Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
A port is a maritime commercial facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access from the sea via river or canal. Today, by far the greatest growth in port development is in Asia, the continent with some of the world's largest and busiest ports, such as Singapore and the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan. Whenever ancient civilisations engaged in maritime trade, they tended to develop sea ports. One of the world's oldest known artificial harbors is at Wadi al-Jarf on the Red Sea. Along with the finding of harbor structures, ancient anchors have been found. Other ancient ports include Guangzhou during Qin Dynasty China and Canopus, the principal Egyptian port for Greek trade before the foundation of Alexandria. In ancient Greece, Athens' port of Piraeus was the base for the Athenian fleet which played a crucial role in the Battle of Salamis against the Persians in 480 BCE.
In ancient India from 3700 BCE, Lothal was a prominent city of the Indus valley civilisation, located in the Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarāt. Ostia Antica was the port of ancient Rome with Portus established by Claudius and enlarged by Trajan to supplement the nearby port of Ostia. In Japan, during the Edo period, the island of Dejima was the only port open for trade with Europe and received only a single Dutch ship per year, whereas Osaka was the largest domestic port and the main trade hub for rice. Nowadays, many of these ancient sites no longer function as modern ports. In more recent times, ports sometimes fall out of use. Rye, East Sussex, was an important English port in the Middle Ages, but the coastline changed and it is now 2 miles from the sea, while the ports of Ravenspurn and Dunwich have been lost to coastal erosion. Whereas early ports tended to be just simple harbours, modern ports tend to be multimodal distribution hubs, with transport links using sea, canal, road and air routes.
Successful ports are located to optimize access to an active hinterland, such as the London Gateway. Ideally, a port will grant easy navigation to ships, will give shelter from wind and waves. Ports are on estuaries, where the water may be shallow and may need regular dredging. Deep water ports such as Milford Haven are less common, but can handle larger ships with a greater draft, such as super tankers, Post-Panamax vessels and large container ships. Other businesses such as regional distribution centres and freight-forwarders and other processing facilities find it advantageous to be located within a port or nearby. Modern ports will have specialised cargo-handling equipment, such as gantry cranes, reach stackers and forklift trucks. Ports have specialised functions: some tend to cater for passenger ferries and cruise ships; some third world countries and small islands such as Ascension and St Helena still have limited port facilities, so that ships must anchor off while their cargo and passengers are taken ashore by barge or launch.
In modern times, ports decline, depending on current economic trends. In the UK, both the ports of Liverpool and Southampton were once significant in the transatlantic passenger liner business. Once airliner traffic decimated that trade, both ports diversified to container cargo and cruise ships. Up until the 1950s the Port of London was a major international port on the River Thames, but changes in shipping and the use of containers and larger ships, have led to its decline. Thamesport, a small semi-automated container port thrived for some years, but has been hit hard by competition from the emergent London Gateway port and logistics hub. In mainland Europe, it is normal for ports to be publicly owned, so that, for instance, the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are owned by the state and by the cities themselves. By contrast, in the UK all ports are in private hands, such as Peel Ports who own the Port of Liverpool, John Lennon Airport and the Manchester Ship Canal. Though modern ships tend to have bow-thrusters and stern-thrusters, many port authorities still require vessels to use pilots and tugboats for manoeuvering large ships in tight quarters.
For instance, ships approaching the Belgian port of Antwerp, an inland port on the River Scheldt, are obliged to use Dutch pilots when navigating on that part of the estuary that belongs to the Netherlands. Ports with international traffic have customs facilities; the terms "port" and "seaport" are used for different types of port facilities that handle ocean-going vessels, river port is used for river traffic, such as barges and other shallow-draft vessels. A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations. A fishing port is a harbor for landing and distributing fish, it may be a recreational facility, but it is commercial. A fishing port is the only port that depends on an ocean product, depletion of fish may cause a fishing port to be uneconomical. An inland port is a port on a navigable lake, river, or canal with access to a sea or ocean, which therefore allows a ship to sail from the ocean inland to the port to load or unload its cargo.
