History Podcasts

An Ancient Australian Connection to India?

An Ancient Australian Connection to India?

Darren Curnoe / The Conversation

When was the remote Australian continent first settled? Where did these ancient Australians come from? Was the island settled once, or on multiple occasions? Is there a genealogical connection between the Indigenous people of Australia and India?

These are questions I’ve spent almost two decades cogitating, and some of them have been pondered now for almost 400 years by European scholars.

Way back in 1623, while on route through the Torres Strait, the Dutch explorer Jan Carstenz (or Carstenszoon) was the first to write about these issues in describing the physical appearance of Indigenous Australians.

He likened people in the north of the continent to so-called ‘Indians’ of the Coramandel of New Zealand, or Maori people of the North Island.

  • Hippalos: Early Navigation of Deep Sea Routes Between India and Egypt – Part I
  • Have Scientists Discovered Proof for the Lost Continent of Lemuria?
  • Ancient tools evolved in Australia thousands of years before they appeared in Europe

Men from Bathurst Island, 1939. ( Public Domain )

The descriptor ‘Indian’ was used widely in those days to refer to populations across the New World, and didn’t imply any genealogical relationship with South Asians as such; that connection would be made by Thomas Henry Huxley more than two centuries later.

Huxley was by far the most influential early European thinker about human origins. Champion of Darwin’s theory of evolution, as a young man Huxley visited Australia on the HMS Rattlesnake in 1847, 11 years after Darwin came here on the HMS Beagle.

While he showed little interest in anthropology at the time, he would subsequently go on to found human evolution science and strongly shape Darwin’s ideas about our origins.

In 1870, in On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind , Huxley proposed that Indigenous Australians were closely related to the people of South Asia, confidently asserting:

‘the only people out of Australia who present the chief characteristics of the Australians in a well-marked form are the so-called hill-tribes who inhabit the interior of the Dekhan, in Hindostan.’

Photograph of two men and two women of the Malaiyali tribe in the Shevaroy Hills in Tamil Nadu - 1860s. ( Public Domain )

While based on speculation, rather remarkably, I think, his ideas would come to be influential up until the 1970s; only to be rekindled by geneticists in 1999.

One physical anthropologist who was especially infleunced by Huxley’s musing was Joseph Birdsell . He worked in Australia from the 1940s, writing about the continent’s Indigenous people until his death in the 1990s.

Birdsell developed a model for the peopling of Australia proposing settlement in three waves; with people coming from Southeast Asia, followed by more people from Japan, and later from India; modern Indigenous people being a kind of mix of the three groups.

Putative migration waves out of Africa and location of some of the most relevant ancient human remains and archeological sites. The placement of arrows is indicative. (Saioa López, Lucy van Dorp and Garrett Hellenthal/ CC BY 3.0 )

His model has been long discredited among anthropologists because it finds no support in fossilised human remains - the only physical evidence we have for the earliest people in Australia.

Moreover, his intellectual contemporary and rival, Andrew Abbie , failed to confirm Birdsell’s ideas during the extensive anthropological surveys he undertook with living Indigenous people across the continent.

Enter the geneticists Alan Redd and Mark Stoneking who in 1999 took a leaf out of Huxley’s writing and published evidence for a maternal genetic connection between Australia and India.

To bolster their ideas, they linked their findings to events seen in the archaeological record, especially the arrival of the dingo, as well as perceived language similarities and even Birdsell’s ideas about migration.

An Australian Dingo, Canis lupus dingo, taken at a wildlife sanctuary/rescue center in South-eastern Australia. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Redd and Stoneking suggested that people from India arrived in northern Australia sometime around three and a half thousand years ago and left a major genetic and cultural legacy with the Indigenous people of the Northern Territory today.

Their work deeply divided both the anthropological and genetic communities, opening old wounds and reviving discredited theories.

Some archaeologists had argued in the 1970s and 1980s that there was indeed a sudden change in the kinds of tools being made in northern Australia - known as the ‘Small Tool Tradition’ or ‘Backed Blades’ - broadly coincident with the arrival of the dog, and indicating the arrival of a new people.

Yet, Backed Blades were later shown to be present in archaeological deposits near Sydney dating back to about 8 thousand years old and in northern Queensland to around 15 thousand years old. The contradictory evidence was overlooked by Redd and Stoneking.

Their work was followed by more genetic studies supporting the hypothesis and a range of others seemingly rejecting it.

