Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola. Inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica as labourers; the island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England conquered it and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy dependent on African slaves; the British emancipated all slaves in 1838, many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British utilized Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations.
The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city, with a population of 937,700. Jamaicans have African ancestry, with significant European, Indian and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, Jamaica has a large diaspora in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States. Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen, her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Sir Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
The indigenous people, the Taíno, called the island Xaymaca in Arawakan, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water" or the "Land of Springs". Colloquially Jamaicans refer to their home island as the "Rock." Slang names such as "Jamrock", "Jamdown", or "Ja", have derived from this. The Arawak and Taíno indigenous people, originating in South America, first settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC; when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494, there were more than 200 villages ruled by caciques. The south coast of Jamaica was the most populated around the area now known as Old Harbour; the Taino still inhabited Jamaica when the English took control of the island in 1655. The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any evidence of the Taino/yamaye. Today, few Jamaican natives remain. Most notably among some Maroon communities as well as within some communities in Cornwall County, Jamaica Christopher Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain after landing there in 1494, his probable landing point was Dry Harbour, called Discovery Bay, St. Ann's Bay was named "Saint Gloria" by Columbus, as the first sighting of the land.
One and a half kilometres west of St. Ann's Bay is the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, established in 1509 and abandoned around 1524 because it was deemed unhealthy; the capital was moved to Spanish Town called St. Jago de la Vega, around 1534. Spanish Town has the oldest cathedral of the British colonies in the Caribbean; the Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann. In the 1655 Invasion of Jamaica, the English, led by Sir William Penn and General Robert Venables, took over the last Spanish fort on the island; the name of Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía, alluding to the lard-making industry based on processing the numerous boars in the area. In 1660, the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 1,500 black. By the early 1670s, as the English developed sugar cane plantations and "imported" more slaves, black people formed a majority of the population; the colony was shaken and destroyed by the 1692 Jamaica earthquake.
The Irish in Jamaica formed a large part of the island's early population, making up two-thirds of the white population on the island in the late 17th century, twice that of the English population. They were brought in as indentured labourers and soldiers after the conquest of Jamaica by Cromwell's forces in 1655; the majority of Irish were transported by force as political prisoners of war from Ireland as a result of the ongoing Wars of the Three Kingdoms at the time. Migration of large numbers of Irish to the island continued into the 18th century. Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and forcibly converted to Christianity in Portugal, during a period of persecution by the Inquisition; some Spanish and Portuguese Jewish refugees went to the Netherlands and England, from there to Jamaica. Others were part of the Iberian colonisation of the New World, after overtly converting to Catholicism, as only Catholics were allowed in the Spanish colonies. By 1660, Jamaica had become a refuge for Jews in the New World attracting those, expelled from Spain and Portugal.
An early group of Jews arrived in 1510, soon after the son of Christopher Columbus settled on the island. Working as merchants and traders, the
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
South Africa the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation, it is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status; the remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European and multiracial ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures and religions, its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans.
The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, regular elections have been held for a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics; the National Party imposed apartheid in 1948. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990. Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity in the wake of apartheid; the World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, a newly industrialised country.
Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa; however and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, maintains significant regional influence; the name "South Africa" is derived from the country's geographic location at the southern tip of Africa. Upon formation, the country was named the Union of South Africa in English, reflecting its origin from the unification of four separate British colonies. Since 1961, the long form name in English has been the "Republic of South Africa". In Dutch, the country was named Republiek van Zuid-Afrika, replaced in 1983 by the Afrikaans Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Since 1994, the Republic has had an official name in each of its 11 official languages. Mzansi, derived from the Xhosa noun umzantsi meaning "south", is a colloquial name for South Africa, while some Pan-Africanist political parties prefer the term "Azania".
South Africa contains human-fossil sites in the world. Archaeologists have recovered extensive fossil remains from a series of caves in Gauteng Province; the area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been branded "the Cradle of Humankind". The sites include one of the richest sites for hominin fossils in the world. Other sites include Gondolin Cave Kromdraai, Coopers Cave and Malapa. Raymond Dart identified the first hominin fossil discovered in Africa, the Taung Child in 1924. Further hominin remains have come from the sites of Makapansgat in Limpopo Province and Florisbad in the Free State Province, Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Klasies River Mouth in Eastern Cape Province and Pinnacle Point and Die Kelders Cave in Western Cape Province; these finds suggest that various hominid species existed in South Africa from about three million years ago, starting with Australopithecus africanus. There followed species including Australopithecus sediba, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo rhodesiensis, Homo helmei, Homo naledi and modern humans.
