Origin of CathayMedieval Latin Cataya from Uighur Khitay, a Mongol people who ruled in Beijing (936-1122)
Origin of CathayMedieval Latin Cataya, Cathaya ultimately ( via Turkic languages) from Khitan Khitai the Khitan people (who ruled in northern China and Central Asia in an era of increasing interaction between China, the Muslim world, and Europe)
- The name that was given to northern China by Marco Polo
- by extension, an alternate name for China.
From Portuguese "Catai", from Khitan (契丹, Qìdān), the Chinese name of a Mongolian tribe who ruled Manchuria from 907-1115 CE. Cognate with Spanish Catay and Russian Китай.