Then last month, the latest salvo against the India connection was launched and, I must confess, I may have greeted it a little too enthusiastically.

The work, led by Anders Bergström of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and published in Current Biology , fully sequenced and compared globally the Y-chromosomes of 13 Aboriginal Australian men.

In a nutshell, their study found that Aboriginal men are descended from early modern human populations identified as living broadly across East Asia by at least 60 thousand years ago.

A subset of these people migrated to New Guinea and Australia, settling these areas by about 55 thousand years ago, according to genetic clocks.

The divergence of Papua New Guinean, Aboriginal Australian, and South Asian Y-chromosomes. ( Bergström et al .)

The research has confirmed a large number of other genetic studies showing that soon after Australia was peopled, Indigenous New Guineans and Australians became isolated from each other, except in a few places in the north like the Torres Strait.

A very ancient origin for Indigenous Australians is also supported by the human fossil and archaeological records showing an arrival at least 40-50 thousand years ago or more.

Even Redd and Stoneking and their subsequent supporters all agreed on these points.

Australia was also, according to last month’s research, peopled once, and only once, before Europeans came by the boat load from 1788. No signs of Indian gene flow here; contrary to Redd and Stoneking’s ideas.

Yes, there was certainly trade and contact with the outside world, such as with the Macassans from Sulawesi beginning in the 1600s. But it seems for the most part not to have left a genetic footprint among living Aboriginal people.

Now, all of this leaves really only the geneticists arguing over the India connection, and they seem to be coming at the question from quite different angles; despite using very similar kinds of evidence.

Why such strong disagreement? I think the simplest explanation is that we don’t yet have enough data to provide a clear answer, from the DNA or human fossil remains. Archaeology is clearly very important, but not the full picture.

Aboriginal Australians have without doubt been living here for tens of thousands of years, but whether they were completely (genetically) isolated until 1788 is not yet certain.

  • Ancient Irish Musical History Found in Modern India
  • Skeleton found at shipwreck site is a reminder of a brutal massacre off the Australian coast
  • The Indian Sage who developed Atomic Theory 2,600 years ago

An Indigenous Australian playing the Didgeridoo ( CC BY-SA 3.0 ).

What about the dingo? The latest genetic research suggests it may have come from New Guinea or even directly from Taiwan by Austronesian speaking people, with no indications of India ancestry whatsoever.

The burden of proof lies with those proposing the idea of a link between some Indigenous Australians and far away India, because the alternative view is the one that receives support from other kinds of evidence.

Also, I think it’s way too easy to ‘cherry-pick’ the physical anthropology, linguistic and archaeological literature, as geneticists are prone to doing, when the picture emerging from all these areas of research is much more complicated than most geneticists would concede.

Still, we’ve come a long way since Huxley’s insightful speculation, and who knows whether he’ll ultimately be proved right.


History of India

The Indian subcontinent, the great landmass of South Asia, is the home of one of the world’s oldest and most influential civilizations. In this article, the subcontinent, which for historical purposes is usually called simply “India,” is understood to comprise the areas of not only the present-day Republic of India but also the republics of Pakistan (partitioned from India in 1947) and Bangladesh (which formed the eastern part of Pakistan until its independence in 1971). For the histories of these latter two countries since their creation, see Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Since early times the Indian subcontinent appears to have provided an attractive habitat for human occupation. Toward the south it is effectively sheltered by wide expanses of ocean, which tended to isolate it culturally in ancient times, while to the north it is protected by the massive ranges of the Himalayas, which also sheltered it from the Arctic winds and the air currents of Central Asia. Only in the northwest and northeast is there easier access by land, and it was through those two sectors that most of the early contacts with the outside world took place.

Within the framework of hills and mountains represented by the Indo-Iranian borderlands on the west, the Indo-Myanmar borderlands in the east, and the Himalayas to the north, the subcontinent may in broadest terms be divided into two major divisions: in the north, the basins of the Indus and Ganges (Ganga) rivers (the Indo-Gangetic Plain) and, to the south, the block of Archean rocks that forms the Deccan plateau region. The expansive alluvial plain of the river basins provided the environment and focus for the rise of two great phases of city life: the civilization of the Indus valley, known as the Indus civilization, during the 3rd millennium bce and, during the 1st millennium bce , that of the Ganges. To the south of this zone, and separating it from the peninsula proper, is a belt of hills and forests, running generally from west to east and to this day largely inhabited by tribal people. This belt has played mainly a negative role throughout Indian history in that it remained relatively thinly populated and did not form the focal point of any of the principal regional cultural developments of South Asia. However, it is traversed by various routes linking the more-attractive areas north and south of it. The Narmada (Narbada) River flows through this belt toward the west, mostly along the Vindhya Range, which has long been regarded as the symbolic boundary between northern and southern India.

