Norway the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres and a population of 5,312,300; the country shares a long eastern border with Sweden. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the Barents Sea. Harald V of the House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg has been prime minister since 2013. A unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the parliament, the cabinet and the supreme court, as determined by the 1814 constitution; the kingdom was established in 872 as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms and has existed continuously for 1,147 years.
From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the First World War. Norway remained neutral until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Germany until the end of Second World War. Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities; the Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, the Nordic Council. Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals; the Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, lumber and fresh water.
The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East; the country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World IMF lists. On the CIA's GDP per capita list which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven, it has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1 trillion. Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position held between 2001 and 2006, it had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking until 2018 when Iceland moved to the top of the list. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017 and ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Norway has two official names: Norge in Noreg in Nynorsk; the English name Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg mentioned in 880, meaning "northern way" or "way leading to the north", how the Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway similar to scientific consensus about the origin of the Norwegian language name.
The Anglo-Saxons of Britain referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land. There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" for, austrvegr "eastern way" for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone. In the 10th century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area, called Normandy from norðmann, although not a Norwegian possession. In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Sweden or Denmark; until around 1800 inhabitants of Western Norway where referred to as nordmenn while inhabitants of Eastern Norway where referred to as austmenn. According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" or "northern", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land.
The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would have been due to folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; the form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, still has the same meaning. Among other arguments in favour of the theor
Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand and known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country; the capital and largest city is a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar, its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship. Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century. Various Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivaled each other.
European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, one of the great powers in the region. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai's reign declining thereafter until being destroyed in 1767 in a war with Burma. Taksin reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom, he was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty and founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which lasted into the early 20th century. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Siam faced pressure from France and the United Kingdom, including forced concessions of territory, but it remained the only Southeast Asian country to avoid direct Western rule. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to "Thailand". While it joined the Allies in World War I, Thailand was an Axis satellite in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup revived the monarchy's influential role in politics.
Thailand became a major ally of the United States and played a key anti-communist role in the region. Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. In the 21st century, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by the military junta. Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. Thailand is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and remains a major ally of the US. Despite its comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia and a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy. Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia.
The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens. By outsiders prior to 1949, it was known by the exonym Siam; the word Siam may have originated from Pali or Sanskrit श्याम or Mon ရာမည. The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word; the word Śyâma is not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion. Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century; the Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." A further possibility is that Mon-speaking peoples migrating south called themselves'syem' as do the autochthonous Mon-Khmer-speaking inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. The signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut Rex Siamensium, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means "free man" in the Thai language, "differentiating the Thai from the natives encompassed in Thai society as serfs".
A famous Thai scholar argued that Thai means "people" or "human being", since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Thai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" for people. According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Thai/Tai would have evolved from the etymon *kri:'human being' through the following chain: *kəri: > *kəli: > *kədi:/*kədaj > *di:/*daj > *dajA > tʰajA2 or > tajA2. Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for t
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, known informally as Schiphol Airport, is the main international airport of the Netherlands. It is located 9 kilometres southwest of Amsterdam, in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, North Holland, it is the third busiest airport in Europe in terms of passenger volume. The airport is built as a single-terminal concept: one large terminal split into three large departure halls. Schiphol is the hub for KLM and its regional affiliate KLM Cityhopper as well as for Corendon Dutch Airlines, Transavia and TUI fly Netherlands; the airport serves as a European hub for Jet Airways and as a base for EasyJet, LEVEL, Vueling. Schiphol opened on 16 September 1916 as a military airbase; the end of the First World War saw the beginning of civilian use of Schiphol Airport and the airport lost its military role completely. By 1940, Schiphol had four asphalt runways at 45-degree angles; the airport was renamed Fliegerhorst Schiphol. The airport was destroyed through bombing but at the end of the war the airfield was restored quickly.
In 1949, it was decided. Schiphol Airport is an important European airport, ranking as Europe's third busiest and the world's eleventh busiest by total passenger traffic in 2017, it ranks as the world's fifth busiest by international passenger traffic and the world's sixteenth busiest for cargo tonnage. 63,625,664 passengers passed through the airport in 2016. Schiphol's main competitors in terms of passenger traffic and cargo throughput are London-Heathrow, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Istanbul-Atatürk and Madrid–Barajas. In 2010, 65.9% of passengers using the airport flew to and from Europe, 11.7% to and from North America and 8.8% to and from Asia. In 2010, 106 carriers provided a total of 301 destinations on a regular basis. Passenger destinations were offered by 91 airlines. Direct destinations grew by 9 to a total of 274. Regular destinations serviced by full freighters grew by eight to a total of twenty-seven; the airport is built as one large terminal, split into three large departure halls, which connect again once airside.
