The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve personnel; the modern British Army traces back to 1707, with an antecedent in the English Army, created during the Restoration in 1660. The term British Army was adopted in 1707 after the Acts of Union between Scotland. Although all members of the British Army are expected to swear allegiance to Elizabeth II as their commander-in-chief, the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a peacetime standing army. Therefore, Parliament approves the army by passing an Armed Forces Act at least once every five years; the army is commanded by the Chief of the General Staff. The British Army has seen action in major wars between the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the First and Second World Wars.
Britain's victories in these decisive wars allowed it to influence world events and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation; until the English Civil War, England never had a standing army with professional officers and careerist corporals and sergeants. It relied on militia organized by local officials, or private forces mobilized by the nobility, or on hired mercenaries from Europe. From the Middle Ages until the English Civil War, when a foreign expeditionary force was needed, such as the one that Henry V of England took to France and that fought at the Battle of Agincourt, the army, a professional one, was raised for the duration of the expedition. During the English Civil War, the members of the Long Parliament realised that the use of county militia organised into regional associations commanded by local members of parliament, while more than able to hold their own in the regions which Parliamentarians controlled, were unlikely to win the war.
So Parliament initiated two actions. The Self-denying Ordinance, with the notable exception of Oliver Cromwell, forbade members of parliament from serving as officers in the Parliamentary armies; this created a distinction between the civilians in Parliament, who tended to be Presbyterian and conciliatory to the Royalists in nature, a corps of professional officers, who tended to Independent politics, to whom they reported. The second action was legislation for the creation of a Parliamentary-funded army, commanded by Lord General Thomas Fairfax, which became known as the New Model Army. While this proved to be a war winning formula, the New Model Army, being organized and politically active, went on to dominate the politics of the Interregnum and by 1660 was disliked; the New Model Army was paid off and disbanded at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. For many decades the excesses of the New Model Army under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell was a horror story and the Whig element recoiled from allowing a standing army.
The militia acts of 1661 and 1662 prevented local authorities from calling up militia and oppressing their own local opponents. Calling up the militia was possible only if the king and local elites agreed to do so. Charles II and his Cavalier supporters favoured a new army under royal control; the first English Army regiments, including elements of the disbanded New Model Army, were formed between November 1660 and January 1661 and became a standing military force for Britain. The Royal Scots and Irish Armies were financed by the parliaments of Ireland. Parliamentary control was established by the Bill of Rights 1689 and Claim of Right Act 1689, although the monarch continued to influence aspects of army administration until at least the end of the nineteenth century. After the Restoration Charles II pulled together four regiments of infantry and cavalry, calling them his guards, at a cost of £122,000 from his general budget; this became the foundation of the permanent English Army. By 1685 it had grown to 7,500 soldiers in marching regiments, 1,400 men permanently stationed in garrisons.
A rebellion in 1685 allowed James II to raise the forces to 20,000 men. There were 37,000 in 1678. After William and Mary's accession to the throne England involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance to prevent a French invasion restoring James II. In 1689, William III expanded the army to 74,000, to 94,000 in 1694. Parliament was nervous, reduced the cadre to 7000 in 1697. Scotland and Ireland had theoretically separate military establishments, but they were unofficially merged with the English force. By the time of the 1707 Acts of Union, many regiments of the English and Scottish armies were combined under one operational command and stationed in the Netherlands for the War of the Spanish Succession. Although all the regiments were now part of the new British military establishment, they remained under the old operational-command structure and retained much of the institutional ethos and traditions of the standing armies created shortly after the restoration of the monarchy 47 years earlier.
The order of seniority of the most-senior British Army line regiments is based on that of the English army
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du
Godfrey Sykes was an English designer, metalworker and painter. After an apprenticeship to the Sheffield engraver James Bell, he trained at the Sheffield School of Art from 1843 and taught there from 1857 becoming the assistant headmaster. While at Sheffield he at first painted pictures of rolling-mills, smiths' shops, similar subjects. In the early 1850s, he met Alfred Stevens, who had moved to Sheffield in 1850 to become chief designer at the ironfounders Henry E Hoole & Co. Sykes was influenced by Stevens's work in the Renaissance Revival manner, for a period worked at Hoole's under Stevens, he executed such decorative works as a frieze for the Mechanics Institute in 1853 and a ceiling for the news room for The Telegraphic in 1856. In 1861 he was invited to London to assist Francis Fowke on the buildings connected with the horticultural gardens in course of formation; some of the arcades were entrusted to him, to his successful treatment of them with terracotta the subsequent popularity of that material was due.