The northern parts of India represent a series of contrasting regions, each with its own distinctive cultural history and its own distinctive population. In the northwest the valleys of the Baluchistan uplands (now largely in Balochistan, Pakistan) are a low-rainfall area, producing mainly wheat and barley and having a low density of population. Its residents, mainly tribal people, are in many respects closely akin to their Iranian neighbours. The adjacent Indus plains are also an area of extremely low rainfall, but the annual flooding of the river in ancient times and the exploitation of its waters by canal irrigation in the modern period have enhanced agricultural productivity, and the population is correspondingly denser than that of Baluchistan. The Indus valley may be divided into three parts: in the north are the plains of the five tributary rivers of the Punjab (Persian: Panjāb, “Five Waters”) in the centre the consolidated waters of the Indus and its tributaries flow through the alluvial plains of Sind and in the south the waters pass naturally into the Indus delta. East of the latter is the Great Indian, or Thar, Desert, which is in turn bounded on the east by a hill system known as the Aravali Range, the northernmost extent of the Deccan plateau region. Beyond them is the hilly region of Rajasthan and the Malwa Plateau. To the south is the Kathiawar Peninsula, forming both geographically and culturally an extension of Rajasthan. All of these regions have a relatively denser population than the preceding group, but for topographical reasons they have tended to be somewhat isolated, at least during historical times.

East of the Punjab and Rajasthan, northern India develops into a series of belts running broadly west to east and following the line of the foothills of the Himalayan ranges in the north. The southern belt consists of a hilly, forested area broken by the numerous escarpments in close association with the Vindhya Range, including the Bhander, Rewa, and Kaimur plateaus. Between the hills of central India and the Himalayas lies the Ganges River valley proper, constituting an area of high-density population, moderate rainfall, and high agricultural productivity. Archaeology suggests that, from the beginning of the 1st millennium bce , rice cultivation has played a large part in supporting this population. The Ganges valley divides into three major parts: to the west is the Ganges-Yamuna Doab (the land area that is formed by the confluence of the two rivers) east of the confluence lies the middle Ganges valley, in which population tends to increase and cultivation of rice predominates and to the southeast lies the extensive delta of the combined Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. The Brahmaputra flows from the northeast, rising from the Tibetan Himalayas and emerging from the mountains into the Assam valley, being bounded on the east by the Patkai Bum Range and the Naga Hills and on the south by the Mikir, Khasi, Jaintia, and Garo hills. There is plenty of evidence that influences reached India from the northeast in ancient times, even if they are less prominent than those that arrived from the northwest.

Along the Deccan plateau there is a gradual eastward declivity, which dispenses its major river systems—the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri (Cauvery)—into the Bay of Bengal. Rising some 3,000 feet (1,000 metres) or more along the western edge of the Deccan, the escarpment known as the Western Ghats traps the moisture of winds from the Arabian Sea, most notably during the southwest monsoon, creating a tropical monsoon climate along the narrow western littoral and depriving the Deccan of significant precipitation. The absence of snowpack in the south Indian uplands makes the region dependent entirely on rainfall for its streamflow. The arrival of the southwest monsoon in June is thus a pivotal annual event in peninsular culture.


2. Historical Literary Sources of Ancient India

The historical materials are scattered and it is difficult to draw a comprehensive picture of the ancient age. The historical literature can be sub-divided into several groups. They are Puranas, the epics, dynastic history and biography.

The Puranas

The ‘Puranas’ serves as a source of historical facts of ancient India. There are eighteen Puranas. The puranas provides historical information of various dynasties. The fact relating to various dynasties and kingdom specially those about Magadhan Kingdom are collected. The chronological accounts given in the Puranas should be used with caution and care. In the Puranas, legends have been so unidentifiably mixed up with historical data that the data provided in Puranas should be used carefully. In the Puranas, it is held that the events of the past would repeat themselves in future. An attempt to forecast the future has been made through these events.