Modern humans have inhabited Southern Africa for at least 170,000 years. Various researchers have located pebble tools within the Vaal River valley. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were present south of the Limpopo River by the 4th or 5th century CE, they displaced and absorbed the original Khoisan speakers, the Khoikhoi and San peoples. The Bantu moved south; the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier Khoisan people; the Xhosa reached the Great Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. As they migrated, these larger Iron Age populations
Sri Lankan Tamils
Sri Lankan Tamils or Ceylon Tamils known as Eelam Tamils in Tamil, are members of the Tamil ethnic group native to the South Asian island state of Sri Lanka. According to anthropological and archaeological evidence, Sri Lankan Tamils have a long history in Sri Lanka and have lived on the island since at least around the 2nd century BCE. Most modern Sri Lankan Tamils claim descent from residents of Jaffna Kingdom, a former kingdom in the north of the island and Vannimai chieftaincies from the east, they constitute a majority in the Northern Province, live in significant numbers in the Eastern Province and are in the minority throughout the rest of the country. 70 % of Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka live in the Eastern provinces. Although Sri Lankan Tamils are culturally and linguistically distinct, genetic studies indicate that they are related to Sinhalese ethnic group in the island; the Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus with a significant Christian population. Sri Lankan Tamil literature on topics including religion and the sciences flourished during the medieval period in the court of the Jaffna Kingdom.
Since the beginning of the Sri Lankan Civil War in the 1980s, it is distinguished by an emphasis on themes relating to the conflict. Sri Lankan Tamil dialects are noted for their archaism and retention of words not in everyday use in the Tamil Nadu state in India. Since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948, relations between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities have been strained. Rising ethnic and political tensions, along with ethnic riots in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983, led to the formation and strengthening of militant groups advocating independence for Tamils; the ensuing civil war resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 people and the forced disappearance of thousands of others. The civil war ended in 2009 but there are continuing allegations of atrocities being committed by the Sri Lankan Military and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during its final months. A United Nations panel found that as many as 40,000 civilians may have been killed in the final months of the civil war.
The end of the civil war has not improved conditions in Sri Lanka, with press freedom not being restored and the judiciary coming under political control. One-third of Sri Lankan Tamils now live outside Sri Lanka. While there was significant migration during the British colonial period, the civil war led to more than 800,000 Tamils leaving Sri Lanka, many have left the country for destinations such as Canada and Europe as refugees. There is little scholarly consensus over the presence of the Sri Lankan Tamil people in Sri Lanka known as Eelam in Sangam literature. One theory states that there was not an organised Sri Lankan Tamil people presence in Sri Lanka until the creation of a Tamil Kingdom in the 7th century CE, followed by much earlier invasions from Tamilakam. Another theory states that the Sri Lankan Tamils are descendant of the Nagas, who started to assimilate to Tamil culture and language around 3rd BCE. Other theories contends; the Indigenous Veddhas are ethnically related to people in South India and early populations of Southeast Asia.
It is not possible to ascertain what languages that they spoke as Vedda language is considered diverged from its original source. According to K. Indrapala, cultural diffusion, rather than migration of people, spread the Prakrit and Tamil languages from peninsular India into an existing mesolithic population, centuries before the common era. Tamil Brahmi and Tamil-Prakrit scripts were used to write the Tamil language during this period on the island. Settlements of culturally similar early populations of ancient Sri Lanka and ancient Tamil Nadu in India were excavated at megalithic burial sites at Pomparippu on the west coast and in Kathiraveli on the east coast of the island. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to burials in the Early Pandyan Kingdom, these sites were established between the 5th century BCE and 2nd century CE. Excavated ceramic sequences similar to that of Arikamedu were found in Kandarodai on the north coast, dated to 1300 BCE. Cultural similarities in burial practices in South India and Sri Lanka were dated by archaeologists to 10th century BCE.
