France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Pedagogy refers more broadly to the theory and practice of education, how this influences the growth of learners. Pedagogy, taken as an academic discipline, is the study of how knowledge and skills are exchanged in an educational context, it considers the interactions that take place during learning. Pedagogies vary as they reflect the different social, cultural contexts from which they emerge. Pedagogy is the act of teaching. Theories of pedagogy identify the student as an agent, the teacher as a facilitator. Conventional western pedagogies, view the teacher as knowledge holder and student as the recipient of knowledge; the pedagogy adopted by teachers shape their actions and other teaching strategies by taking into consideration theories of learning, understandings of students and their needs, the backgrounds and interests of individual students. Its aims may include furthering liberal education to the narrower specifics of vocational education. Instructive strategies are governed by the pupil's background knowledge and experience and environment, as well as learning goals set by the student and teacher.
One example would be the Socratic method. The teaching of adults, as a specific group, is referred to as andragogy; the word is a derivative of the Greek παιδαγωγία, from παιδαγωγός, itself a synthesis of ἄγω, "I lead", παῖς "child": hence, "to lead a child". It is pronounced variously, as, or. Negative connotations of pedantry have sometimes been intended, or taken, at least from the time of Samuel Pepys in the 1650s; the educational philosophy and pedagogy of Johann Friedrich Herbart highlighted the correlation between personal development and the resulting benefits to society. In other words, Herbart proposed that humans become fulfilled once they establish themselves as productive citizens. Herbartianism refers to the movement underpinned by Herbart's theoretical perspectives. Referring to the teaching process, Herbart suggested five steps as crucial components; these five steps include: preparation, association and application. Herbart suggests that pedagogy relates to having assumptions as an educator and a specific set of abilities with a deliberate end goal in mind.
A hidden curriculum is a side effect of an education, " which are learned but not intended" such as the transmission of norms and beliefs conveyed in the classroom and the social environment. Learning space or learning setting refers to a physical setting for a learning environment, a place in which teaching and learning occur; the term is used as a more definitive alternative to "classroom," but it may refer to an indoor or outdoor location, either actual or virtual. Learning spaces are diverse in use, learning styles, configuration and educational institution, they support a variety of pedagogies, including quiet study, passive or active learning, kinesthetic or physical learning, vocational learning, experiential learning, others. Learning theories are conceptual frameworks describing how knowledge is absorbed and retained during learning. Cognitive and environmental influences, as well as prior experience, all play a part in how understanding, or a world view, is acquired or changed and knowledge and skills retained.
Distance education or long-distance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school. Traditionally, this involved correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via post. Today it involves online education. Courses that are conducted are blended or 100 % distance learning. Massive open online courses, offering large-scale interactive participation and open access through the World Wide Web or other network technologies, are recent developments in distance education. A number of other terms are used synonymously with distance education. Critical pedagogy is both a broader social movement. Critical pedagogy acknowledges that educational practices are contested and shaped by history, schools are not politically neutral spaces and teaching is political. Decisions regarding the curriculum, disciplinary practices, student testing, textbook selection, the language used by the teacher, more can empower or disempower students, it recognises that educational practices favour some students over others and some practices harm all students.
It recognises that educational practices favour some voices and perspectives while marginalising or ignoring others. Another aspect examined is the power the teacher holds over the implications of this, its aims include empowering students to become active and engaged citizens, who are able to improve their own lives and their communities. Critical pedagogical practices may include, listening to and including students’ knowledge and perspectives in class, making connections between school and the broader community, posing problems to students that encourage them to question assumed knowledge and understandings; the goal of problem posing to students is to enable them to begin to pose their own problems. Teachers acknowledge their position of authority and exhibit this authority through their actions that support students. Dialogic learning is learning, it is the result of ega
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. The island's geography comprises low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland, its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate, free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, most of it is non-native conifer plantations.
There are twenty-six extant mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus moderate, winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD; the island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became sovereign over the following decades, Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language; the island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, sports such as association football, horse racing, golf. The names Éire derive from Old Irish Eriu; this in turn comes from the Proto-Celtic *Iveriu, the source of Latin Hibernia. Iveriu derives from a root meaning'fat, prosperous'. During the last glacial period, up until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe.