The Ramayana and The Mahabharata

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the two old epics of India, provide us with numerous historical materials. There is controversy about the historicity of the Ramayana, and many scholars are of opinion that story of the Ramayana is fictitious. But scholars of all categories are unanimous in their recognition of the historical value of the events narrated in the Mahabharata. The Kurukshetra war described in the Mahabharata is regarded generally as a historical event. According to Dr. R.C.Majumdar, the war occurred in 1000 B.C. Apart from the Kurukshetra war, the Mahabharata contains various accounts of social life and religious thinking of the people of ancient India.

Banabhatta’s Harshacharita

Banabhatta, the poet Laureate of Harshavardhan, composed the Harshacharita. This royal biographies written in ancient India, is an important source of Ancient Indian History. The book gives us a report on the early reign of Harshavardhana. Though Banabhatta sang the praise of his lord, Harshavardhana, but it seem like he did good justice while explaining the important facts of Ancient Indian History.

‘Gandavaha’, written by Vakpatiraja, the conquest of Ganda by Yashovarmana has been narrated.

Bilhana’s Vikramankadevacharita supplies us with sufficient information’s about the reign of the Chalukya King, Vikramaditya VI.

These apart, mention can also be made of Padma-gupta’s Navasahasanka Charita and of Jaysinha’s Kumara Pala Charita.

Ramcharita

Sandhyakara Nandi’s Ramacharita provides us with further information on Ancient India. It has two aspects. In one aspect, it is the story of Rama, the principal character of the Ramayana. On the other hand, it gives us an account of the works of King Ramapala, the famous Pala King of Bengal.

Rajatarangini

Rajatarangini, the famous historian of Kashmir, wrote ‘ Kalhana’. The Ancient kings of Kashmir used to conserve historical materials. The Kalhana presents continuous details of the political events of Kashmir from ancient times down to the twelfth century A.D.

Prithviraja Raso

Prithviraja Raso, an epic poem, composed by Chand Bardoi, traces the details of Pritviraj II, the great Chauhan King of Delhi.

Others

Other religious books such as Naroda, Brihaspati Smriti, Sukraniti, Manusmriti etc.


Contents

5 April is celebrated as National Maritime Day in India. On this day in 1919, navigation history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd., journeyed to the United Kingdom, a crucial step for India's shipping history when sea routes were controlled by the British.

The region around the Indus river began to show visible increase in both the length and the frequency of maritime voyages by 3000 BCE. [14] Optimum conditions for viable long-distance voyages existed in this region by 2900 BCE. [15] Mesopotamian inscriptions indicate that Indian traders from the Indus valley—carrying copper, hardwoods, ivory, pearls, carnelian, and gold—were active in Mesopotamia during the reign of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2300 BCE). [1] Gosch & Stearns write on the Indus Valley's pre-modern maritime travel: [16] Evidence exists that Harappans were bulk-shipping timber and special woods to Sumer on ships and luxury items such as lapis lazuli. The trade in lapis lazuli was carried out from northern Afghanistan over eastern Iran to Sumer but during the Mature Harappan period an Indus colony was established at Shortugai in Central Asia near the Badakshan mines and the lapis stones were brought overland to Lothal in Gujarat and shipped to Oman, Bahrain and Mesopotamia.

Archaeological research at sites in Mesopotamia, Bahrain, and Oman has led to the recovery of artefacts traceable to the Indus Valley civilisation, confirming the information on the inscriptions. Among the most important of these objects are stamp seals carved in soapstone, stone weights, and colourful carnelian beads. Most of the trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley was indirect. Shippers from both regions converged in Persian Gulf ports, especially on the island of Bahrain (known as Dilmun to the Sumerians). Numerous small Indus-style artefacts have been recovered at locations on Bahrain and further down the coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Oman. Stamp seals produced in Bahrain have been found at sites in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, strengthening the likelihood that the island may have acted as a redistribution point for goods coming from Mesopotamia and the Indus area. There are hints from the digs at Ur, a major Sumerian city-state on the Euphrates, that some Indus Valley merchants and artisans (bead makers) may have established communities in Mesopotamia.

