Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and won a landslide victory in the following year's general election. Under Prime Ministers Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that created a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the party's leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of coalition Prime Minister and Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in late 1916, but Asquith remained as Liberal Party leader; the pair fought for years over control of the party.
Historian Martin Pugh in The Oxford Companion to British History argues: Lloyd George made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain's social welfare system. Furthermore, in foreign affairs, he played a leading role in winning the First World War, redrawing the map of Europe at the peace conference, partitioning Ireland; the government of Lloyd George was dominated by the Conservative Party, which deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rival; the party went into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than six seats at general elections. Apart from notable by-election victories, its fortunes did not improve until it formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the newly formed Social Democratic Party in 1981. At the 1983 general election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, but only 23 of the 650 seats it contested. At the 1987 general election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberal and Social Democratic parties merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
A splinter group reconstituted the Liberal Party in 1989. It was formed by party members opposed to the merger who saw the Liberal Democrats diluting Liberal ideals. Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party include the philosopher John Stuart Mill, the economist John Maynard Keynes and social planner William Beveridge; the Liberal Party grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an aristocratic faction in the reign of Charles II and the early 19th century Radicals. The Whigs were in favour of increasing the power of Parliament. Although their motives in this were to gain more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs came to support an expansion of democracy for its own sake; the great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs returned to power under Grey in 1830 and carried the First Reform Act in 1832; the Reform Act was the climax of Whiggism, but it brought about the Whigs' demise.
The admission of the middle classes to the franchise and to the House of Commons led to the development of a systematic middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for many years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey's retirement, the party was led first by Lord Melbourne, a traditional Whig, by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke but a crusading radical, by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and a conservative, although capable of radical gestures; as early as 1839, Russell had adopted the name of "Liberals", but in reality his party was a loose coalition of Whigs in the House of Lords and Radicals in the Commons. The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the manufacturing towns which had gained representation under the Reform Act, they favoured social reform, personal liberty, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England, avoidance of war and foreign alliances and above all free trade.
For a century, free trade remained the one cause. In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their period in opposition was short because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, a free trade issue; this allowed ministries led by Russell and the Peelite Lord Aberdeen to hold office for most of the 1850s and 1860s. A leading Peelite was William Ewart Gladstone, a reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer in most of these governments; the formal foundation of the Liberal Party is traditionally traced to 1859 and the formation of Palmerston's second government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a true modern political party while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the "Two Terrible Old Men", Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the first leader of the modern Liberal Party; this was brought about by Palmerston's death in 1865 and Russell's retirement in 1868. After a brief Conservative government, Gladstone won a huge victory at the 1868 election and formed the first Liberal government.
A princely state called native state, feudatory state or Indian state, was a vassal state under a local or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with the British Raj. Though the history of the princely states of the subcontinent dates from at least the classical period of Indian history, the predominant usage of the term princely state refers to a semi-sovereign principality on the Indian subcontinent during the British Raj, not directly governed by the British, but rather by a local ruler, subject to a form of indirect rule on some matters. In actual fact, the imprecise doctrine of paramountcy allowed the government of British India to interfere in the internal affairs of princely states individually or collectively and issue edicts that applied to all of India when it deemed it necessary. At the time of the British withdrawal, 565 princely states were recognised in the Indian subcontinent, apart from thousands of thakurs, taluqdars and jagirs. In 1947, princely states covered 40% of area of pre-Independent India and constituted 23% of its population.
The most important states had their own British Political Residencies: Hyderabad and Travancore in the South followed by Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim in the Himalayas, Indore in Central India. The most prominent among those – a quarter of the total – had the status of a salute state, one whose ruler was entitled to a set number of gun salutes on ceremonial occasions; the princely states varied in status and wealth. In 1941, Hyderabad had a population of over 16 million, while Jammu and Kashmir had a population of over 4 million. At the other end of the scale, the non-salute principality of Lawa covered an area of 49 km2, with a population of just below 3,000; some two hundred of the lesser states had an area of less than 25 km2. The era of the princely states ended with Indian independence in 1947. By 1950 all of the principalities had acceded to either India or Pakistan; the accession process was peaceful, except in the cases of Jammu and Kashmir, Junagadh. and Kalat. As per the terms of accession, the erstwhile Indian princes received privy purses, retained their statuses and autonomy in internal matters during a transitional period which lasted until 1956.