By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Around 6000 BC, Great Britain itself became separated from continental Europe; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. It is not until about 8000 BC, that more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island; these Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC. Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, stone monuments; the earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Co.. Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley.
An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included Britain, western France and Iberia, that this is where Celtic languages developed; this contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture. During the Iron Age, a Celtic language and culture emerged in Ireland. How and when the island became Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies.
The most recent genetic research s
Video is an electronic medium for the recording, playback and display of moving visual media. Video was first developed for mechanical television systems, which were replaced by cathode ray tube systems which were replaced by flat panel displays of several types. Video systems vary in display resolution, aspect ratio, refresh rate, color capabilities and other qualities. Analog and digital variants exist and can be carried on a variety of media, including radio broadcast, magnetic tape, optical discs, computer files, network streaming. Video technology was first developed for mechanical television systems, which were replaced by cathode ray tube television systems, but several new technologies for video display devices have since been invented. Video was exclusively a live technology. Charles Ginsburg led an Ampex research team developing one of the first practical video tape recorder. In 1951 the first video tape recorder captured live images from television cameras by converting the camera's electrical impulses and saving the information onto magnetic video tape.
Video recorders were sold for US $50,000 in 1956, videotapes cost US $300 per one-hour reel. However, prices dropped over the years; the use of digital techniques in video created digital video, which allows higher quality and much lower cost than earlier analog technology. After the invention of the DVD in 1997 and Blu-ray Disc in 2006, sales of videotape and recording equipment plummeted. Advances in computer technology allows inexpensive personal computers and smartphones to capture, store and transmit digital video, further reducing the cost of video production, allowing program-makers and broadcasters to move to tapeless production; the advent of digital broadcasting and the subsequent digital television transition is in the process of relegating analog video to the status of a legacy technology in most parts of the world. As of 2015, with the increasing use of high-resolution video cameras with improved dynamic range and color gamuts, high-dynamic-range digital intermediate data formats with improved color depth, modern digital video technology is converging with digital film technology.
Frame rate, the number of still pictures per unit of time of video, ranges from six or eight frames per second for old mechanical cameras to 120 or more frames per second for new professional cameras. PAL standards and SECAM specify 25 frame/s. Film is shot at the slower frame rate of 24 frames per second, which complicates the process of transferring a cinematic motion picture to video; the minimum frame rate to achieve a comfortable illusion of a moving image is about sixteen frames per second. Video can be progressive. In progressive scan systems, each refresh period updates all scan lines in each frame in sequence; when displaying a natively progressive broadcast or recorded signal, the result is optimum spatial resolution of both the stationary and moving parts of the image. Interlacing was invented as a way to reduce flicker in early mechanical and CRT video displays without increasing the number of complete frames per second. Interlacing retains detail while requiring lower bandwidth compared to progressive scanning.
In interlaced video, the horizontal scan lines of each complete frame are treated as if numbered consecutively, captured as two fields: an odd field consisting of the odd-numbered lines and an field consisting of the even-numbered lines. Analog display devices reproduce each frame doubling the frame rate as far as perceptible overall flicker is concerned; when the image capture device acquires the fields one at a time, rather than dividing up a complete frame after it is captured, the frame rate for motion is doubled as well, resulting in smoother, more lifelike reproduction of moving parts of the image when viewed on an interlaced CRT display. NTSC, PAL and SECAM are interlaced formats. Abbreviated video resolution specifications include an i to indicate interlacing. For example, PAL video format is described as 576i50, where 576 indicates the total number of horizontal scan lines, i indicates interlacing, 50 indicates 50 fields per second; when displaying a natively interlaced signal on a progressive scan device, overall spatial resolution is degraded by simple line doubling—artifacts such as flickering or "comb" effects in moving parts of the image which appear unless special signal processing eliminates them.