The world's first dock at Lothal (2400 BCE) was located away from the main current to avoid deposition of silt. [17] Modern oceanographers have observed that the Harappans must have possessed great knowledge relating to tides in order to build such a dock on the ever-shifting course of the Sabarmati, as well as exemplary hydrography and maritime engineering. [17] This was the earliest known dock found in the world, equipped to berth and service ships. [17] It is speculated that Lothal engineers studied tidal movements, and their effects on brick-built structures, since the walls are of kiln-burnt bricks. [18] This knowledge also enabled them to select Lothal's location in the first place, as the Gulf of Khambhat has the highest tidal amplitude and ships can be sluiced through flow tides in the river estuary. [18] The engineers built a trapezoidal structure, with north-south arms of average 21.8 metres (71.5 ft), and east-west arms of 37 metres (121 ft). [18]

Excavations at Golbai Sasan in Odisha have shown a Neolithic culture dating to as early as ca. 2300 BC, followed by a Chalcolithic (copper age) culture and then an Iron Age culture starting around 900 BC. Tools found at this site indicate boat building, perhaps for coastal trade. [19] Fish bones, fishing hooks, barbed spears and harpoons show that fishing was an important part of the economy. [20] Some artefacts of the Chalcolithic period are similar to artefacts found in Vietnam, indicating possible contact with Indochina at a very early period. [19]

Indian cartography locates the Pole star, and other constellations of use in navigational charts. [21] These charts may have been in use by the beginning of the Common Era for purposes of navigation. [21] Detailed maps of considerable length describing the locations of settlements, sea shores, rivers, and mountains were also made. [22] The Periplus Maris Erythraei mentions a time when sea trade between India and Egypt did not involve direct sailings. [23] The cargo under these situations was shipped to Aden: [23]

Eudaimon Arabia was called fortunate, being once a city, when, because ships neither came from India to Egypt nor did those from Egypt dare to go further but only came as far as this place, it received the cargoes from both, just as Alexandria receives goods brought from outside and from Egypt.

It should be mentioned here that Tamil Pandya embassies were received by Augustus Caesar and Roman historians mention a total of four embassies from the Tamil country. Pliny famously mentions the expenditure of one million sestertii every year on goods such as pepper, fine cloth and gems from the southern coasts of India. He also mentions 10,000 horses shipped to this region each year. Tamil and southern Sanskrit name inscriptions have been found in Luxor in Egypt. In turn Tamil literature from the Classical period mentions foreign ships arriving for trade and paying in gold for products.

The first clear mention of a navy occurs in the mythological epic Mahabharata. [24] Historically, however, the first attested attempt to organise a navy in India, as described by Megasthenes (c. 350—290 BCE), is attributed to Chandragupta Maurya (reign 322—298 BCE). [24] The Mauryan empire (322–185 BCE) navy continued till the times of emperor Ashoka (reign 273—32 BCE), who used it to send massive diplomatic missions to Greece, Syria, Egypt, Cyrene, Macedonia and Epirus. [24] Following nomadic interference in Siberia—one of the sources for India's bullion—India diverted its attention to the Malay peninsula, which became its new source for gold and was soon exposed to the world via a series of maritime trade routes. [25] The period under the Mauryan empire also witnessed various other regions of the world engage increasingly in the Indian Ocean maritime voyages. [25]

According to the historian Strabo (II.5.12.) the Roman trade with India trade initiated by Eudoxus of Cyzicus in 130 BCE kept increasing. [3] Indian ships sailed to Egypt as the thriving maritime routes of Southern Asia were not under the control of a single power. [26] In India, the ports of Barbaricum (modern Karachi), Barygaza, Muziris, Korkai, Kaveripattinam and Arikamedu on the southern tip of India were the main centres of this trade. [27] The Periplus Maris Erythraei describes Greco—Roman merchants selling in Barbaricum "thin clothing, figured linens, topaz, coral, storax, frankincense, vessels of glass, silver and gold plate, and a little wine" in exchange for "costus, bdellium, lycium, nard, turquoise, lapis lazuli, Seric skins, cotton cloth, silk yarn, and indigo". [27] In Barygaza, they would buy wheat, rice, sesame oil, cotton and cloth. [27]

The Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum was involved in the Indian Ocean trade network and was influenced by Roman culture and Indian architecture. [7] Traces of Indian influences are visible in Roman works of silver and ivory, or in Egyptian cotton and silk fabrics used for sale in Europe. [6] The Indian presence in Alexandria may have influenced the culture but little is known about the manner of this influence. [6] Clement of Alexandria mentions the Buddha in his writings and other Indian religions find mentions in other texts of the period. [6] The Indians were present in Alexandria [6] and Christian and Jewish settlers from Rome continued to live in India long after the fall of the Roman Empire, [7] which resulted in Rome's loss of the Red Sea ports, [8] previously used to secure trade with India by the Greco—Roman world since the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty. [9]

