'Wade–Giles' is a romanization system for the Mandarin Chinese language. Wade–Giles was developed by Thomas Francis Wade, a British ambassador in China and Chinese scholar who was the first professor of Chinese at Cambridge University. Wade published the first Chinese textbook in English in 1867. The system was refined in 1912 by Herbert Allen Giles, a British diplomat in China and his son, Lionel Giles, a curator at the British Museum. The Wade–Giles system was designed to transcribe Chinese terms, for Chinese specialists.
Wade–Giles was common in the English-speaking world for most of the 20th century and used in most standard reference books and in all books about China, published in western countries before 1979.
Wade–Giles is now mostly replaced by the more modern pinyin romanization system which was developed by the Chinese government and approved during 1958, however outside of mainland China it remains common in art and history books, particularly those about the Imperial China, since a large number of names are so firmly recognized in that form to westerners, for example the Chinese capital Peking, which is nowadays written 'Beijing', in the Pinjin system.