An example of this is the St. Lawrence Seaway which allows ships to travel from the Atlantic Ocean several thousand kilometers inland to Great Lakes ports like Toronto, Duluth-Superior, C
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library that serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States; the Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C.. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol; the Library of Congress has claimed to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800 after sitting for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. The small Congressional Library was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection had been destroyed by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812, the library sought to restore its collection in 1815.
They bought Thomas Jefferson's entire personal collection of 6,487 books. After a period of slow growth, another fire struck the Library in its Capitol chambers in 1851, again destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the American Civil War, the Library of Congress grew in both size and importance, which sparked a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes, burned; the Library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps and diagrams printed in the United States. It began to build its collections, its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of a separate, extensive library building across the street from the Capitol; the Library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, carried out through the Congressional Research Service. The Library is open to the public, although only high-ranking government officials and Library employees may check out books and materials.
James Madison is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783. The Library of Congress was subsequently established April 24, 1800 when President John Adams signed an act of Congress providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress... and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them." Books were ordered from London, the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps which were housed in the new United States Capitol. President Thomas Jefferson played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. On January 26, 1802, he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the Librarian of Congress and establishing a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee it; the new law extended borrowing privileges to the President and Vice President.
The invading British army burned Washington in August 1814 during the War of 1812 and destroyed the Library of Congress and its collection of 3,000 volumes. These volumes had been left in the Senate wing of the Capitol. One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810, it was taken as a souvenir by British Admiral George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his personal library as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815; some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire Representative Daniel Webster who wanted to return "all books of an atheistical and immoral tendency." Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages and on subjects such as philosophy, law, architecture, natural sciences, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, submarines, fossils and meteorology.
He had collected books on topics not viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. However, he believed, he remarked: I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection. Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one, his original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon's organization of knowledge. He grouped his books into Memory and Imagination, which broke down into 44 more subdivisions; the Library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure that now applies to more than 138 million items. In 1851, a fire destroyed two thirds of the Jefferson collection, with only 2,000 books remaining.
By 2008, the Librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but 300 of the works that were in Jefferson's original collection. On December 22, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thi
Vellum is prepared animal skin or "membrane" used as a material for writing on. The term is derived from the Latin word vitulinum meaning "made from calf", leading to Old French velin for "calfskin". Parchment is another term for this material category. If vellum is distinguished, it is by vellum being made from calf skin, as opposed to that from other animals, or otherwise being of higher quality. Vellum is prepared as a surface for writing to produce single pages, codices or books. Modern scholars and custodians use only the safe, if confusing, term "membrane". Depending on factors such as the method of preparation it may be hard to determine the animal species involved without using a laboratory, the term avoids the need to distinguish between vellum and parchment. Vellum is smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation and the quality of the skin; the manufacture involves the cleaning, stretching on a frame, scraping of the skin with a crescent-shaped knife.
To create tension, scraping is alternated with drying. A final finish may be achieved by abrading the surface with pumice, treating with a preparation of lime or chalk to make it accept writing or printing ink. Modern "paper vellum" is made of synthetic plant material, is called such for its usage and quality similarities. Paper vellum is used for a variety of purposes including tracing, technical drawings and blueprints. In Europe, from Roman times, the term "vellum" was used for the best quality of prepared skin, regardless of the animal from which the hide was obtained, calf and goat all being used. Although the term derives from the French for "calf", animal vellum can include hide from any other mammal; the best quality, "uterine vellum", was said to be made from the skins of stillborn or unborn animals, although the term was applied to fine quality skins made from young animals. There has long been, much blurring of the boundaries between these terms. In 1519, William Horman could write in his Vulgaria: "That stouffe that we wrytte upon, is made of beestis skynnes, is somtyme called parchement, somtyme velem, somtyme abortyve, somtyme membraan."
Writing in 1936, Lee Ustick explained that: To-day the distinction, among collectors of manuscripts, is that vellum is a refined form of skin, parchment a cruder form thick, less polished than vellum, but with no distinction between skin of calf, or sheep, or of goat. French sources, closer to the original etymology, tend to define velin as from calf only, while the British Standards Institution defines parchment as made from the split skin of several species, vellum from the unsplit skin. In the usage of modern practitioners of the artistic crafts of writing, illuminating and bookbinding, "vellum" is reserved for calfskin, while any other skin is called "parchment". Vellum is a translucent material produced from the skin split, of a young animal; the skin is washed with water and lime, but not together. It is soaked in lime for several days to soften and remove the hair. Once clear, the two sides of the skin are distinct: the side facing inside the animal and the hair side; the "inside body side" of the skin is the lighter and more refined of the two.