During this time, the former princely states were merged into unions, each of, headed by a former ruling prince with the title of Rajpramukh, equivalent to a state governor. In 1956, the position of Rajpramukh was abolished and the federations dissolved, the former principalities becoming part of Indian states; the states which acceded to Pakistan retained their status until the promulgation of a new constitution in 1956, when most became part of the province of West Pakistan. The Indian Government formally derecognised the princely families in 1971, followed by the Government of Pakistan in 1972. Though principalities and chiefdoms existed on the Indian subcontinent from at least the Iron Age, the history of princely states on the Indian subcontinent dates to at least the 5th–6th centuries C. E. during the rise of the middle kingdoms of India following the collapse of the Gupta Empire. Many of the future ruling clan groups – notably the Rajputs – began to emerge during this period; the widespread expansion of Islam during this time brought many principalities into tributary relations with Islamic sultanates, notably with the Mughal Empire.
In the south, the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire remained dominant until the mid-17th century. The Turco-Mongol Mughal Empire brought a majority of the existing Indian kingdoms and principalities under its suzerainty by the 17th century, beginning with its foundation in the early 16th century; the advent of Sikhism resulted in the Jat sikh creation of the Sikh Empire in the north by the early 18th century, by which time the Mughal Empire was in full decline. At the same time, the Marathas carved out their own states to form the Maratha Empire. Through the 18th century, former Mughal governors formed their own independent states. In the north-west, some of those – such as Tonk – allied themselves with various groups, including the Marathas and the Durrani Empire, itself formed in 1747 from a loose agglomeration of tribal chiefdoms that composed former Mughal territories. In the south, the principalities of Hyderabad and Arcot were established by the 1760s, though they nominally remained vassals of the Mughal Emperor.
India under the British Raj consisted of two types of territory: British India and the Native states or Princely states. In its Interpretation Act 1889, the British Parliament adopted the following definitions: The expression "British India" shall mean all territories and places within Her Majesty's dominions which are for the time being governed by Her Majesty through the Governor-General of India or through any govern
Myanmar the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea; the country's 2014 census counted the population to be 51 million people. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres in size, its capital city is Naypyidaw, its largest city and former capital is Yangon. Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations since 1997. Early civilisations in Myanmar included the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states in Upper Burma and the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma. In the 9th century, the Bamar people entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in the 1050s, the Burmese language and Theravada Buddhism became dominant in the country.
The Pagan Kingdom fell. In the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Mainland Southeast Asia; the early 19th century Konbaung dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Myanmar and controlled Manipur and Assam as well. The British took over the administration of Myanmar after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the 19th century and the country became a British colony. Myanmar was granted independence as a democratic nation. Following a coup d'état in 1962, it became a military dictatorship under the Burma Socialist Programme Party. For most of its independent years, the country has been engrossed in rampant ethnic strife and its myriad ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world's longest-running ongoing civil wars. During this time, the United Nations and several other organisations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country. In 2011, the military junta was dissolved following a 2010 general election, a nominally civilian government was installed.
This, along with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and political prisoners, has improved the country's human rights record and foreign relations, has led to the easing of trade and other economic sanctions. There is, continuing criticism of the government's treatment of ethnic minorities, its response to the ethnic insurgency, religious clashes. In the landmark 2015 election, Aung San Suu Kyi's party won a majority in both houses. However, the Burmese military remains a powerful force in politics. Myanmar is a country rich in jade and gems, natural gas and other mineral resources. In 2013, its GDP stood at its GDP at US$221.5 billion. The income gap in Myanmar is among the widest in the world, as a large proportion of the economy is controlled by supporters of the former military government; as of 2016, Myanmar ranks 145 out of 188 countries in human development, according to the Human Development Index. Both the names Myanmar and Burma derive from the earlier Burmese Mranma, an ethnonym for the majority Bamar ethnic group, of uncertain etymology.
