 March a convoy entered the field, the Italian destroyers Ascari and Lanzerotto Malocello were lost. On 3 April 1943 Abdiel laid a minefield between the Italian fields X-2 and X-3, whose location was known to the Allies through Ultra intercepts and captured documents. On 7 March a convoy ran afoul the field. Abdiel, commanded by Captain David Orr-Ewing, DSO, was sunk by mines in Taranto harbour, Italy on 10 September 1943, during Operation Slapstick; the mines had been laid just a few hours earlier by two German torpedo boats, as they left the harbour.
Abdiel, carrying troops of the British 1st Airborne Division, took the berth, declined earlier by the captain of the US cruiser USS Boise. Shortly after midnight, two ground mines detonated beneath Abdiel and the minelayer sank in three minutes, with great loss of life among both sailors and soldiers; the 1st Airborne Division lost 58 dead and around 150 injured and 48 crew were lost. There is a rumour that the ship's degaussing equipment had been turned off to reduce noise and to allow troops to sleep better. Warlow, Ben, Lt. Cdr. Royal Navy Battle Honours of the Royal Navy, Maritime Books: Liskeard, UK ISBN 1-904459-05-6 "HMS Abdiel, British minelayer, WW2". Www.naval-history.net. Retrieved 2009-12-05
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
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