The new buildings for the South Kensington Museum gave further scope for the exercise of Sykes's powers, upon the decoration of these he was engaged until his death. His most admired work at the museum, according to the Dictionary of National Biography is the series of terra-cotta columns which he modelled for the lecture theatre, his designs for the majolica decorations of the refreshment-rooms. Some of his general schemes for the decoration of the museum were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1862 and 1864. Sykes's style, while based upon the study of Raphael and Michelangelo, was individual, characterised by a fine taste and sense of proportion. Whilst Sykes was working on his designs at the V&A he was befriended by a circle of artistic celebrities including artists Frederick Leighton and Seymour Haden, author Charles Dickens. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were regular visitors to see the progress of his designs for the V&A. From an account in the Cornhill magazine, it talks about his hobbies.
It mentions him bringing a comic element to a dinner of artists and a boy-like attitude to life at home, including playing cricket in the hall. One of Sykes great passions in life apart from his art was skating. Sykes died at Old Brompton, London, on 28 February 1866, was buried in the Brompton Cemetery. A watercolour drawing of a smith's shop by Sykes is in the Albert Museum. At the request of Thackeray he designed the well-known cover of the Cornhill Magazine, his works have been exhibited at the Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield. One of his mosaics is incorporated into the north facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Pirelli Courtyard Frieze, Pirelli Courtyard Carved Pilaster, Pirelli Courtyard Henry Cole Wing V&A Henry Cole Wing V&A Roof and corner, Henry Cole Wing V&A Terracota rondel on the Henry Cole wing V&A Ornamented pillar and tiling on the Henry Cole wing V&A Funerary Monument to William Mulready, RA Hugh Gamble's'Monument to Godfrey Sykes', was completed in 1871 and paid for by donations from the public.
The monument was erected in Western Park, Sheffield, in 1875, is made from terracotta and stone. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Sykes, Godfrey". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900
Royal Aero Club
The Royal Aero Club is the national co-ordinating body for air sport in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1901 as the Aero Club of Great Britain, being granted the title of the "Royal Aero Club" in 1910; the Aero Club was founded in 1901 by Frank Hedges Butler, his daughter Vera and the Hon Charles Rolls inspired by the Aero Club of France. It was concerned more with ballooning but after the demonstrations of heavier-than air flight made by the Wright Brothers in France in 1908, it embraced the aeroplane; the original club constitution declared that it was dedicated to'the encouragement of aero auto-mobilism and ballooning as a sport.' As founded, it was a London gentlemen's club, but moved on to a more regulatory role. It had a clubhouse at 119 Piccadilly, which it retained until 1961; the club was granted its Royal prefix on 15 February 1910. From 1910 the club issued Aviators Certificates, which were internationally recognised under the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale to which the club was the UK representative.
The club is responsible for control in the UK of all private and sporting flying, as well as for records and competitions. The club established its first flying ground on a stretch of marshland at Shellbeach near Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey in early 1909. A nearby farmhouse, Mussell Manor became the flying ground clubhouse, club members could construct their own sheds to accommodate their aircraft. Among the first occupants of the ground were Short Brothers. Two of the brothers and Oswald had made balloons for Aero Club members, been appointed the official engineers of the Aero Club: they had enlisted their eldest brother, when they decided to begin constructing heavier-than-air aircraft, they acquired a licence to build copies of the Wright aircraft, set up the first aircraft production line in the world at Leysdown. On 1 May 1909 John Moore-Brabazon made a flight of 500 yards in his Voisin at Shellbeach; this is recognised as the first flight by a British pilot in Britain. The same week the Wright brothers visited the Aero Club flying ground at Shellbeach.
After inspecting the Short Brothers' factory, a photograph was taken outside Mussell Manor of the Wright Brothers with all of the early British aviation pioneers to commemorate their visit to Britain. On 30 October Moore-Brabazon was the first to cover a mile in a British aeroplane, flying the Short Biplane No. 2, so winning a prize of £1,000 offered by the Daily Mail newspaper. On 4 November 1909, he decided to take up a piglet, which he named Icarus the Second, as passenger, thereby disproving the adage that "pigs can't fly", it moved the next year to nearby Eastchurch. Until 1911 the British Military did not have any pilot training facilities; as a result, most early military pilots were trained by members of the club and many became members. By the end of the First World War, more than 6,300 military pilots had taken RAeC Aviator's Certificates. After the loss of its Piccadilly clubhouse in 1961, the club was lodged at the Lansdowne Club at 9 Fitzmaurice Place until 1968, it moved for a short spell to the Junior Carlton Club's modern building at 94 Pall Mall.