The terms are popularly thought to derive from "Brahma Desha" after Brahma. In 1989, the military government changed the English translations of many names dating back to Burma's colonial period or earlier, including that of the country itself: "Burma" became "Myanmar"; the renaming remains a contested issue. Many political and ethnic opposition groups and countries continue to use "Burma" because they do not recognise the legitimacy of the ruling military government or its authority to rename the country. In April 2016, soon after taking office, Aung San Suu Kyi clarified that foreigners are free to use either name, "because there is nothing in the constitution of our country that says that you must use any term in particular"; the country's official full name is the "Republic of the Union of Myanmar". Countries that do not recognise that name use the long form "Union of Burma" instead. In English, the country is popularly known as either "Burma" or "Myanmar". Both these names are derived from the name of the majority Burmese Bamar ethnic group.
Myanmar is considered to be the literary form of the name of the group, while Burma is derived from "Bamar", the colloquial form of the group's name. Depending on the register used, the pronunciation would be Myamah; the name Burma has been in use in English since the 18th century. Burma continues to be used in English by the governments of countries such as the United Kingdom. Official United States policy retains Burma as the country's name, although the State Department's website lists the country as "Burma" and Barack Obama has referred to the country by both names; the government of Canada has in the past used Burma, such as in its 2007 legislation imposing sanctions, but as of the mid-2010s uses Myanmar. The Czech Republic uses Myanmar, although its Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions both Myanmar and Burma on its website; the United Nations uses Myanmar, as do the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland. Most English-speaking international news media refer to the country by the name Myanmar, including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation /Ra
The Chief Commissioner's Province of Aden, or Aden Province, was the administrative status under which the former Aden Settlement was placed from 1932 to 1937. Under that new status, the Viceroy of India assumed direct control over Aden, which had hitherto been administered by the government of the Bombay Presidency; the Aden Protectorate remained unaffected by this change. For nearly a century following the capture of the port of Aden by forces of the East India Company in 1839, the town and immediate surrounding area under direct British rule, known as the Aden Settlement, had been a dependency of the distant Bombay Presidency; the Settlement's indeterminate position at the southwestern end of the Arabian peninsula was bound to cause difficulties and historian R. J. Gavin points out that "Aden’s whole history since 1839 had been marked by administrative confusion and complication." Before taking action, the chief British official at Aden, the Resident, was required to obtain sanction from three different authorities, the Bombay Government, the Government of India and the Colonial Office in London.
Matters came to a head during World War I and in 1917, the Government of India, recognising its inability to provide sufficient forces to defend Aden against invading Turkish forces, transferred military control of the Settlement to the War Office and control of the Aden Protectorate affairs to the Foreign Office. The transfer was incomplete since India retained control of affairs within the Settlement itself, something, seen in London as an anachronism given that Aden so belonged to the Middle East and the Arab world. Things dragged on however and for the next two decades the administration of Aden witnessed incessant bureaucratic wrangling between the Bombay Presidency, the Government of India, the India Office, the Colonial Office and the War Office, "which broke through from time to time in the columns of newspapers and on to the floor of the House of Commons and the representative assemblies in India." The chief disagreement was over the division of costs between India and London, in particular regarding the sizeable defence costs of Aden Another important roadblock to the full transfer of Aden to London was the unpopularity of the Colonial Office among the well-established and powerful Indian commercial community of Aden, aware of the discrimination in administration against Indians in British East Africa and feared the same would happen to them if Aden was placed under the control of the Colonial Office.
The issue gained urgency at the end of the 1920s when discussions on constitutional reforms in India began. Far-away Aden with its Arab majority could not be accommodated in a new federal India where a empowered Bombay legislative assembly would remain in charge. Therefore, it was decided that, until the final status of Aden was decided, Bombay would yield its administrative control over the territory which would become a Chief Commissioner's Province under the direct control of the Viceroy; this status, which took effect in 1 April 1932, was expected to be short-lived, one provision of the Government of India Act, 1935, stated that "Aden shall cease to be a part of British India". In accordance with the Aden Colony Order, 1936, Aden became a Crown Colony under the full responsibility of the Colonial Office effective 1 April 1937. At the time, the British government had made it clear that it was unwilling to share control of such an vital imperial base or anything pertaining to it with an independent Indian administration.