The hair follicles may be visible on the outer side, together with any scarring made while the animal was alive. The membrane can show the pattern of the animal's vein network called the "veining" of the sheet. Any remaining hair is removed and the skin is dried by attaching it to a frame; the skin is attached at points around the circumference with cords. The maker uses a crescent shaped knife, to clean off any remaining hairs. Once the skin is dry, it is cleaned and processed into sheets; the number of sheets extracted from the piece of skin depends on the size of the skin and the given dimensions requested by the order. For example, the average calfskin can provide three and half medium sheets of writing material; this can be doubled when it is folded into two conjoint leaves known as a bifolium. Historians have found evidence of manuscripts where the scribe wrote down the medieval instructions now followed by modern membrane makers; the membrane is rubbed with a round, flat object to ensure that the ink would adhere well.
Once the vellum is prepared, traditionally a quire is formed of a group of several sheets. Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham point out, in their Introduction to Manuscript Studies, that "the quire was the scribe's basic writing unit throughout the Middle Ages". Guidelines are made on the membrane, they note "'pricking' is the process of making holes in a sheet of parchment in preparation of its ruling. The lines were made by ruling between the prick marks... The process of entering ruled lines on the page to serve as a guide for entering text. Most manuscripts were ruled with horizontal lines that served as the baselines on which the text was entered and with vertical bounding lines that marked the boundaries of the columns". Most of the finer sort of medieval manuscripts, whether illuminated or not, were written on vellum; some Gandharan Buddhist texts were written on vellum, all Sifrei Torah are written on kosher klaf or vellum. A quarter of the 180 copy edition of Johannes Gutenberg's
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region in central Italy, with a population of around 101,997 as of 2015. Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region; the city is located 280 km northeast of Rome, on the Adriatic Sea, between the slopes of the two extremities of the promontory of Monte Conero, Monte Astagno and Monte Guasco. Ancona is one of the main ports on the Adriatic Sea for passenger traffic, is the main economic and demographic centre of the region. Ancona was founded by Greek settlers from Syracuse in about 387 BC, who gave it its name: Ancona stems from the Greek word Ἀγκών, meaning "elbow". Greek merchants established a Tyrian purple dye factory here. In Roman times it kept its own coinage with the punning device of the bent arm holding a palm branch, the head of Aphrodite on the reverse, continued the use of the Greek language; when it became a Roman town is uncertain. It was occupied as a naval station in the Illyrian War of 178 BC. Julius Caesar took possession of it after crossing the Rubicon.
Its harbour was of considerable importance in imperial times, as the nearest to Dalmatia, was enlarged by Trajan, who constructed the north quay with his Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus. At the beginning of it stands the marble triumphal arch with a single archway, without bas-reliefs, erected in his honour in 115 by the Senate and Roman people. Ancona was successively attacked by the Goths and Saracens between the 3rd and 5th centuries, but recovered its strength and importance, it was one of the cities of the Pentapolis of the Exarchate of Ravenna, a lordship of the Byzantine Empire, in the 7th and 8th centuries. In 840, Saracen raiders burned the city. After Charlemagne's conquest of northern Italy, it became the capital of the Marca di Ancona, whence the name of the modern region. After 1000, Ancona became independent turning into an important maritime republic clashing against the nearby power of Venice. An oligarchic republic, Ancona was ruled by six Elders, elected by the three terzieri into which the city was divided: S. Pietro and Capodimonte.
