“Middle-earth” evokes warm feelings and fond memories for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books and movies. The term traces back to many centuries before his writings, however, to the times of Beowulf and Old English itself.
"Middle Kingdom," on the other hand, refers to China, a name given to that land about 3000 years ago. Essentially unaware as they were of the great civilizations far to the west, the Chou people thought their land -- surrounded by barbarians -- was the center of all; in the middle of everything. The story of China’s greatness until the 16th and 17th centuries is well-known, as is the sad tale of its decline into irrelevance over succeeding centuries. We generally trace the beginning of the Middle Kingdom’s modern renaissance to the momentous changes by China’s prescient leader, Deng Xiaoping, beginning in 1978, reforms taken to the next level ... Log in or subscribe to continue reading.
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