The most recent of these was completed in 1994 and expanded in 2007 with a new section, called Terminal 4, although it is not considered a separate building. A new pier is to be opened in 2019 with a terminal extension planned to be operational by 2023. Plans for further terminal and gate expansion exist, including the construction of a separate new terminal between the Zwanenburgbaan and Polderbaan runways that would end the one-terminal concept; because of intense traffic and high landing fees, some low-cost carriers decided to move their flights to smaller airports, such as Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport. Many low-cost carriers, such as EasyJet and Transavia, continue to operate at Schiphol, using the low-cost H pier. Lelystad Airport is being expanded aimed at accommodating some of the low-cost and leisure flights operating out of Schiphol taking up to 45,000 flights a year. Before 1852, the entire Haarlemmermeer polder in which the airport lies was a large lake with some shallow areas.
There are multiple stories of. The most popular story is. Winds were strong in the Schiphol area since the prevailing wind direction is from the south-west, Schiphol lies in the north-eastern corner of the lake. In English, Schiphol translates to "Ships Hell", a reference to many ships lost in the lake; when the lake was reclaimed, however, no shipwrecks were found. Another possible origin of the name is the word scheepshaal. A scheepshaal is a ditch or small canal. A third explanation would be; this is a low-lying area of land from. After the lake was dredged in the mid 1800s, a fortification named Fort Schiphol was built in the area, part of the Stelling van Amsterdam defence works. Schiphol opened on 16 September 1916 as a military airbase, with a few barracks and a field serving as platform and runways; when civil aircraft started to use the field, it was called Schiphol-les-bains. The Fokker aircraft manufacturer started a factory near Schiphol airport in 1919; the end of the First World War saw the beginning of civilian use of Schiphol Airport and the airport lost its military role completely.
By 1940, Schiphol had four asphalt runways at all 1,020 metres or less. One was extended to become today's runway 04/22; the airport was renamed Fliegerhorst Schiphol. A large amount of anti-aircraft defences were installed in the vicinity of the airport and fake decoy airfields were constructed in the vicinity near Bennebroek and Vogelenzang to try to confuse allied bombers. A railway connection was built. Despite these defences, the airfield was still bombed intensively. After that, it served only as an emergency landing field, until the Germans themselves d
Madagascar the Republic of Madagascar, known as the Malagasy Republic, is an island country in the Indian Ocean 400 kilometres off the coast of East Africa. The nation comprises the island of Madagascar and numerous smaller peripheral islands. Following the prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana, Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 88 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; the island's diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife are threatened by the encroachment of the growing human population and other environmental threats. The first archaeological evidence for human foraging on Madagascar may have occurred as much as 10,000 years ago. Human settlement of Madagascar occurred between 350 BC and 550 AD by Austronesian peoples, arriving on outrigger canoes from Borneo; these were joined around the 9th century AD by Bantu migrants crossing the Mozambique Channel from East Africa. Other groups continued to settle on Madagascar over time, each one making lasting contributions to Malagasy cultural life.
The Malagasy ethnic group is divided into 18 or more subgroups, of which the largest are the Merina of the central highlands. Until the late 18th century, the island of Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented assortment of shifting sociopolitical alliances. Beginning in the early 19th century, most of the island was united and ruled as the Kingdom of Madagascar by a series of Merina nobles; the monarchy ended in 1897 when the island was absorbed into the French colonial empire, from which the island gained independence in 1960. The autonomous state of Madagascar has since undergone four major constitutional periods, termed republics. Since 1992, the nation has been governed as a constitutional democracy from its capital at Antananarivo. However, in a popular uprising in 2009, president Marc Ravalomanana was made to resign and presidential power was transferred in March 2009 to Andry Rajoelina. Constitutional governance was restored in January 2014, when Hery Rajaonarimampianina was named president following a 2013 election deemed fair and transparent by the international community.
Madagascar is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. Madagascar belongs according to the United Nations. Malagasy and French are both official languages of the state; the majority of the population adheres to traditional beliefs, Christianity, or an amalgamation of both. Ecotourism and agriculture, paired with greater investments in education and private enterprise, are key elements of Madagascar's development strategy. Under Ravalomanana, these investments produced substantial economic growth, but the benefits were not evenly spread throughout the population, producing tensions over the increasing cost of living and declining living standards among the poor and some segments of the middle class; as of 2017, the economy has been weakened by the 2009–2013 political crisis, quality of life remains low for the majority of the Malagasy population. In the Malagasy language, the island of Madagascar is called Madagasikara and its people are referred to as Malagasy.