During this period, Hindu and Buddhist religious establishments of Southeast Asia came to be associated with economic activity and commerce as patrons entrusted large funds which would later be used to benefit local economy by estate management, craftsmanship and promotion of trading activities. [30] Buddhism, in particular, travelled alongside the maritime trade, promoting coinage, art and literacy. [31] This route caused the intermixing of many artistic and cultural influences, Hellenistic, Iranian, Indian and Chinese, Greco-Buddhist art represents one such vivid examples of this interaction. [32] Buddha was first depicted as human in the Kushan period with intermixing of Greek and Indian elements, and the influence of this Greco-Buddhist art can be found in later Buddhist art in China and throughout countries on the Silk Road. [33] Ashoka and after him his successors of Kalinga, Pallava and Chola empires along with their vassals Pandya and Chera dynasties, as well as Vijayanagra empire all played a vital role in expanding Indianisation, extending Indian maritime trade and growth of Hinduism and Buddhism. Port of Kollam is an example of important trade port in Maritime Silk Route.

Maritime Silk Route, which flourished between the 2nd century BC and 15th century AD connected China, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Arabian peninsula, Somalia, Egypt and Europe. [34] Despite its association with China in recent centuries, the Maritime Silk Route was primarily established and operated by Austronesian sailors in Southeast Asia, Tamil merchants in India and Southeast Asia, Greco-Roman merchants in East Africa, India, Ceylon and Indochina, and by Persian and Arab traders in the Arabian Sea and beyond. [35] Prior to the 10th century, the route was primarily used by Southeast Asian traders, although Tamil and Persian traders also sailed them. [35] For most of its history, Austronesian thalassocracies controlled the flow of the Maritime Silk Road, especially the polities around the straits of Malacca and Bangka, the Malay peninsula, and the Mekong delta although Chinese records misidentified these kingdoms as being "Indian" due to the Indianization of these regions. [35] The route was influential in the early spread of Hinduism and Buddhism to the east. [36] The Maritime Silk Road developed from the earlier Austronesian spice trade networks of Islander Southeast Asians with Sri Lanka and Southern India (established 1000 to 600 BCE). [37] [38]

Kalinga (in 3rd century BCE was annexed by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka) and Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1646) also established footholds in Malaya, Sumatra and Western Java. [39] Maritime history of Odisha, known as Kalinga in ancient times, started before 350 BC according to early sources. The people of this region of eastern India along the coast of the Bay of Bengal sailed up and down the Indian coast, and travelled to Indo China and throughout Maritime Southeast Asia, introducing elements of their culture to the people with whom they traded. The 6th century Manjusrimulakalpa mentions the Bay of Bengal as 'Kalingodra' and historically the Bay of Bengal has been called 'Kalinga Sagara' (both Kalingodra and Kalinga Sagara mean Kalinga Sea), indicating the importance of Kalinga in the maritime trade. [40] The old traditions are still celebrated in the annual Bali Jatra, or Boita Bandana festival held for five days in October/November. [41]

Textiles from India were in demand in Egypt, East Africa, and the Mediterranean between the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, and these regions became overseas markets for Indian exports. [25] In Java and Borneo, the introduction of Indian culture created a demand for aromatics, and trading posts here later served Chinese and Arab markets. [10] The Periplus Maris Erythraei names several Indian ports from where large ships sailed in an easterly direction to Chryse. [42] Products from the Maluku Islands that were shipped across the ports of Arabia to the Near East passed through the ports of India and Sri Lanka. [43] After reaching either the Indian or the Sri Lankan ports, products were sometimes shipped to East Africa, where they were used for a variety of purposes including burial rites. [43]

Indian spice exports find mention in the works of Ibn Khurdadhbeh (850), al-Ghafiqi (1150 CE), Ishak bin Imaran (907) and Al Kalkashandi (14th century). [43] Chinese traveler Xuanzang mentions the town of Puri where "merchants depart for distant countries." [44] The Abbasid caliphate (750–1258 CE) used Alexandria, Damietta, Aden and Siraf as entry ports to India and China. [45] Merchants arriving from India in the port city of Aden paid tribute in form of musk, camphor, ambergris and sandalwood to Ibn Ziyad, the sultan of Yemen. [45]