However, Indian history and archaeology have pushed the date back to 15th century BCE. In Sri Lanka, there is radiometric evidence from Anuradhapura that the non-Brahmi symbol-bearing black and red ware occur in the 10th century BCE; the skeletal remains of an Early Iron Age chief were excavated in Jaffna District. The name Ko Veta is engraved in Brahmi script on a seal buried with the skeleton and is assigned by the excavators to the 3rd century BCE. Ko, meaning "King" in Tamil, is comparable to such names as Ko Atan, Ko Putivira and Ko Ra-pumaan occurring in contemporary Tamil Brahmi inscriptions of ancient South India and Egypt. Potsherds with early Tamil writing from the 2nd century BCE have been found from the north in Poonagari, Kilinochchi District to the south in Tissamaharama, they bore several inscriptions, including a clan name—vela, a name related to velir from ancient Tamil country. Epigraphic evidence shows people identifying themselves as Damelas or Damedas in Anuradhapura, the capital city of Rajarata the middle kingdom, other areas of Sri Lanka as early as the 2nd century BCE.
Excavations in the area of Tissamaharama in southern Sri Lanka have unearthed locally issued coins, produced between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, some of which carry local Tamil personal names written in early Tamil characters, which suggest that local Tamil merchants were present
History of Hinduism
History of Hinduism denotes a wide variety of related religious traditions native to the Indian subcontinent. Its history overlaps or coincides with the development of religion in Indian subcontinent since the Iron Age, with some of its traditions tracing back to prehistoric religions such as those of the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization, it has thus been called the "oldest religion" in the world. Scholars regard Hinduism as a synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no single founder; the history of Hinduism is divided into periods of development. The first period is the pre-Vedic period, which includes the Indus Valley Civilisation and local pre-historic religions, ending at about 1750 BCE; this period was followed in northern India by the Vedic period, which saw the introduction of the historical Vedic religion with the Indo-Aryan migrations, starting somewhere between 1900 BCE to 1400 BCE. The subsequent period, between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, is "a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions", a formative period for Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Epic and Early Puranic period, from c. 200 BCE to 500 CE, saw the classical "Golden Age" of Hinduism, which coincides with the Gupta Empire. In this period the six branches of Hindu philosophy evolved, namely Samkhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mīmāṃsā, Vedanta. Monotheistic sects like Shaivism and Vaishnavism developed during this same period through the Bhakti movement; the period from 650 to 1100 CE forms the late Classical period or early Middle Ages, in which classical Puranic Hinduism is established, Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta, which incorporated Buddhist thought into Vedanta, marking a shift from realistic to idealistic thought. Hinduism under both Hindu and Islamic rulers from c. 1200 to 1750 CE, saw the increasing prominence of the Bhakti movement, which remains influential today. The colonial period saw the emergence of various Hindu reform movements inspired by western movements, such as Unitarianism and Theosophy; the Partition of India in 1947 was along religious lines, with the Republic of India emerging with a Hindu majority.
During the 20th century, due to the Indian diaspora, Hindu minorities have formed in all continents, with the largest communities in absolute numbers in the United States and the United Kingdom. Western scholars regard Hinduism as a synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions. Among its roots are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age northern India itself the product of "a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but the Sramana or renouncer traditions of northeast India, mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation, Dravidian traditions, the local traditions and tribal religions. After the Vedic period, between 500-200 BCE and c. 300 CE, at the beginning of the "Epic and Puranic" c.q. "Preclassical" period, the "Hindu synthesis" emerged, which incorporated śramaṇic and Buddhist influences and the emerging bhakti tradition into the Brahmanical fold via the smriti literature. This synthesis emerged under the pressure of the success of Jainism.
During the Gupta reign the first Puranas were written, which were used to disseminate "mainstream religious ideology amongst pre-literate and tribal groups undergoing acculturation." The resulting Puranic Hinduism differed markedly from the earlier Brahmanism of the Dharmaśāstras and the smritis. Hinduism co-existed for several centuries with Buddhism, to gain the upper hand at all levels in the 8th century. From northern India this "Hindu synthesis", its societal divisions, spread to southern India and parts of Southeast Asia, it was aided by the settlement of Brahmins on land granted by local rulers, the incorporation and assimilation of popular non-Vedic gods, the process of Sanskritization, in which "people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms". This process of assimilation explains the wide diversity of local cultures in India "half shrouded in a taddered cloak of conceptual unity." James Mill, in his The History of British India, distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely Hindu and British civilisations.
