Cathay By Deane Barker • September 16, 2023 • Definition: an ancient name for China It may stem from a Turkish word to describe an ancient ruling dynasty. Marco Polo used the word quite often when describing his travels. Why I Looked It Up I had always been familiar with the airline Cathay Pacific. (Their elite mileage program was once called The Macro Polo Club.) Then, in The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu, it’s mentioned a few times. For example, when the titular character is deciding how the two protagonists should be killed: “O God of Cathay,” he cried, “by what death shall these die – these miserable ones who would bind thine empire, which is boundless!” Postscript Added on October 26, 2023 I was in San Francisco, and I walked past “American Legion, Cathay Post 384.” I looked this up, and it’s a very historic American Legion post, started in the 1930s by Chinese veterans of World War I. Near as I can tell, it’s the only such American Legion post. The year 1931 also marked a milestone in the history of the American Legion. Sixteen trailblazing World War I Chinese American veterans who called San Francisco’s Chinatown home established the first all Chinese-American American Legion Post.