Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China. Located in Southwest China, the province spans 394,000 square kilometres and has a population of 45.7 million. The capital of the province is Kunming also known as Yunnan; the province borders the Chinese provinces Guangxi, Guizhou and the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as the countries Vietnam and Myanmar. Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with high elevations in the northwest and low elevations in the southeast. Most of the population lives in the eastern part of the province. In the west, the altitude can vary from the mountain peaks to river valleys by as much as 3,000 metres. Yunnan has the largest diversity of plant life in China. Of the 30,000 species of higher plants in China, Yunnan has 17,000 or more. Yunnan's reserves of aluminium, lead and tin are the largest in China, there are major reserves of copper and nickel; the Han Empire first recorded diplomatic relations with the province at the end of the 2nd century BC. It became the seat of a Sino-Tibetan-speaking kingdom of Nanzhao in the 8th century AD.
Nanzhao was multi-ethnic. The Mongols conquered the region in the 13th century, with local control exercised by warlords until the 1930s. From the Yuan dynasty onward, the area was part of a central-government sponsored population movement towards the southwestern frontier, with two major waves of migrants arriving from Han-majority areas in northern and southeast China; as with other parts of China's southwest, Japanese occupation in the north during World War II forced another migration of majority Han people into the region. These two waves of migration contributed to Yunnan being one of the most ethnically diverse provinces of China, with ethnic minorities accounting for about 34 percent of its total population. Major ethnic groups include Yi, Hani, Zhuang and Miao; the Yuanmou Man, a Homo erectus fossil unearthed by railway engineers in the 1960s, has been determined to be the oldest-known hominid fossil in China. By the Neolithic period, there were human settlements in the area of Lake Dian.
These people constructed simple wooden structures. Around the 3rd century BC, the central area of Yunnan around present day Kunming was known as Dian; the Chu general Zhuang Qiao entered the region from the upper Yangtze River and set himself up as "King of Dian". He and his followers brought into Yunnan an influx of Chinese influence, the start of a long history of migration and cultural expansion. In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang extended his authority south. Commanderies and counties were established in Yunnan. An existing road in Sichuan – the "Five Foot Way" – was extended south to around present day Qujing, in eastern Yunnan; the Han–Dian wars began under Emperor Wu. He dispatched a series of military campaigns against the Dian during the southward expansion of the Han dynasty. In 109 BC, Emperor Wu sent General Guo Chang south to Yunnan, establishing Yizhou commandery and 24 subordinate counties; the commandery seat was at Dianchi county in present-day Jinning. Another county was called "Yunnan" the first use of the name.
To expand the burgeoning trade with Burma and India, Emperor Wu sent Tang Meng to maintain and expand the Five Foot Way, renaming it "Southwest Barbarian Way". By this time, agricultural technology in Yunnan had improved markedly; the local people used bronze tools and kept a variety of livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats and dogs. Anthropologists have determined, they lived in tribal congregations, sometimes led by exiled Chinese. During the Three Kingdoms, the territory of present-day Yunnan, western Guizhou and southern Sichuan was collectively called Nanzhong; the dissolution of Chinese central authority led to increased autonomy for Yunnan and more power for the local tribal structures. In AD 225, the famed statesman Zhuge Liang led three columns into Yunnan to pacify the tribes, his seven captures of Meng Huo, a local magnate, is much celebrated in Chinese folklore. International trade flowed by din of Yunnan. In the 4th century, northern China was overrun by nomadic tribes from the north.
In the 320s, the Cuan clan migrated into Yunnan. Cuan Chen named himself king and held authority from Lake Dian known as Kunchuan. Henceforth the Cuan clan ruled eastern Yunnan for over four hundred years. Before the rise and dominance of the Nanzhao Kingdom around Yunnan in the eighth century, many local tribes and other groups sprang up. Around Lake Erhai, the Dali area, there emerged six zhao: Mengzi, Langqiong, Dengdan and Mengshe. Zhao was an indigenous non-Chinese language term meaning "king" or "kingdom." Among the six regimes Mengshe was located south of the other five. By the 730s Nanzhao had succeeded in bringing the Erhai Lake–area under its authority. In 738, the western Yunnan was united by Piluoge, the fourth king of Nanzhao, confirmed by the imperial court of the Tang dynasty as king of Yunnan. Ruling from Dali, the thirteen kings of Nanzhao ruled over more than two centuries and played a part in the dynamic relationship between China and Tibet. By the 750s, Nanzhao had taken eastern Yunnan into its empire and had become a potential rival to Tang China.