A procedure known as deinterlacing can optimize the display of an interlaced video signal from an analog, DVD or satellite source on a progressive scan device such as an LCD television, digital video projector or plasma panel. Deinterlacing cannot, produce video quality, equivalent to true progressive scan source material. Aspect ratio describes the proportional relationship between the width and height of video screens and video picture elements. All popular video formats are rectangular, so can be described by a ratio between width and height; the ratio width to height for a traditional television screen is 4:3, or about 1.33:1. High definition televisions use an aspect ratio of 16:9, or about 1.78:1. The aspect ratio of a full 35 mm film frame with soundtrack is 1.375:1. Pixels on computer monitors are square, but pixels used in digital video have non-square aspect ratios, such as those used in the PAL and NTSC variants of the CCIR 601 digital video
Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark and Sweden; the majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, always known locally as the Nordic countries. While part of the Nordic countries, the remote Norwegian islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are not in Scandinavia, nor is Greenland, a constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark; the Faroe Islands are sometimes included. The name Scandinavia referred to the former Danish, now Swedish, region of Scania. Scandinavia and Scandinavian entered usage in the late 18th century, being introduced by the early linguistic and cultural Scandinavist movement; the majority of the population of Scandinavia are descended from several North Germanic tribes who inhabited the southern part of Scandinavia and spoke a Germanic language that evolved into Old Norse.
Icelanders and the Faroese are to a significant extent descended from the Norse and are therefore seen as Scandinavian. Finland is populated by Finns, with a minority of 5% of Swedish speakers. A small minority of Sami people live in the extreme north of Scandinavia; the Danish and Swedish languages form a dialect continuum and are known as the Scandinavian languages—all of which are considered mutually intelligible with one another. Faroese and Icelandic, sometimes referred to as insular Scandinavian languages, are intelligible in continental Scandinavian languages only to a limited extent. Finnish and Meänkieli are related to each other and more distantly to the Sami languages, but are unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Apart from these, German and Romani are recognized minority languages in parts of Scandinavia. "Scandinavia" refers to Denmark and Sweden. Some sources argue for the inclusion of the Faroe Islands and Iceland, though that broader region is known by the countries concerned as Norden, or the Nordic countries.
The use of "Scandinavia" as a convenient general term for Denmark and Sweden is recent. According to some historians, it was adopted and introduced in the eighteenth century, at a time when the ideas about a common heritage started to appear and develop into early literary and linguistic Scandinavism. Before this time, the term "Scandinavia" was familiar to classical scholars through Pliny the Elder's writings and was used vaguely for Scania and the southern region of the peninsula; as a political term, Scandinavia was first used by students agitating for pan-Scandinavianism in the 1830s. The popular usage of the term in Sweden and Norway as a unifying concept became established in the nineteenth century through poems such as Hans Christian Andersen's "I am a Scandinavian" of 1839. After a visit to Sweden, Andersen became a supporter of early political Scandinavism. In a letter describing the poem to a friend, he wrote: "All at once I understood how related the Swedes, the Danes and the Norwegians are, with this feeling I wrote the poem after my return:'We are one people, we are called Scandinavians!'".
The clearest example of the use of Scandinavia is Finland, based on the fact that most of modern-day Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom for hundreds of years, thus to much of the world associating Finland with all of Scandinavia. However, the creation of a Finnish identity is unique in the region in that it was formed in relation to two different imperial models, the Swedish and the Russian, as described by the University of Jyväskylä based editorial board of the Finnish journal Yearbook of Political Thought and Conceptual History. Various promotional agencies of the Nordic countries in the United States serve to promote market and tourism interests in the region. Today, the five Nordic heads of state act as the organization's patrons and according to the official statement by the organization its mission is "to promote the Nordic region as a whole while increasing the visibility of Denmark, Iceland and Sweden in New York City and the United States"; the official tourist boards of Scandinavia sometimes cooperate under one umbrella, such as the Scandinavian Tourist Board.
The cooperation was introduced for the Asian market in 1986, when the Swedish national tourist board joined the Danish national tourist board to coordinate intergovernmental promotion of the two countries. Norway's government entered one year later. All five Nordic governments participate in the joint promotional efforts in the United States through the Scandinavian Tourist Board of North America. While the term "Scandinavia" is used for Denmark and Sweden, the term "Nordic countries" is used unambiguously for Denmark, Sweden and Iceland, including their associated territories. Scandinavia can thus be considered a subset of the Nordic countries. Furthermore, the term Fennoscandia refers to Scandinavia and Karelia, excluding Denmark and overseas territories, but the usage of this term is restricted to geology when speaking of the Fennoscandian Shield. In addition to the mainland Scandinavian countries of: Denmark Norway (constitutional monarchy with a parliament
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
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