An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem, composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Morphologically, it is the modified part of the shoot of seed plants; the modifications can involve the length and the nature of the internodes and the phyllotaxis, as well as variations in the proportions, swellings, adnations and reduction of main and secondary axes. Inflorescence can be defined as the reproductive portion of a plant that bears a cluster of flowers in a specific pattern; the stem holding the whole inflorescence is called a peduncle and the major axis holding the flowers or more branches within the inflorescence is called the rachis. The stalk of each single flower is called a pedicel. A flower, not part of an inflorescence is called a solitary flower and its stalk is referred to as a peduncle. Any flower in an inflorescence may be referred to as a floret when the individual flowers are small and borne in a tight cluster, such as in a pseudanthium.
The fruiting stage of an inflorescence is known as an infructescence. Inflorescences may be complex; the rachis may be one of several types, including single, umbel, spike or raceme. Inflorescences are described by many different characteristics including how the flowers are arranged on the peduncle, the blooming order of the flowers and how different clusters of flowers are grouped within it; these terms are general representations. Inflorescences have modified shoots foliage different from the vegetative part of the plant. Considering the broadest meaning of the term, any leaf associated with an inflorescence is called a bract. A bract is located at the node where the main stem of the inflorescence forms, joined to the main stem of the plant, but other bracts can exist within the inflorescence itself, they serve a variety of functions which include protecting young flowers. According to the presence or absence of bracts and their characteristics we can distinguish: Ebracteate inflorescences: No bracts in the inflorescence.
Bracteate inflorescences: The bracts in the inflorescence are specialised, sometimes reduced to small scales, divided or dissected. Leafy inflorescences: Though reduced in size, the bracts are unspecialised and look like the typical leaves of the plant, so that the term flowering stem is applied instead of inflorescence; this use is not technically correct, as, despite their'normal' appearance, these leaves are considered, in fact, bracts, so that'leafy inflorescence' is preferable. Leafy-bracted inflorescences: Intermediate between bracteate and leafy inflorescence. If many bracts are present and they are connected to the stem, like in the family Asteraceae, the bracts might collectively be called an involucre. If the inflorescence has a second unit of bracts further up the stem, they might be called an involucel. Plant organs can grow according to two different schemes, namely monopodial or racemose and sympodial or cymose. In inflorescences these two different growth patterns are called indeterminate and determinate and indicate whether a terminal flower is formed and where flowering starts within the inflorescence.
Indeterminate inflorescence: Monopodial growth. The terminal bud keeps forming lateral flowers. A terminal flower is never formed. Determinate inflorescence: Sympodial growth; the terminal bud forms a terminal flower and dies out. Other flowers grow from lateral buds. Indeterminate and determinate inflorescences are sometimes referred to as open and closed inflorescences respectively; the indeterminate patterning of flowers is derived from determinate flowers. It is suggested that indeterminate flowers have a common mechanism that prevents terminal flower growth. Based on phylogenetic analyses, this mechanism arose independently multiple times in different species. In an indeterminate inflorescence there is no true terminal flower and the stem has a rudimentary end. In many cases the last true flower formed by the terminal bud straightens up, appearing to be a terminal flower. A vestige of the terminal bud may be noticed higher on the stem. In determinate inflorescences the terminal flower is the first to mature, while the others tend to mature starting from the bottom of the stem.
This pattern is called acropetal maturation. When flowers start to mature from the top of the stem, maturation is basipetal, while when the central mature first, divergent; as with leaves, flowers can be arranged on the stem according to many different patterns. See'Phyllotaxis' for in-depth descriptions Similarly arrangement of leaf in bud is called Ptyxis. Metatopy is the placement of organs out of their expected position: metatopy occurs in inflorescences when unequal growth rates alter different areas of the axis and the organs attached to the axis; when a single or a cluster of flower is located at the axil of a bract, the location of the bract in relation to the stem holding the flower is indicated by the use of different terms and may be a useful diagnostic indicator. Typical placement of bracts include: Some plants have bracts that subtend the inflorescence, where the flowers are on branched stalks.