In June 1973 the club merged with the United Service Club and moved into its premises at 116 Pall Mall. All its aviation-related activities were transferred to the Aviation Council Ltd incorporated on 15 February 1973. In June 1975, the United Service and Royal Aero Club merged with the Naval and Military Club and on 1 August 1975 the Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom was launched and endowed with all its awards and memorabilia and took the place of the Aviation Council. By 1977, the club had ceased to be a members club but continued to carry out the function carried out by its Aviation Council, with the Secretariat based at the Leicester premises of the British Gliding Association. Today the Royal Aero Club continues to be the national governing and coordinating body of air sport and recreational flying; the governing bodies of the various forms of sporting aviation are all members of the Royal Aero Club, the UK governing body for international sporting purposes. The Royal Aero Club acts to support and protect the rights of recreational pilots in the context of national and international regulation.
The following were the first ten people to gain their aviator certificates from the Royal Aero Club: 1 - J T C Moore-Brabazon - 8 March 1910 2 - Hon C S Rolls - 8 March 1910 3 - Alfred Rawlinson - 5 April 1910 4 - Cecil Stanley Grace - 12 April 1910 5 - George Bertram Cockburn - 26 April 1910 6 - Claude Grahame-White - 26 April 1910 7 - A Ogilvie - 24 May 1910 8 - A M Singer - 31 May 1910 9 - L D L Gibbs - 7 June 1910 10 - S F Cody - 14 June 1910 - made first aeroplane flight in Britain A number of air races were organised by the club: The Kings Cup SBAC Cup The Kemsley Trophy The Norton-Griffths Cup The Grosvenor Cup The Siddeley Trophy The Air League Cup The Britannia Trophy is presented by the Royal Aero Club for aviators accomplishing the most meritorious performance in aviation during the previous year. List of pilots awarded an Aviator's Certificate by the Royal Aero Club in 1910 List of pilots awarded an Aviator's Certificate by the Royal Aero Club in 1911 List of pilots awarded an Aviator's Certificate by the Royal Aero Club in 1912 List of pilots awarded an Aviator's Certificate by the Royal Aero Club in 1913 List of pilots awarded an Aviator's Certificate by the Royal Aero Club in 1914 List of pilots with foreign Aviator's Certificates accredited by the Royal Aero Club 1910-
Per ardua ad astra
Other mottos/phrases incorporate the Latin "ad astra". See the article ad astra. Per ardua ad astra is the motto of the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces such as the RAAF, RNZAF, as well as the Royal Indian Air Force until 1947; the RCAF used it until 1968 after which it used the motto "sic Itur ad Astra." It dates from 1912. The first Commanding Officer of the Royal Flying Corps was Colonel Frederick Sykes, he asked his officers to come up with a motto for the new service. Not long after this, two junior officers were walking from the Officers' Mess at Farnborough to Cody's Shed on Laffan Plain; as they walked they discussed the problem of the motto and one of them, Lieutenant J. S. Yule, mentioned the phrase Sic itur ad Astra, from Virgil, he expanded on this with the phrase Per Ardua ad Astra, which he translated as, "Through Struggles to the Stars". Colonel Sykes forwarded it to the War Office, it was submitted to the King, who approved its adoption. Yule is believed to have borrowed the phrase from Sir Henry Rider Haggard's fantasy novel The People of the Mist.
The first chapter includes the sentence: "To his right were two stately gates of iron fantastically wrought, supported by stone pillars on whose summit stood griffins of black marble embracing coats of arms and banners inscribed with the device'Per Ardua ad Astra'". It is possible that Rider Haggard had taken it from the Irish family of Mulvany, who had used it as their family motto for centuries, translating it as "Through Struggles to the Stars". There is no single definitive translation, as both "ardua" and "astra" can carry a range of associations; the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces most translate it as "Through Adversity to the Stars". The motto of the Royal Air Force Regiment omits the ad astra part, becoming per ardua. Conversely, the name of the building that housed the Air Ministry, became Adastral House, based only on'ad astra; the Royal Canadian Air Force and many other entities use the similar motto per aspera ad astra. Per aspera ad astra, a motto with a similar translation Ad astra #Per aspera ad astra, references article above Ad astra #Ad astra per aspera, additional uses Ad astra #Per ardua ad astra, additional uses with reference to this article
Addiscombe is an area of south London, within the London Borough of Croydon. It lies within the Historic County of Surrey. Addiscombe is a ward, had a population of 16,883 in 2011. Addiscombe as a place name is Anglo-Saxon in origin, means "Eadda or Æddi's estate" from an Anglo-Saxon personal name and the word camp, meaning an enclosed area in Old English; the same Anglo-Saxon land-owner may have given his name to Addington, around two miles to the south. By the thirteenth century, Addiscombe formed part of Croydon Manor, was known as enclosed land belonging to Eadda; the area was a rural and wooded area, remaining so until the late nineteenth century. Its main industries were brick-making. Clay deposits at Woodside provided the raw materials for the latter. During the Tudor period, Addiscombe was a large country estate a mile from Croydon owned by the Heron family. Sir Nicholas Heron, who died in 1586, is interred in Croydon Parish Church; the estate passed through several owners until 1650 when it was sold to Sir Purbeck Temple, a member of the Privy Council in the time of Charles II.
