Despite being called “Chinese checkers”, this game does not actually originate from China or elsewhere in Asia, nor is it a variation on checkers. The game itself was invented in Germany in 1893 under the name “Stern-Halma”, as a variation on the older American game of Halma. The “Stern” (German for star) refers to the star-shape of the board (in contrast with the square board of Halma). The name “Chinese checkers” originated in the United States, when an American tried to make the game sound more exotic.
(The game was mostly introduced to Chinese-speaking regions by the Japanese.)