Honduras the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became modern-day Belize; the republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya, before the Spanish invaded in the sixteenth century; the Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism and the now predominant Spanish language, along with numerous customs that have blended with the indigenous culture. Honduras became independent in 1821 and has since been a republic, although it has endured much social strife and political instability, remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. In 1960, the northern part of what was the Mosquito Coast was transferred from Nicaragua to Honduras by the International Court of Justice.
The nation's economy is agricultural, making it vulnerable to natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The lower class is agriculturally based while wealth is concentrated in the country's urban centers. Honduras has a Human Development Index of 0.625, classifying it as a nation with medium development. When the Index is adjusted for income inequality, its Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index is 0.443. Honduran society is predominantly Mestizo; the nation had a high political stability until its 2009 coup and again with the 2017 presidential election. Honduras has high levels of sexual violence. Honduras has a population exceeding 9 million, its northern portions are part of the Western Caribbean Zone, as reflected in the area's demographics and culture. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, tropical fruit, sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market; the literal meaning of the term "Honduras" is "depths" in Spanish.
The name could either refer to the bay of Trujillo as an anchorage, fondura in the Leonese dialect of Spanish, or to Columbus's alleged quote that "Gracias a Dios que hemos salido de esas Honduras". It was not until the end of the 16th century. Prior to 1580, Honduras referred to only the eastern part of the province, Higueras referred to the western part. Another early name is Guaymuras, revived as the name for the political dialogue in 2009 that took place in Honduras as opposed to Costa Rica. Hondurans are referred to as Catracho or Catracha in Spanish; the word was coined by Nicaraguans and derives from the last name of the Spanish Honduran General Florencio Xatruch, who in 1857 led Honduran armed forces against an attempted invasion by North American adventurer William Walker. The nickname is considered not derogatory. In pre-Columbian times, modern Honduras was part of the Mesoamerican cultural area. In the west, Mayan civilization flourished for hundreds of years; the dominant state within Honduras' borders was in Copán.
Copán fell with the other Lowland centres during the conflagrations of the Terminal Classic in the 9th century. The Maya of this civilization survive in western Honduras as the Ch'orti', isolated from their Choltian linguistic peers to the west. Remnants of other Pre-Columbian cultures are found throughout the country. Archaeologists have studied sites such as Naco and La Sierra in the Naco Valley, Los Naranjos on Lake Yojoa, Yarumela in the Comayagua Valley, La Ceiba and Salitron Viejo, Selin Farm and Cuyamel in the Aguan valley, Cerro Palenque, Curruste, Despoloncal in the lower Ulua river valley, many others. On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, near Guaimoreto Lagoon, becoming the first European to visit the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras. On 30 July 1502, Columbus sent his brother Bartholomew to explore the islands and Bartholomew encountered a Mayan trading vessel from Yucatán, carrying well-dressed Maya and a rich cargo.
Bartholomew's men stole the cargo they wanted and kidnapped the ship's elderly captain to serve as an interpreter in the first recorded encounter between the Spanish and the Maya. In March 1524, Gil González Dávila became the first Spaniard to enter Honduras as a conquistador. Followed by Hernán Cortés, who had brought forces down from Mexico. Much of the conquest took place in the following two decades, first by groups loyal to Cristóbal de Olid, by those loyal to Francisco de Montejo but most by those following Alvarado. In addition to Spanish resources, the conquerors relied on armed forces from Mexico—Tlaxcalans and Mexica armies of thousands who remained garrisoned in the region. Resistance to conquest was led in particular by Lempira. Many regions in the north of Honduras never fell to the Spanish, notably the Miskito Kingdom. After the Spanish conquest, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals.