The following period saw conflicts between Tang China and Nanzhao. In 750, Nanzhao captured Yaozhou, the largest Tang settlement in Yunnan. In 751, Xianyu Zhongtong (
The Kuomintang of China is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei, founded in 1911, is an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan. The predecessor of the Kuomintang, the Revolutionary Alliance, was one of the major advocates of the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the subsequent declaration of independence in 1911 that resulted in the establishment of the Republic of China; the KMT was founded by Song Jiaoren and Sun Yat-sen shortly after the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. Sun was the provisional President, but he ceded the presidency to Yuan Shikai. Led by Chiang Kai-shek, the KMT formed the National Revolutionary Army and succeeded in its Northern Expedition to unify much of mainland China in 1928, ending the chaos of the Warlord Era, it was the ruling party in mainland China until 1949, when it lost the Chinese Civil War to the rival Communist Party of China. The KMT fled to Taiwan; this government retained China's UN seat until 1971. Taiwan ceased to be a single-party state in 1986, political reforms beginning in the 1990s loosened the KMT's grip on power.
The KMT remains one of Taiwan's main political parties, with Ma Ying-jeou, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, being the seventh KMT member to hold the office of the presidency. However, in the 2016 general and presidential election the Democratic Progressive Party gained control of both the Legislative Yuan and the presidency, Tsai Ing-wen being elected President; the party's guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, advocated by Sun Yat-sen. The KMT is a member of the International Democrat Union. Together with the People First Party and New Party, the KMT forms what is known as the Taiwanese Pan-Blue Coalition, which supports eventual unification with the mainland. However, the KMT has been forced to moderate its stance by advocating the political and legal status quo of modern Taiwan, as political realities make the reunification of China unlikely; the KMT holds to a "One China Principle": it considers that there is only one China, but that the Republic of China rather than the People's Republic of China is its legitimate government under the 1992 Consensus.
In order to ease tensions with the PRC, the KMT has since 2008 endorsed the "Three Noes" policy as defined by Ma Ying-jeou: no unification, no independence and no use of force. The KMT traces its ideological and organizational roots to the work of Sun Yat-sen, a proponent of Chinese nationalism and democracy, who founded Revive China Society at the capital of the Republic of Hawaii, Honolulu, on 24 November 1894. In 1905, Sun joined forces with other anti-monarchist societies in Tokyo, Empire of Japan to form the Tongmenghui on 20 August 1905, a group committed to the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of a republic style government; the group planned and supported the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and the founding of the Republic of China on 1 January 1912. However, Sun did not have military power and ceded the provisional presidency of the republic to Yuan Shikai, who arranged for the abdication of Puyi, the last Emperor, on 12 February. On 25 August 1912, the Nationalist Party was established at the Huguang Guild Hall in Peking, where Tongmenghui and five smaller pro-revolution parties merged to contest the first national elections.
Sun was chosen as the party chairman with Huang Xing as his deputy. The most influential member of the party was the third ranking Song Jiaoren, who mobilized mass support from gentry and merchants for the Nationalists to advocate a constitutional parliamentary democracy; the party sought to check the power of Yuan. The Nationalists won an overwhelming majority of the first National Assembly election in December 1912. However, Yuan soon began to ignore the parliament in making presidential decisions. Song Jiaoren was assassinated in Shanghai in 1913. Members of the Nationalists led by Sun Yat-sen suspected that Yuan was behind the plot and thus staged the Second Revolution in July 1913, a poorly planned and ill-supported armed rising to overthrow Yuan, failed. Yuan, claiming subversiveness and betrayal, expelled adherents of the KMT from the parliament. Yuan dissolved the Nationalists in November and dismissed the parliament early in 1914. Yuan Shikai proclaimed himself emperor in December 1915.
While exiled in Japan in 1914, Sun established the Chinese Revolutionary Party on 8 July 1914, but many of his old revolutionary comrades, including Huang Xing, Wang Jingwei, Hu Hanmin and Chen Jiongming, refused to join him or support his efforts in inciting armed uprising against Yuan. In order to join the Revolutionary Party, members had to take an oath of personal loyalty to Sun, which many old revolutionaries regarded as undemocratic and contrary to the spirit of the revolution; as a result, he became sidelined within the Republican movement during this period. Sun returned to China in 1917 to establish a military junta at Canton, in order to oppose the Beiyang government, but was soon forced out of office and exiled to Shanghai. There, with renewed support, he resurrected the KMT on 10 October 1919, under the name Kuomintang of China and established its headquarters in Canton in 1920. In 1923, the KMT and its Canton government accepted aid from the Soviet Union after being denied recognition by the western powers.