It had a coin of its own, the agontano, a series of laws known as Statuti del mare e del Terzenale and Statuti della Dogana. Ancona was allied with the Republic of Ragusa and the Byzantine Empire. In 1137, 1167 and 1174 it was strong enough to push back the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. Anconitan ships took part in the Crusades, their navigators included Cyriac of Ancona. In the struggle between the Popes and the Holy Roman Emperors that troubled Italy from the 12th century onwards, Ancona sided with the Guelphs. Differently from other cities of northern Italy, Ancona never became a seignory; the sole exception was the rule of the Malatesta, who took the city in 1348 taking advantage of the black death and of a fire that had destroyed many of its important buildings. The Malatesta were ousted in 1383. In 1532 it definitively lost its freedom and became part of the Papal States, under Pope Clement VII. Symbol of the papal authority was the massive Citadel. Together with Rome, Avignon in southern France, Ancona was the sole city in the Papal States in which the Jews were allowed to stay after 1569, living in the ghetto built after 1555.
In 1733 Pope Clement XII extended the quay, an inferior imitation of Trajan's arch was set up. The southern quay was built in 1880, the harbour was protected by forts on the heights. From 1797 onwards, when the French took it, it appears in history as an important fortress. Ancona, as well as Venice, became a important destination for merchants from the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century; the Greeks formed the largest of the communities of foreign merchants. They were refugees from former Byzantine or Venetian territories that were occupied by the Ottomans in the late 15th and 16th centuries; the first Greek community was established in Ancona early in the 16th century. Natalucci, the 17th-century historian of the city, notes the existence of 200 Greek families in Ancona at the opening of the 16th century. Most of them came from northwestern Greece, i.e. the Ionian Epirus. In 1514, Dimitri Caloiri of Ioannina obtained reduced custom duties for Greek merchants coming from the towns of Ioannina and Avlona in Epirus.
In 1518 a Jewish merchant of Avlona succeeded in lowering the duties paid in Ancona for all “the Levantine merchants, subjects to the Turk”. In 1531 the Confraternity of the Greeks was established which included Orthodox Catholic and Roman Catholic Greeks, they secured the use of the Church of St. Anna dei Greci and were granted permission to hold services according to the Greek and the Latin rite; the church of St. Anna had existed since the 13th century as "Santa Maria in Porta Cipriana," on ruins of the ancient Greek walls of Ancona. In 1534 a decision by Pope Paul III favoured the activity of merchants of all nationalities and religions from the Levant and allowed them to settle in Ancona with their families. A Venetian travelling through Ancona in 1535 recorded that the city was "full of merchants from every nation and Greeks and Turks." In the second half of the 16th century, the presence of Greek and other merchants from the Ottoman Empire declined after a series of restrictive measures taken by the Italian authorities and the pope.
The Catalan Atlas is the most important map of the medieval period in the Catalan language. It was produced by the Majorcan cartographic school and is attributed to Cresques Abraham, a Jewish book illuminator, self-described as a master of the maps of the world as well as compasses, it has been in the royal library of France since the time of King Charles V. The Catalan Atlas consisted of six vellum leaves folded vertically, painted in various colors including gold and silver; these were cut in half and mounted on wooden panels enclosed in a leather binding. The first two leaves contain texts in Catalan covering cosmography and astrology; these texts are accompanied by illustrations. The texts and illustration emphasize the state of the known world, they provide information to sailors on tides and how to tell time at night. The four remaining leaves make up the actual map, with Jerusalem located close to the centre; the map is around 1.3 square metres in size. The map shows illustrations of many cities, Christian cities with a cross, other cities with a dome, with each city's political allegiance indicated by a flag.