The Spanish ruled the region for three centuries. Honduras was organized as a province of the Kingdom of Guatemala and the capital was fixed, first at Trujillo on the Atlantic coast, at Comayagua, final
The Philippines the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon and Mindanao; the capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south; the Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of 300,000 km2, according to the Philippines Statistical Authority and the WorldBank and, as of 2015, had a population of at least 100 million.
As of January 2018, it is the eighth-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas, comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, they were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples. Exchanges with Malay, Indian and Chinese nations occurred. Various competing maritime states were established under the rule of datus, rajahs and lakans; the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for the Spanish, in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from Mexico City, in 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in the archipelago was established.
The Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. During this time, Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade connecting Asia with Acapulco in the Americas using Manila galleons; as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the Philippine Revolution followed, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, followed by the bloody Philippine–American War. The war, as well as the ensuing cholera epidemic, resulted in the deaths of thousands of combatants as well as tens of thousands of civilians. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until after World War II, when the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since the unitary sovereign state has had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by a non-violent revolution; the Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the East Asia Summit.
It hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank. The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Along with East Timor, the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's predominantly Christian nations; the Philippines was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, during his expedition in 1542, named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then-Prince of Asturias; the name Las Islas Filipinas would be used to cover all the islands of the archipelago. Before that became commonplace, other names such as Islas del Poniente and Magellan's name for the islands San Lázaro were used by the Spanish to refer to the islands; the official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of its history. During the Philippine Revolution, the Malolos Congress proclaimed the establishment of the República Filipina or the Philippine Republic.
From the period of the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War until the Commonwealth period, American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name. Since the end of World War II, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines. Philippines has gained currency as the common name since being the name used in Article VI of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, with or without the definite article. Discovery in 2018 of stone tools and fossils of butchered animal remains in Rizal, Kalinga has pushed back evidence of early hominins in the archipelago to as early as 709,000 years. However, the metatarsal of the Callao Man, reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago remains the oldest human remnant found in the archipelago to date; this distinction belonged to the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 26,500 years ago. Negritos were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, but their first settlement in the Philippines has not been reliably dated.
There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. F. Landa Jocano theorizes. Wilhelm Solheim's Island Origin Theory postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the Sundaland area around
The Dominican Republic is a country located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states; the Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area at 48,671 square kilometers, third by population with 10 million people, of which three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city. Christopher Columbus landed on the island on December 5, 1492, which the native Taíno people had inhabited since the 7th century; the colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821.
The leader of the independence movement José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but no longer under Spain's custody the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years the Dominican Republic experienced internal conflicts and a brief return to colonial status before permanently ousting Spanish rule during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. A United States occupation lasted eight years between 1916 and 1924, a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U. S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer, the rules of Antonio Guzmán & Salvador Jorge Blanco. Since 1996, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time since 1996.
Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipólito Mejía. The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Over the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has had one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0% the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its trend of rapid economic growth. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing and mining; the country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the Pueblo Viejo mine. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low inflation, job creation, as well as a high level of remittances; the Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean.
The year-round golf courses are major attractions. A geographically diverse nation, the Dominican Republic is home to both the Caribbean's tallest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, the Caribbean's largest lake and point of lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo; the island has an average temperature of biological diversity. The country is the site of the first cathedral, castle and fortress built in the Americas, located in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, a World Heritage Site. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and music, baseball as the favorite sport; the "Dominican" word comes from the Latin Dominicus. However, the island has this name by Santo Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Order of the Dominicans; the Dominicans established a house of high studies in the island of Santo Domingo that today is known as the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and dedicated themselves to the protection of the native taínos of the island, who were subjected to slavery, to the education of the inhabitants of the island.