Soviet advisers - the most prominent of whom was Mikhail Borodin, an agent of the Comintern – arrived in China in 1923 to aid in the reorgan
Chiang Kai-shek known as Generalissimo Chiang or Chiang Chungcheng and romanized as Chiang Chieh-shih or Jiang Jieshi, was a Chinese politician and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and in Taiwan until his death. He was recognized by much of the world as the head of the legitimate government of China until 1971, during which the United Nations passed Resolution 2758. Chiang was an influential member of the Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party, as well as a close ally of Sun Yat-sen. Chiang became the commandant of the Kuomintang's Whampoa Military Academy and took Sun's place as leader of the KMT following the Canton Coup in early 1926. Having neutralized the party's left wing, Chiang led Sun's long-postponed Northern Expedition, conquering or reaching accommodations with China's many warlords. From 1928 to 1948, Chiang served as the chairman and generalissimo of the National Government of the Republic of China.
Chiang was a nationalist. Unable to maintain Sun's good relations with the Chinese Communist Party, Chiang tried to purge them in the 1927 Shanghai Massacre and repressed uprisings at Kwangtung and elsewhere. At the onset of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which became the Chinese theater of World War II, Marshal Zhang Xueliang kidnapped Chiang and obliged him to establish a Second United Front with the CCP. After the defeat of the Japanese, the American-sponsored Marshall Mission, an attempt to negotiate a coalition government, failed in 1946; the Chinese Civil War resumed, with the CCP led by Mao Zedong defeating the KMT and declaring the People's Republic of China in 1949. Chiang's government and army retreated to Taiwan, where Chiang imposed martial law and persecuted critics in a period known as the "White Terror". After evacuating to Taiwan, Chiang's government continued to declare its intention to retake mainland China. Chiang ruled Taiwan securely as President of the Republic of China and Director-General of the Kuomintang until his death in 1975, just one year before Mao's death.
Like Mao, Chiang is regarded as a controversial figure. Supporters credit him with playing a major part in the Allied victory of World War II and unifying the nation and a national figure of the Chinese resistance against Japan as well as his staunch anti-Soviet and anti-communist stance. Detractors and critics denounce him as a dictator at the front of an authoritarian autocracy who suppressed and purged opponents and critics and arbitrarily incarcerated those he deemed as opposing to the Kuomintang among others. Like many other Chinese historical figures, Chiang used several names throughout his life; that inscribed in the genealogical records of his family is Jiang Zhoutai. This so-called "register name" is the one under which his extended relatives knew him, the one he used in formal occasions, such as when he got married. In deference to tradition, family members did not use the register name in conversation with people outside of the family; the concept of a "real" or original name is not as clear-cut in China.
In honor of tradition, Chinese families waited a number of years before naming their children. In the meantime, they used a "milk name", given to the infant shortly after his birth and known only to the close family, thus the actual name that Chiang received at birth was Jiang Ruiyuan. In 1903, the 16-year-old Chiang went to Ningbo to be a student, he chose a "school name"; this was the formal name of a person, used by older people to address him, the one he would use the most in the first decades of his life. Colloquially, the school name is called "big name", whereas the "milk name" is known as the "small name"; the school name. For the next fifteen years or so, Chiang was known as Jiang Zhiqing; this is the name under which Sun Yat-sen knew him when Chiang joined the republicans in Kwangtung in the 1910s. In 1912, when Jiang Zhiqing was in Japan, he started to use the name Chiang Kai-shek as a pen name for the articles that he published in a Chinese magazine he founded: Voice of the Army. Jieshi is the Pinyin romanization of this name, based on Mandarin, but the most recognized romanized rendering is Kai-shek, in Cantonese romanization.