The island's appellation "Madagascar" is not of local origin but rather was popularized in the Middle Ages by Europeans. The name Madageiscar was first recorded in the memoirs of 13th-century Venetian explorer Marco Polo as a corrupted transliteration of the name Mogadishu, the Somali port with which Polo had confused the island. On St. Laurence's Day in 1500, Portuguese explorer Diogo Dias landed on the island and named it São Lourenço. Polo's name popularized on Renaissance maps. No single Malagasy-language name predating Madagasikara appears to have been used by the local population to refer to the island, although some communities had their own name for part or all of the land they inhabited. At 592,800 square kilometres, Madagascar is the world's 47th largest country and the fourth-largest island; the country lies between latitudes 12°S and 26°S, longitudes 43°E and 51°E. Neighboring islands include the French territory of Réunion and the country of Mauritius to the east, as well as the state of Comoros and the French territory of Mayotte to the north west.
The nearest mainland state is Mozambique, located to the west. The prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana separated the Madagascar–Antarctica–India landmass from the Africa–South America landmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar split from India about 88 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. Along the length of the eastern coast runs a narrow and steep escarpment containing much of the island's remaining tropical lowland forest. To the west of this ridge lies a plateau in the center of the island ranging in altitude from 750 to 1,500 m above sea level; these central highlands, traditionally the homeland of the Merina people and the location of their historic capital at Antananarivo, are the most densely populated part of the island and are characterized by terraced, rice-growing valleys lying between grassy hills and patches of the subhumid forests that covered the highland region. To the west of the highlands, the arid terrain slope
Saudi Arabia the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of 2,150,000 km2, Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, the second-largest in the Arab world, the fifth-largest in Asia, the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south, it is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, most of its terrain consists of arid desert and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia enjoys one of the world's youngest populations; the territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world.
The world's second-largest religion, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory in a matter of decades. Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun, Umayyad and Fatimid caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia and Europe; the area of modern-day Saudi Arabia consisted of four distinct regions: Hejaz and parts of Eastern Arabia and Southern Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud, he united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines.
The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the two holiest places in Islam; the state's official language is Arabic. Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer and the world's largest largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves; the kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies. The state has attracted criticism for a multitude of reasons including but not limited to: its archaic treatment of women, its excessive and extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorists, its strict interpretation of Sharia Law.
An autocratic monarchy, the kingdom has the world's third-highest military expenditure and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014. Saudi Arabia is considered a middle power. In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC. Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud. Although this is translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, it means "the Saudi Arab kingdom", or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom"; the word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, a type of adjective known as a nisba, formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud. Its inclusion expresses the view. Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al, meaning "family of" or "House of", to the personal name of an ancestor.
In the case of the Al Saud, this is the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud. There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago, it is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab-el-Mandeb connecting the Horn of Africa and Arabia. The Arabian peninsula is regarded as a central figure in our understanding of hominin evolution and dispersals. Arabia underwent an extreme environmental fluctuation in the Quaternary that led to profound evolutionary and demographic changes. Arabia has a rich Lower Paleolithic record, the quantity of Oldwan-like sites in the region indicate a significant role that Arabia had played in the early hominin colonization of Eurasia. In the Neolithic period, prominent cultures such as al-Magar whose epicenter lay in mod
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Pakistan the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, China in the far northeast, it is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, shares a maritime border with Oman. The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures and intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent; the ancient history involves the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, was home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Turco-Mongols and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander III of Macedon, the Seleucid Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire and, most the British Empire.
Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a diverse geography and wildlife. A dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war and Indian military intervention in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973, Pakistan adopted a new constitution which stipulated that all laws are to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah. A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector, it is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, is backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle class.
Pakistan's political history since independence has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, poverty and corruption. Pakistan is a member of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the OIC, the Commonwealth of Nations, the SAARC and the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition; the name Pakistan means "land of the pure" in Urdu and Persian. It alludes to the word pāk meaning pure in Pashto; the suffix ـستان is a Persian word meaning the place of, recalls the synonymous Sanskrit word sthāna स्थान. The name of the country was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never, using it as an acronym referring to the names of the five northern regions of British India: Punjab, Kashmir and Baluchistan; the letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation. Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan.
The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab. The Indus region, which covers most of present day Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro; the Vedic period was characterised by an Indo-Aryan culture. Multan was an important Hindu pilgrimage centre; the Vedic civilisation flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in the Punjab, founded around 1000 BCE. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander the Great's empire in 326 BCE and the Maurya Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE; the Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander, prospering the Greco-Buddhist culture in the region.
Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world, established during the late Vedic period in 6th century BCE. The school consisted of several monasteries without large dormitories or lecture halls where the religious instruction was provided on an individualistic basis; the ancient university was documented by the invading forces of Alexander the Great, "the like of which had not been seen in Greece," and was recorded by Chinese pilgrims in the 4th or 5th century CE. At its zenith, the Rai Dynasty of Sindh ruled the surrounding territories; the Pala Dynasty was the last Buddhist empire, under Dharmapala and Devapala, stretched across South Asia from what is now Bangladesh through Northern India to Pakistan. The Arab conqueror Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh in 711 CE; the Pakistan government's official chronol