For most of its history, up until independence, the country was known as Santo Domingo—the name of its present capital and patron saint, Saint Dominic—and continued to be known as such in English until the early 20th century. The residents were called "Dominicans", the adjective form of "Domingo", the revolutionaries named their newly independent country "Dominican Republic". In the national anthem of the Dominican Republic, the term "Dominicans" does not appear; the author of its lyrics, Emilio Prud'Homme uses the poetic term "Quisqueyans". The word "Quisqueya" derives from a native tongue of the Taino Indians and means "Mother of the lands", it is used in songs as another name for the country. The name of the country is shortened to "the D. R." The Arawakan-speaking Taíno moved into Hispaniola from the north east region of what is now known as South America, displacing earlier inhabitants, c. AD 650, they engaged in hunting and gathering. The fierce Caribs drove the Taíno to the northeastern Caribbean during much of the 15th century.
The estimates of Hispaniola's population in 1492 vary including one hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, an
In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis or cone scale. Bracts are different from foliage leaves, they texture. They look different from the parts of the flower, such as the petals or sepals; the state of having bracts is referred to as bracteate or bracteolate, conversely the state of lacking them is referred to as ebracteate and ebracteolate, without bracts. Some bracts are brightly-coloured and serve the function of attracting pollinators, either together with the perianth or instead of it. Examples of this type of bract include Euphorbia pulcherrima and Bougainvillea: both of these have large colourful bracts surrounding much smaller, less colourful flowers. In grasses, each floret is enclosed in a pair of papery bracts, called the lemma and palea, while each spikelet has a further pair of bracts at its base called glumes; these bracts form the chaff removed from cereal grain during winnowing. Bats may detect acoustic signals from dish-shaped bracts such as those of Marcgravia evenia.
A prophyll is a leaf-like structure, such as a bracteole, subtending a single pedicel. The term can mean the lower bract on a peduncle; the showy pair of bracts of Euphorbia species in subgenus Lacanthis are the cyathophylls. Bracts subtend the cone scales in the seed cones of many conifers, in some cases, such as Pseudotsuga, they extend beyond the cone scales. A small bract is called a bractlet. Technically this is any bract. Bracts that appear in a whorl subtending an inflorescence are collectively called an involucre. An involucre is a common feature beneath the inflorescences of many Apiaceae, Asteraceae and Polygonaceae; each flower in an inflorescence may have its own whorl of bracts, in this case called an involucel. In this case they may be called chaff, paleas, or receptacular bracts and are minute scales or bristles. Many asteraceous plants have bracts at the base of each inflorescence; the term involucre is used for a conspicuous bract or bract pair at the base of an inflorescence. In the family Betulaceae, notably in the genera Carpinus and Corylus, the involucre is a leafy structure that protects the developing nuts.
Beggar-tick has narrow involucral bracts surrounding each inflorescence, each of which has a single bract below it. There is a pair of leafy bracts on the main stem and below those a pair of leaves. An epicalyx, which forms an additional whorl around the calyx of a single flower, is a modification of bracteoles In other words, the epicalyx is a group of bracts resembling a calyx or bracteoles forming a whorl outer to the calyx, it is a calyx-like extra whorl of floral appendages. Each individual segment of the epicalyx is called an episepal because they resemble the sepals in them, they are present in the Hibiscus family. Fragaria may not have an epicalyx. A spathe is a large bract or pair of bracts forming a sheath to enclose the flower cluster of such plants as palms, irises and dayflowers. Habranthus tubispathus in the Amaryllidaceae derives its specific name from its tuberous spathe. In many arums, the spathe is petal-like, attracting pollinators to the flowers arranged on a type of spike called a spadix
El Salvador the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador; as of 2016, the country had a population of 6.34 million. El Salvador was for centuries inhabited by several Mesoamerican nations the Cuzcatlecs, as well as the Lenca and Maya. In the early 16th century, the Spanish Empire conquered the territory, incorporating it into the Viceroyalty of New Spain ruled from Mexico City; however the Viceroyalty of Mexico had little or no influence in the daily affairs of the Central American isthmus, which would be colonized in 1524. In 1609 the area became the Captaincy General of Guatemala, from which El Salvador was part of until its independence from Spain, which took place in 1821, as part of the First Mexican Empire further seceded, as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, in 1823.