As the republicans were based in Canton, Chiang became known by Westerners under the Cantonese romanization of his courtesy name, while the family name as known in English seems to be the Mandarin pronunciation of his Chinese family name, transliterated in Wade-Giles. "Kai-shek"/"Jieshi" soon became Chiang's courtesy name. Some think. Others note that the first character of his courtesy name is the first character of the courtesy name of his brother and other male relatives on the same generation line, while the second character of his courtesy name shi suggests the second character of his "register name" tai. Courtesy names in China bore a connection with the personal name of the person; as the
Operation Ichi-Go was a campaign of a series of major battles between the Imperial Japanese Army forces and the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China, fought from April to December 1944. It consisted of three separate battles in the Chinese provinces of Henan and Guangxi; these battles were the Japanese Operation Kogo or Battle of Central Henan, Operation Togo 1 or the Battle of Changheng, Operation Togo 2 and Togo 3, or the Battle of Guilin-Liuzhou, respectively. The two primary goals of Ichi-go were to open a land route to French Indochina, capture air bases in southeast China from which American bombers were attacking the Japanese homeland and shipping. In Japanese the operation was called Tairiku Datsū Sakusen, or "Continent Cross-Through Operation", while the Chinese refer to it as the Battle of Henan-Hunan-Guangxi. There were two phases to the operation. In the first phase, the Japanese secured the Pinghan Railway between Wuhan. 17 divisions, including 500,000 men, 15,000 vehicles, 6,000 artillery pieces, 800 tanks and 100,000 horses participated in this operation.
The Japanese included Kwantung Army units and equipment from Manchukuo, mechanized units, units from the North China theater and units from mainland Japan to participate in this campaign. It was the largest land campaign organized by the Japanese during the entire Second Sino-Japanese War. Many of the newest American-trained Chinese units and supplies were forcibly locked in the Burmese theater under Joseph Stilwell set by terms of the Lend-Lease Agreement. In Operation Kogo, 390,000 Chinese soldiers, led by General Tang Enbo, were deployed to defend the strategic position of Luoyang; the 3rd Tank Division of the IJA crossed the Yellow River around Zhengzhou in late April and defeated Chinese forces near Xuchang swung around clockwise and besieged Luoyang. Luoyang was defended by three Chinese divisions; the 3rd Tank Division began to attack Luoyang on May 13 and took it on May 25. The second phase of Ichigo began following the success of the first phase. Japanese forces advanced southward and occupied Changsha, Hengyang and Liuzhou.
In December 1944, Japanese forces reached French Indochina and achieved the purpose of the operation. There were few practical gains from this offensive. US air forces moved inland from the threatened bases near the coast; the operation forced British Commandos working with the Chinese as part of Mission 204 to leave China and return to Burma. The U. S. Fourteenth Air Force disrupted the Hunan–Guangxi Railway between Hengyang and Liuzhou, established in Operation Ichigo. Japan continued to attack airfields where US air forces were stationed up to the spring of 1945; the XX Bomber Command operating Strategic B-29 bombers of the Twentieth Air Force, which were attacking Japan in Operation Matterhorn, were forced to move as well, but although this affected their efficiency for a short time, in early 1945 the Twentieth Air Force moved to newly established bases in the Marianas under the command of the newly established XXI Bomber Command. This nullified the limited protection that the Japanese home islands had received from Operation Ichigo.
General Jiang Dingwen of the First War Zone gave his account of the behavior of Henan civilians: "During the campaign, the unexpected phenomenon was that the people of the mountains in western Henan attacked our troops, taking guns and explosives, high-powered mortars and radio equipment... They killed our officers. We heard this pretty often; the heads of the villages and baojia just ran away. At the same time, they took away our stored grain, leaving their houses and fields empty, which meant that our officers and soldiers had no food for many days." This was revenge for the 1938 Yellow River flood and the Chinese famine of 1942–43. General Jiang's account said: "Actually this is painful for me to say: in the end the damages we suffered from the attacks by the people were more serious than the losses from battles with the enemy." The Henan peasants picked up the weapons Kuomintang troops had abandoned to defend themselves against the Japanese. When the Kuomintang army ordered the Henan locals to destroy the local highways to prevent the Japanese advance, they refused.
In fact they sometimes went back at night and mended roads which the army had torn up by day. With the rapid deterioration of the Chinese front after Japanese launched Operation Ichi-Go in 1944, General Joseph Stilwell saw this as an opportunity to win his political struggle against Chiang Kai-shek, China's leader, gain full command of all Chinese armed forces, he was able to convince General George Marshall to have President Franklin D. Roosevelt send an ultimatum to Chiang threatening to end all American aid unless Chiang "at once" placed Stilwell "in unrestricted command of all your forces."An exultant Stilwell delivered this letter to Chiang despite pleas from Patrick Hurley, Roosevelt's special envoy in China, to delay delivering the message and work on a deal that would achieve Stilwell's aim in a manner more acceptable to Chiang. Seeing this act as a move toward the complete subjugation of China, a defiant Chiang gave a formal reply in which he said that Stilwell must be replaced and he would welcome any other qualified U.