Wavy blue vertical lines are used to symbolize oceans. Place names of important ports are transcribed in red; the illustrations and most of the text are oriented towards the edges of the map, suggesting it was intended to be used by laying it flat and walking around it. The oriental portion of the Catalan Atlas illustrates numerous religious references as well as a synthesis of medieval mappae mundi and the travel literature of the time Marco Polo's Book of Marvels and Mandeville's Travels and Voyage of Sir John Mandeville. Many Indian and Chinese cities can be identified; the explanatory texts report customs described by Polo and catalogue local economic resources, real or supposed. The Western portion is similar to contemporary portolan charts, but contains the first compass rose known to have been used on such a chart. Compass rose Rhumbline network Bibliothèque nationale de France - L'Atlas Catalan The Catalan Atlas www.cresquesproject.net – translation of the works of Riera i Sans and Gabriel Llompart on the Jewish Majorcan Map-makers of the Late Middle Ages
Cathay is an alternative historical name for China in English. During the early modern period Europeans thought of Cathay as a separate and distinct culture from China; as knowledge of East Asia increased, Cathay came to be seen as the same nation as China and the term'"Cathay" became a poetic name for the nation. The name Cathay originates from the word Khitan, the name of a nomadic people who founded the Liao Empire which ruled much of today's Northern China from 907 to 1125, who migrated west after they were overthrown by the Jurchens to form the Qara Khitai centered on today's Kyrgyzstan for another century thereafter; this name was the name applied by Central and Western Asians and Europeans to northern China. Orderic of Pordenone writes about Cathay and the Khan in his travelbooks from his journey before 1330 1321-30; the term Cathay came from the name for the Khitans. A form of the name Cathai is attested in a Uyghur Manichaean document circa 1000; the Khitans refer to themselves as Qidan, but in the language of the ancient Uyghurs the final -n or -ń became -y, this form may be the source of the name Khitai for Muslim writers.
This version of the name was introduced to medieval and early modern Europe via Muslim and Russian sources. The Khitans were known to Muslim Central Asia: in 1026, the Ghaznavid court was visited by envoys from the Liao ruler, he was described as a "Qatā Khan", i.e. the ruler of Qatā. The Persian scholar and administrator Nizam al-Mulk mentions Khita and China in his Book on the Administration of the State as two separate countries; the name's currency in the Muslim world survived the replacement of the Khitan Liao dynasty with the Jurchen Jin dynasty in the early 12th century. When describing the fall of the Jin Empire to the Mongols, Persian history described the conquered country as Khitāy or Djerdaj Khitāy; the Mongols themselves, in their Secret History talk of both Khitans and Kara-Khitans. In about 1340 Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, a merchant from Florence, compiled the Pratica della mercatura, a guide about trade in China, a country he called Cathay, noting the size of Khanbaliq and how merchants could exchange silver for Chinese paper money that could be used to buy luxury items such as silk.
Words related to Khitay are still used in many Slavic languages to refer to China. However, its use by Turkic speakers within China, such as the Uyghurs, is considered pejorative by the Chinese authority who had tried to ban it; as European and Arab travelers started reaching the Mongol Empire, they described the Mongol-controlled Northern China as Cathay in a number of spelling variants. The name occurs in the writings of Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, William of Rubruck. Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, ibn Battuta, Marco Polo all referred to Northern China as Cathay, while Southern China, ruled by the Song dynasty, was Mangi, Chin, or Sin; the word Manzi or Mangi is a derogatory term in Chinese meaning "barbarians of the south", would therefore not have been used by the Chinese to describe themselves or their own country, but it was adopted by the Mongols to describe the people and country of Southern China. The name for South China used on Western medieval maps was Mangi, a term still used in maps in the 16th century.
The division of China into northern and southern parts ruled by, in succession, the Liao and Mongol Yuan empires in the north, the Song dynasty in the south, ended in the late 13th century with the conquest of southern China by the Mongol Yuan Empire. While Central Asia had long known China under names similar to Cathay, that country was known to the peoples of South-East Asia and India under names similar to China. Meanwhile, in China itself, people referred to their nation state based on the name of the ruling dynasty, e.g. Da Ming Guo, or as the "Middle Kingdom"; when the Portuguese reached South-East Asia and the southern coast of China, they started calling the country by the name used in South and South-East Asia. It was not clear to the Europeans whether this China is the same country as Cathay known from Marco Polo. Therefore, it would not be uncommon for 16th-century maps to apply the label "China" just to the coastal region well known to the Europeans, to place the mysterious Cathay somewhere inland.
It was a small group of Jesuits, led by Matteo Ricci who, being able both to travel throughout China and to read, learned about the country from Chinese books and from conversation with people of all walks of life. During his first 15 years in China Matteo Ricci formed a strong suspicion that Marco Polo's "Cathay" is the "Tatar" name for the country he was in, i.e. China. Ricci supported his arguments by numerous correspondences between Marco Polo's accounts and his own observations: The River "Yangtze" divides the empire into two halves, with 9 provinces south of the river and 6 to the north.