When the Republic dissolved in 1841, El Salvador became a sovereign nation formed a short-lived union with Honduras and Nicaragua called the Greater Republic of Central America, which lasted from 1895 to 1898. From the late 19th to the mid-20th century, El Salvador endured chronic political and economic instability characterized by coups, a succession of authoritarian rulers. Persistent socioeconomic inequality and civil unrest culminated in the devastating Salvadoran Civil War, fought between the military-led government and a coalition of left-wing guerrilla groups; the conflict ended with the Chapultepec Peace Accords. This negotiated settlement established a multiparty constitutional republic, which remains in place to this day. El Salvador's economy has been dominated by agriculture, beginning with the indigo plant, the most important crop during the colonial period, followed thereafter by coffee, which by the early 20th century accounted for 90 percent of export earnings. El Salvador has since reduced its dependence on coffee and embarked on diversifying the economy by opening up trade and financial links and expanding the manufacturing sector.
The colón, the official currency of El Salvador since 1892, was replaced by the U. S. dollar in 2001. As of 2010, El Salvador ranks 12th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index and fourth in Central America due in part to ongoing rapid industrialisation. However, the country continues to struggle with high rates of poverty and crime. Conquistador Pedro de Alvarado named the new province for Jesus Christ – El Salvador; the full name was "Provincia De Nuestro Señor Jesus Cristo, El Salvador Del Mundo", subsequently abbreviated to "El Salvador". Tomayate is a paleontological site located on the banks of the river of the same name in the municipality of Apopa; the site has produced abundant Salvadoran megafauna fossils belonging to the Pleistocene epoch. The paleontological site was discovered accidentally in 2000, in the following year, an excavation by the Museum of Natural History of El Salvador revealed not only several remnants of Cuvieronius, but several other species of vertebrates.
In the Tomayate site, they have recovered at least 19 species of vertebrates, including giant tortoises, Glyptodon, extinct horses, paleo-llamas and a large number of skeletal remains of proboscis genus Cuvieronius. The Tomayate site stands out from most Central American Pleistocene deposits, being more ancient and much richer, which provides valuable information of the Great American Interchange, in which the Central American isthmus landbridge played the title primordial role. At the same time, it is considered the richest vertebrate paleontological site in Central America and one of the largest accumulations of proboscideans in the Americas. Sophisticated civilization in El Salvador dates to its settlement by the indigenous Lenca people; the Lenca were succeeded by the Olmecs, who also disappeared, leaving their monumental architecture in the form of the pyramids still extant in western El Salvador. The Maya arrived and settled in place of the Olmecs, but their numbers were diminished when the Ilopango supervolcano eruption caused a massive Mayan exodus out of what is now El Salvador.
Centuries they themselves were replaced by the Pipil people, Nahua speaking groups who migrated from Mexico in the centuries before the European conquest and occupied the central and western regions. The Pipil were the last indigenous people to arrive in El Salvador, they called their territory Kuskatan, a Pipil word meaning The Place of Precious Jewels, backformed into Classical Nahuatl Cōzcatlān, Hispanicized as Cuzcatlán. The people of El Salvador today are referred to as Salvadoran, while the term Cuzcatleco is used to identify someone of Salvadoran heritage. In pre-Columbian times, the country was inhabited by various other indigenous peoples, including the Lenca, a Chilanga Lencan-speaking group who settled in the eastern highlands. Cuzcatlan was the larger domain until the Spanish conquest. Since El Salvador resided on the eastern edge of the Maya Civilization, the origins of many of El Salvador's ruins are controversial. However, it is agreed that Mayas occupied the areas around Lago de Guija and Cihuatán.
Other ruins such as Tazumal, Joya de Cerén and San Andrés may have been
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