S. general to fill Stilwell's position. As a result, Stilwell was replaced as Chief
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in China. Creating an airlift presented the AAF a considerable challenge in 1942: it had no units trained or equipped for moving cargo, no airfields existed in the China Burma India Theater for basing the large number of transports that would be needed. Flying over the Himalayas was dangerous and made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, a dearth of information about the weather; the task was given to the AAF's Tenth Air Force, to its Air Transport Command. Because the AAF had no previous airlift experience as a basis for planning, it assigned commanders, key figures in founding the ATC in 1941–1942 to build and direct the operation, which included former civilians with extensive executive experience operating civil air carriers.
Referred to as the "India–China Ferry", the successive organizations responsible for carrying out the airlift were the Assam–Burma–China Command and the India-China Ferry Command of the Tenth Air Force. The operation began in April 1942, after the Japanese blocked the Burma Road, continued daily to August 1945, when the effort began to scale down, it procured most of its officers and equipment from the AAF, augmented by British, British-Indian Army, Commonwealth forces, Burmese labor gangs and an air transport section of the Chinese National Aviation Corporation. Final operations were flown in November 1945 to return personnel from China; the India–China airlift delivered 650,000 tons of materiel to China at great cost in men and aircraft during its 42-month history. For its efforts and sacrifices, the India–China Wing of the ATC was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on 29 January 1944 at the personal direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first such award made to a non-combat organization.
Success of the "Europe first" strategy of the Allies entailed keeping China in the war, tying down more than a million Japanese troops who might otherwise threaten the Allied strategic defensive in the Pacific. The Japanese invasion of French Indochina closed all sea and rail access routes for supplying China with materiel except through Turkestan in the Soviet Union; that access ended following the signing of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941, the Burma Road became the only land route. The rapid success of Japanese military operations in Southeast Asia threatened this lifeline, prompting discussion of an air cargo service route from India as early as January 1942. Chiang's foreign minister, T. V. Soong, estimated that 12,000 tons of materiel could be delivered monthly by air from India if 100 C-47 Skytrain-type transports were committed to an airlift. On 25 February 1942, President Roosevelt wrote General George C. Marshall that "it is of the utmost urgency that the pathway to China be kept open", committed ten C-53 Skytrooper transports for lend-lease delivery to CNAC to build its capability to 25 aircraft.
When the newly created Tenth Air Force opened its headquarters in New Delhi under the command of Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton in March 1942, it was assigned the responsibility of developing an "India-China Ferry" using both U. S. and Chinese aircraft. Although never given command authority over aircraft or personnel, the officer responsible for the India-China Ferry was Brereton's chief of staff Brig. Gen. Earl L. Naiden, who held that responsibility until mid-August. From its onset, the air route was predicated on operating two branches, unofficially deemed "commands": a "Trans-India Command" from India's western ports to Calcutta, where cargo would be transshipped by rail to Assam; the original scheme envisioned the Allies holding northern Burma and using Myitkyina as an offloading terminal to send supplies by barge downriver to Bhamo and transfer to the Burma Road. However, on 8 May 1942 the Japanese seized Myitkyina and this, coupled with the loss of Rangoon cut Allied access to the Burma Road.
To maintain the uninterrupted supply to China, U. S. and other allied leaders agreed to organize a continual aerial resupply effort directly between Assam and Kunming. Tenth Air Force was hampered by a constant diversion of men and aircraft to Egypt, where Nazi Germany was threatening to seize the Suez Canal, its Air Service Command was still en route by ship from the United States, forcing it to get aircraft and personnel for the India-China Ferry from any available source. Ten former Pan American World Airways DC-3s and flight crews were sent from the trans-Africa ferry route to outfit the new operation. 25 other DC-3s requisitioned from American Airlines in the United States could not be moved to India for lack of crews and were integrated into the complement of the first transport group committed to the airlift. The command structure of the India-China Ferry was fractured after senior officers in both India and Burma made competing claims for jurisdiction, with part of the authority given to Gen. Joseph Stilwell as CBI theater commander and part remaining with Tenth Air Force, ordered by Marshall to "co-operate when requested" with the British in defending India.