This periodisation has been criticised, for the misconceptions. Another periodisation is the division into "ancient, classical and modern periods", although this periodization has received criticism. Romila Thapar notes that the division of Hindu-Muslim-British periods of Indian history gives too much weight to "ruling dynasties and foreign invasions," neglecting the social-economic history which showed a strong continuity; the division in Ancient-Medieval-Modern overlooks the fact that the Muslim-conquests took place between the eight and the fourteenth century, while the south was never conquered. According to Thapar, a periodisation could be based on "significant social and economic changes," which are not related to a change of ruling powers. Smart and Michaels seem to follow Mill's periodisation, while Flood and Muesse follow the "ancient, classical and modern periods" periodisation. An elaborate periodisation may be as follows: Indus Valley Civilisation; the earliest prehistoric religion in India tha
The Tamil people known as Tamilar, Tamilans or Tamils, are an ethnic group who speak the language Tamil as their mother tongue and trace their ancestry to Southern India and North-eastern Sri Lanka. Tamils, with a population of around 76 million and with a documented history stretching back over 2,000 years, are one of the largest and oldest extant ethnolinguistic groups in the modern world. Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India, 15.3% in Sri Lanka, 6% in Mauritius, 7% in Malaysia and 5% in Singapore. From the 14th century BCE onwards and mercantile activity along the western and eastern coasts of what is today Kerala and Tamil Nadu led to the development of four large Tamil political states, the Cheras, Cholas and Pallavas and a number of smaller states, all of whom were warring amongst themselves for dominance; the Jaffna Kingdom, inhabited by Sri Lankan Tamils, was once one of the strongest kingdoms of Sri Lanka, controlled much of the north of the island. Tamils were noted for their influence on regional trade throughout the Indian Ocean.
Artifacts marking the presence of Roman traders show direct trade was active between Rome and southern India, the Pandyas were recorded as having sent at least two embassies directly to Emperor Augustus in Rome. The Pandyas and Cholas were active in Sri Lanka; the Chola dynasty invaded several areas in Southeast Asia, including the powerful Srivijaya and the Malay city-state of Kedah. Medieval Tamil guilds and trading organizations like the Ayyavole and Manigramam played an important role in Southeast Asian trading networks. Pallava traders and religious leaders travelled to Southeast Asia and played an important role in the cultural Indianisation of the region. Scripts brought by Tamil traders to Southeast Asia, like the Grantha and Pallava scripts, induced the development of many Southeast Asian scripts such as Khmer, Javanese Kawi script and Thai; the Tamil language is one of the oldest extant written languages, with a history dating back to 300 BCE. Tamil literature is dominated by poetry Sangam literature, composed of poems composed between 300 BCE and 300 CE.
The most important Tamil author was the poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar, who wrote the Tirukkuṛaḷ, a group of treatises on ethics, politics and morality considered the greatest work of Tamil literature. Tamil visual art is dominated by stylised Temple architecture in major centres and the productions of images of deities in stone and bronze. Chola bronzes the Nataraja sculptures of the Chola period, have become notable symbols of Hinduism. Tamil performing arts are divided into classical; the classical form of dance is Bharatanatyam, whereas the popular forms are known as Koothu and performed in village temples and on street corners. Tamil cinema, known as Kollywood, is an important part of the Indian cinema industry, it is the second largest film industry in India, next only to Bollywood. Music too is divided into many popular genres. Although most Tamils are Hindus, many those in the rural areas practice what is considered to be folk Hinduism, venerating a plethora of village deities. A sizeable number are Christians.