After the death of Sir Purbeck in 1695 and his wife Dame Sarah Temple in 1700, the estate passed to Dame Sarah's nephew, William Draper, married to the daughter of the famous diarist, John Evelyn. When Draper died in 1718, he left his estate to his son of the same name and it passed to his nephew, Charles Clark. In 1702, Addiscombe Place was built to Sir John Vanbrugh's design, he is best known for Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard and was a prime exponent of the English Baroque style. The house was built on a site, now the corner of Outram Road and Mulberry Lane, it became known as one of three great houses in Addiscombe, the others being'Ashburton House' and'Stroud Green House'. It replaced the fine Elizabethan mansion built by Thomas Heron in 1516. John Evelyn recorded in his Diary, "I went to Adscomb on 11 July 1703 to see my son-in-law’s new house, it has excellent brickwork and Portland stone features, that I pronounced it good solid architecture, one of the best gentlemen's houses in Surrey."
Distinguished guests who stayed at the mansion include George III, William Pitt and Peter the Great of Russia. Peter the Great was reputed to have planted a cedar tree in Mulberry Lane to record his visit. During the eighteenth century Addiscombe Place was successively the home to The Lord Talbot, The Lord Grantham and lastly The Earl of Liverpool, who died there in 1808. In 1809, Emelius Ratcliffe sold the Addiscombe Place to the British East India Company for £15,500, whereupon it became a military academy known as the Addiscombe Military Seminary; the company dealt in the importation of tea, silk and spices, maintained its own private army. The officers of this army were trained at Addiscombe before setting off for India. After the Indian Mutiny of 1857 the British Government took over control of British India and amalgamated the forces of the Company with the Presidency armies; the military seminary was closed in 1861 and the remaining cadets transferred to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
In 1863, the seminary buildings were sold for £33,600 to developers who razed most of them to the ground. All that survives today are two buildings called'Ashleigh' and'India' on the corner of Clyde Road and Addiscombe Road and a former gymnasium on Havelock Road, now private apartments. Five parallel roads were laid out, to the south of the former college site – Outram, Elgin and Canning Roads, they were all named after individuals who were prominent in either the military or civil governance of British India namely. With the advent of the railways in the 1830s, Cherry Orchard Road linking Addiscombe with Croydon ceased to be a quiet rural lane and railway workers' cottages sprang up, many with the still-visible date of 1838; however it was not until the sale of the college, that significant urbanisation occurred. There was a small chapel attached to Addiscombe Military Seminary and to this, cadets paraded each morning and evening for a service conducted by the chaplain. On Sundays, cadets went down to the Parish Church in Croydon.
By 1827, it became clear that Croydon Parish Church was too far away to minister to the college needs and St James' Parish Church was built and consecrated on 31 January 1829. The population of Addiscombe at this time was about 1000. In 1870, the church of St Paul's was opened and rededicated in 1874 to St Mary Magdalene; the parish of Addiscombe was formed in 1879. In the 1890s, the Ashburton Estate was sold for redevelopment, Ashburton House which had hosted literary figures such as Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was demolished in 1910. Addiscombe railway station was replaced by housing. Since early 2006 several parts of Addiscombe have been in the process of extensive regeneration, notably the addition of housing to the site of the former Black Horse Pub and the demolition of former Church Halls and a small garden centre in Bingham Road allowing a new Church Hall and community complex to be built and provide luxury retirement apartments on adjoining land.
The old Bingham Road railway station along with two low height railway bridges have been demolished, making way for a new tramlink line with Addiscombe Tram Stop. The former rail station featured in the opening scenes of the 1960 Tony Hancock film "The Rebel". Frederick George Creed, electrical engineer and an inventor of the teleprinter, who lived at 20 Outram Road and is commemorated by an English Herita
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