Movement by ground transport of supplies arriving from the United States at the port of Karachi to the airfields, as well as construction of the infrastr
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
Project Alpha was an elaborate hoax that began in 1979 and ended with its deliberate disclosure in 1983. It was orchestrated by skeptic James Randi, it involved planting two fake psychics, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, into a parapsychology research project at Washington University. Introduced to the researchers during the initial stages of the program, the young men convinced the researchers that their psychic powers were real. With spoon bending demonstrated, the lab ran a long series of experiments to test the range of their abilities, involving everything from moving objects in sealed globes, to changing electronic clocks, to making images appear on unexposed film. After over a year of such tests, the lab began to prepare papers for presentation at a major parapsychology meeting in Syracuse in August 1981. In July 1981, Randi leaked statements about the project at a magician's meeting in Pittsburgh; the August meeting was dominated by Randi's role. Randi presented a critique of the lab's videotapes.
When the team returned to the lab and ran a number of the experiments with tighter controls, all indications of PSI powers disappeared. At this point the lab ended their involvement with the two, quoting "meager results." Other researchers were happy to continue working with them, for the next year they travelled about and were engaged in a wide variety of experiments. Many glowing reports were published in various magazines. In early 1983, Randi called a press conference at the offices of Discover magazine, ostensibly to announce the first example of true psychic abilities; when introducing the two, Randi casually asked. Edwards replied "To be quite honest, resulting in gasps from the assembled reporters; the fallout was immediate. One PSI researcher claimed that "Randi has set back the field 100 years!" To which Randi responded that they were the ones who tried to set back the study of parapsychology, but he "brought it into the 20th century." Others came to believe Randi and the lead researcher, were conspiring to discredit the field, considered a pseudoscience.
Following Project Alpha, Randi went on to use variations of the technique on several other occasions. The most famous example led to the downfall of TV evangelist and faith healer Peter Popoff, when Randi had a man pose as a woman with uterine cancer, which Popoff "cured". In another example, Randi worked with performance artist José Alvarez, who posed as a channeller known as "Carlos", presented on Australian TV and soon had a wide following. After this hoax was exposed, the artist was approached by people who believed him to be genuine if he told them directly that he was an actor. Project Alpha has become the subject of a movie development. During the 1970s, James S. McDonnell, board chairman of McDonnell Douglas and believer in the paranormal, began to give grants to a number of researchers who were working in the PSI field. Looking for a more substantial effort, he approached his home town's Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with plans to set up a permanent PSI research facility.
At first his overtures were rebuffed, but physicist Peter Phillips, interested in the field, agreed to lead up a parapsychology lab at the school. In 1979, McDonnell arranged a $500,000 USD grant for the establishment and five years operation of the McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research; the formation of the lab was well reported, Philips was on-camera explaining their efforts. He was most interested in spoon bending by children known as "psychokinetic metal bending", or PKMB. In response to these stories, James Randi wrote to the lab with a list of 11 "caveats" they should be wary of, his suggestions on how to avoid them; these included a rigid adherence to the protocol of the test, so that the subjects would not be allowed to change it in the midst of the run. This had been the modus operandi of Uri Geller; the researchers reported this as a success, when in fact the original test had failed. Other suggestions included having only one object of study at any time, permanently marking the object or objects used so they could not be switched, having as few people in the room as possible to avoid distractions.
Randi offered his services to watch the experiments as a control, noting that a conjurer would be an excellent person to look for fakery. Phillips did not take Randi up on the offer because of the skeptic's reputation of being "a showman rather than an unprejudiced critic" and his perceived hostility towards psychic claimants. In his letters, Randi told the researchers that the subjects were fake, but the researchers did not check out their backgrounds. Throughout the early phases of the project, many people claiming to have psychic powers presented themselves to the lab; the vast majority proved to have no such ability, or, just as used sleight of hand to make their "abilities" work. Many of these were convinced what they were doing was "real". However, after a short while it became apparent that two young men, Steve Shaw and Michael Edwards, were much more successful, the lab started to focus their energies on them. In fact, the two young men were "plants", friends of Randi whom he had met some time before as part of his magician's trade.
Part of Randi's instructions to these men was to tell the truth if they were asked whether they were fak