However, to mollify the Indian community which still opposed the transfer, links with India were not severed. While the District and Sessions Court of Aden became the Supreme Court of the new Colony, appeals could be made to the High Court of Judicature in Bombay in civil cases involving property and some civil rights cases, as well as in criminal cases; the Indian rupee maintained its official currency status. Sir Bernard Reilly, named Resident in 1931 Chief Commissioner in 1932, became the first Governor of Aden Colony. Arabs 29,820 Indians 7,287 Jews 4,120 Somalis 3,935 Europeans 1,145 Miscellaneous 331 For previous British ruling officers see List of British representatives at Aden Sir Bernard Rawdon Reilly, first as resident in 1931 as Chief Commissioner. Postage stamps and postal history of Aden Aden Protectorate Trucial Oman Territorial evolution of the British Empire Baloch Regiment Robert Moresby
John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, was a British Liberal statesman and newspaper editor. A journalist, he was elected a Member of Parliament in 1883, he was Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1886 and between 1892 and 1895, Secretary of State for India between 1905 and 1910 and again in 1911 and Lord President of the Council between 1910 and 1914. Morley was a distinguished political commentator, biographer of his hero, William Gladstone. Morley is best known for his writings and for his "reputation as the last of the great nineteenth-century Liberals", he opposed the Boer War. He supported Home Rule for Ireland, his opposition to British entry into the First World War as an ally of Russia led him to leave government in August 1914. Morley was born in Blackburn, the son of Jonathan Morley, a surgeon, of Priscilla Mary, he was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Hoole's Academy, University College School, Cheltenham College, Lincoln College, Oxford. While at Oxford, he quarrelled with his father over religion, had to leave the University early without an honours degree.
He wrote, in obvious allusion On Compromise. Morley was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1873, before deciding to pursue a career in journalism, he described his decision to abandon the law "my long enduring regret". He was the editor of the Fortnightly Review from 1867 to 1882 and of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1880 to 1883 before going into politics. Morley first stood for Parliament at the Blackburn by-election in 1869, a rare double by-election held after an election petition led to the results of the 1868 general election in Blackburn being voided, he was unsuccessful in Blackburn, failed to win a seat when he contested the City of Westminster at the 1880 general election. Morley was elected as Liberal Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne at a by-election in February 1883. Morley was a prominent Gladstonian Liberal. In Newcastle, his constituency association chairman was the effective Robert Spence Watson, a leader of the National Liberal Federation and its chairman from 1890 to 1902.
Newcastle, was a dual member constituency and Morley's parliamentary colleague, Joseph Cowen, was a radical in perpetual conflict with the Liberal Party, who owned the Newcastle Chronicle. Cowen attacked Morley from the left, sponsored working men candidates on his retirement from the seat, showing favour to the local Tory candidate, Charles Frederic Hamond. Morley, with Watson's machine, withstood the Cowen challenge until the 1895 general election, when the tactics caused the ejection of Morley and the loss of Newcastle to the Tories. In February 1886, he was sworn to the Privy Council and made Chief Secretary for Ireland, only to be turned out when Gladstone's government fell over Home Rule in July of the same year and Lord Salisbury became Prime Minister. After the severe defeat of the Gladstonian party at the 1886 general election, Morley divided his life between politics and letters until Gladstone's return to power at the 1892 general election, when he resumed as Chief Secretary for Ireland.
He had during the interval taken a leading part in parliament, but his tenure of the chief secretaryship of Ireland was hardly a success. The Irish gentry made things as difficult for him as possible, the path of an avowed Home Ruler installed in office at Dublin Castle was beset with pitfalls. In the internecine disputes that agitated the Liberal party during Lord Rosebery's administration and afterwards, Morley sided with Sir William Harcourt and was the recipient and co-signatory of his letter resigning the Liberal leadership in December 1898, he lost his seat in the 1895 general election but soon found another in Scotland, when he was elected at a by-election in February 1896 for the Montrose Burghs. From 1889 onwards, Morley resisted the pressure from labour leaders in Newcastle to support a maximum working day of eight hours enforced by law. Morley objected to this, it would be "thrusting an Act of Parliament like a ramrod into all the delicate and complex machinery of British industry".