A small Jain community survives from the classical period as well. Tamil cuisine is informed by varied vegetarian and non-vegetarian items spiced with locally available spices; the music, the temple architecture and the stylised sculptures favoured by the Tamil people as in their ancient nation are still being learnt and practised. English historian and broadcaster Michael Wood called the Tamils the last surviving classical civilisation on Earth, because the Tamils have preserved substantial elements of their past regarding belief, culture and literature despite the influence of globalization, it is unknown as to whether the term Thamizhar and its equivalents in Prakrit such as Damela, Dameda and Damila was a self designation or a term denoted by outsiders. Epigraphic evidence of an ethnicity termed as such is found in ancient Sri Lanka where a number of inscriptions have come to light datable from the 6th to the 5th century BCE mentioning Damela or Dameda persons; the well-known Hathigumpha inscription of the Kalinga ruler Kharavela refers to a Tmira samghata dated to 150 BCE.
It mentions that the league of Tamil kingdoms had been in existence 113 years before then. In Amaravati in present-day Andhra Pradesh there is an inscription referring to a Dhamila-vaniya datable to the 3rd century CE. Another inscription of about the same time in Nagarjunakonda seems to refer to a Damila. A third inscription in Kanheri Caves refers to a Dhamila-gharini. In the Buddhist Jataka story known as Akiti Jataka there is a mention to Damila-rattha. There were trade relationship between the Roman Pandyan Empire; as recorded by Strabo, Emperor Augustus of Rome received at Antioch an ambassador from a king called Pandyan of Dramira. Hence, it is clear that by at least 300 B. C. the ethnic identity of Tamils was formed as a distinct group. Thamizhar is etymologically related to the language spoken by Tamil people. Southworth suggests that the name comes from tam-miz > tam-iz'self-speak', or'one's own speech'. Zvelebil suggests an etymology of tam-iz, with tam meaning "self" or "one's self", "-iz" having the connotation of "unfolding sound".
Alternatively, he suggests a derivation of tamiz < tam-iz < *tav-iz < *tak-iz, meaning in origin "the proper process". Possible evidence indicating the
The Caribbean is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, north of South America. Situated on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700 islands, islets and cays; these islands form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east, are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which includes the Lucayan Archipelago; the Lucayans and, less Bermuda, are sometimes considered Caribbean despite the fact that none of these islands border the Caribbean Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries and territories of Belize, the Caribbean region of Colombia, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, the Guyanas, are included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.
Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are regarded as a subregion of North America and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010, there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies. From January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was a short-lived political union called the West Indies Federation composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were British dependencies; the West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations. The region takes its name from that of the Caribs, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Americas; the two most prevalent pronunciations of "Caribbean" outside the Caribbean are, with the primary stress on the third syllable, with the stress on the second. Most authorities of the last century preferred the stress on the third syllable.
This is the older of the two pronunciations, but the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years. It has been suggested that speakers of British English prefer while North American speakers more use, but major American dictionaries and other sources list the stress on the third syllable as more common in American English too. According to the American version of Oxford Online Dictionaries, the stress on the second syllable is becoming more common in UK English and is considered "by some" to be more up to date and more "correct"; the Oxford Online Dictionaries claim that the stress on the second syllable is the most common pronunciation in the Caribbean itself, but according to the Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, the most common pronunciation in Caribbean English stresses the first syllable instead. The word "Caribbean" has multiple uses, its principal ones are political. The Caribbean can be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonisation and the plantation system.
The United Nations geoscheme for the Americas presents the Caribbean as a distinct region within the Americas. Physiographically, the Caribbean region is a chain of islands surrounding the Caribbean Sea. To the north, the region is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida and the Northern Atlantic Ocean, which lies to the east and northeast. To the south lies the coastline of the continent of South America. Politically, the "Caribbean" may be centred on socio-economic groupings found in the region. For example, the bloc known as the Caribbean Community contains the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Suriname in South America and Belize in Central America as full members. Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are in the Atlantic Ocean, are associate members of the Caribbean Community; the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is in the Atlantic and is a full member of the Caribbean Community. Alternatively, the organisation called the Association of Caribbean States consists of every nation in the surrounding regions that lie on the Caribbean, plus El Salvador, which lies on the Pacific Ocean.
According to the ACS, the total population of its member states is 227 million people. The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have flat terrain of non-volcanic origin; these islands include Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Saint Martin, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe and Trinidad and Tobago. Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles vary; the Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles; the waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish and coral reef