For example, an Eight Hours Bill for miners would impose on an industry with great diversity in local and natural conditions a universal regulation. He further argued that it would be wrong to "enable the Legislature, ignorant of these things, biased in these things—to give the Legislature the power of saying how many hours a day a man shall or shall not work". Morley told trade unionists that the only right way to limit working hours was through voluntary action from them, his outspokenness against any eight hours bill, rare among politicians, brought him the hostility of labour leaders. In September 1891, two mass meetings saw labour leaders such as John Burns, Keir Hardie and Robert Blatchford all called for action against Morley. In the election of 1892, Morley did not face a labour candidate but the Eight Hours League and the Social Democratic Federation supported the Unionist candidate. Morley came second to the Unionist candidate; when Morley was appointed to the government and the necessary by-election ensued and other socialists advised working men to vote for the Unionist candidate, but the Irish vote in Newcastle rallied to Morley and he comfortably kept his seat.
After a vote on an Eight Hours Bill in the Commons in March 1892, Morley wrote: "That has taken place which I apprehended. The Labour party—that is, the most headstrong and unscrupulous and shallow of those who speak for labour—has captured the Liberal party. W
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements; the knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order", he did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred. The Order consists of the Sovereign, the Great Master, three Classes of members: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross Knight Commander or Dame Commander Companion Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had Knight Companion, which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.
The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. In the Middle Ages, knighthood was conferred with elaborate ceremonies; these involved the knight-to-be taking a bath during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass retired to his bed to sleep until it was daylight, he was brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect's heels, fastened a belt around his waist struck him on the neck, thus making him a knight. It was this accolade, the essential act in creating a knight, a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or "dubbing" him, as is still done today.
In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families. From the coronation of Henry IV in 1399 the full ceremonies were restricted to major royal occasions such as coronations, investitures of the Prince of Wales or Royal dukes, royal weddings, the knights so created became known as Knights of the Bath. Knights Bachelor continued to be created with the simpler form of ceremony; the last occasion on which Knights of the Bath were created was the coronation of Charles II in 1661. From at least 1625, from the reign of James I, Knights of the Bath were using the motto Tria juncta in uno, wearing as a badge three crowns within a plain gold oval; these were both subsequently adopted by the Order of the Bath. Their symbolism however is not clear. The'three joined in one' may be a reference to the kingdoms of England and either France or Ireland, which were held by English and British monarchs; this would correspond to the three crowns in the badge.
Another explanation of the motto is. Nicolas quotes a source who claims that prior to James I the motto was Tria numina juncta in uno, but from the reign of James I the word numina was dropped and the motto understood to mean Tria juncta in uno; the prime mover in the establishment of the Order of the Bath was John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, England's highest heraldic officer. Sir Anthony Wagner, a recent holder of the office of Garter, wrote of Anstis's motivations: It was Martin Leake's opinion that the trouble and opposition Anstis met with in establishing himself as Garter so embittered him against the heralds that when at last in 1718 he succeeded, he made it his prime object to aggrandise himself and his office at their expense, it is clear at least that he set out to make himself indispensable to the Earl Marshal, not hard, their political principles being congruous and their friendship established, but to Sir Robert Walpole and the Whig ministry, which can by no means have been easy, considering his known attachment to the Pretender and the circumstances under which he came into office...
The main object of Anstis's next move, the revival or institution of the Order of the Bath was that which it in fact secured, of ingratiating him with the all-powerful Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed from the modern honours system in which hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year receive honours on the basis of deserving accomplishments; the only honours available at that time were hereditary peerages and baronetcies and the Order of the Garter, none of which were awarded in large numbers The political environment was significantly different from today: The Sovereign still exercised a power to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. The Court remained the centre of the political w
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