The Chola dynasty (200—1279) reached the peak of its influence and power during the medieval period. [46] Emperors Rajaraja Chola I (reigned 985-1014) and Rajendra Chola I (reigned 1012-1044) extended the Chola kingdom beyond the traditional limits. [47] At its peak, the Chola Empire stretched from the island of Sri Lanka in the south to the Godavari basin in the north. [48] The kingdoms along the east coast of India up to the river Ganges acknowledged Chola suzerainty. [49] Chola navies invaded and conquered Srivijaya and Srivijaya was the largest empire in Maritime Southeast Asia. [50] Goods and ideas from India began to play a major role in the "Indianization" of the wider world from this period. [51] The Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia. [52] Towards the end of the 9th century, southern India had developed extensive maritime and commercial activity. [53] [54] The Cholas, being in possession of parts of both the west and the east coasts of peninsular India, were at the forefront of these ventures. [55] [56] [57] The Tang dynasty (618–907) of China, the Srivijaya empire in Maritime Southeast Asia under the Sailendras, and the Abbasid caliphate at Baghdad were the main trading partners. [58]

Srivijaya empire, an Indianised Hindu-Buddhist empire founded at Palembang in 682 CE as indicated in Tang records, rose to dominate the trade in the region around the straits and the South China Sea emporium by controlling the trade in luxury aromatics and Buddhist artifacts from West Asia to a thriving Tang market. [35] ( p12 ) Chinese records also indicate that the early Chinese Buddhist pilgrims to South Asia booked passage with the Austronesian ships that traded in Chinese ports. Books written by Chinese monks like Wan Chen and Hui-Lin contain detailed accounts of the large trading vessels from Southeast Asia dating back to at least the 3rd century CE. [59]

One of the Pandya empire (3rd century BCE to 14th century CE) ruler Parantaka Nedumjadaiyan (765–790) and the Chera dynasty (absorbed into the Pandya political system by 10th/11th century AD) were a close ally of the Pallavas (275 CE to 897 CE). [60] Pallavamalla Nadivarman defeated the Pandya Varaguna with the help of a Chera king. [60] Cultural contacts between the Pallava court and the Chera country were common. [60] Eventually, Cheras dynasty were subsumed by Pandya dynasty, which in turn was subsumed by the Pallava dynasty.

Kollam (also called Quilon or Desinganadu's) in coastal Kerala become operational in AD.825, [61] and has a high commercial reputation since the days of the Phoenicians and Romans, [62] The ruler of Kollam (who were vassals of Pandya dynasty who in turn later became vassals of Chola dynasty) also used to exchange the embassies with Chinese rulers and there was flourishing Chinese settlement at Kollam. [63] The Indian commercial connection with Southeast Asia proved vital to the merchants of Arabia and Persia between the 7th and 8th centuries CE, [10] and merchant Sulaiman of Siraf in Persia (9th Century) found Kollam to be the only port in India, touched by the huge Chinese junks, on his way from Carton of Persian Gulf. [63] Marco Polo, the great Venitian traveller, who was in Chinese service under Kublakhan in 1275, visited Kollam and other towns on the west coast, in his capacity as a Chinese mandarin. [63] Fed by the Chinese trade, port of Kollam was also mentioned by Ibn Battuta in the 14th century as one of the five Indian ports he had seen in the course of his travels during twenty-four years. [64]

Growth and development of agriculture in Kerala hinterlands brought about plentiful availability of surplus. The excess agricultural crops and grains were bartered for other necessities in angadis or trading centres, turning the ports to cities. Traders used coins especially in foreign trade to export spices, muslin, cotton, pearls and precious stones to countries of the west and received the wine, olive oil, amphora and terracotta pots from there. Egyptian dinars and Venetian ducats (1284-1797) were in great demand in medieval Kerala’s international trade.

The Arabs and the Chinese were important trade partners of medieval Kerala. Arab trade and navigation attained a new enthusiasm since the birth and spread of Islam. Four gold coins of Umayyad Caliphate (665-750 CE) found in Kothamangalam testifies the visit of Arab traders to Kerala in that period. With the formation of Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258 CE) the Golden Age of Islam began and trade flourished as the religion was favorably disposed towards trade. Ninth century on wards the Arab trade to Malabar was raised to new esteems and saw many outposts of Muslim merchants. This, later on, became a strong element of Kerala Maritime History.

The Trade with Malabar resulted in the drainage of Chinese gold in abundance that the Song dynasty (1127-1279) prohibited the use of gold, silver and bronze in foreign trade in 1219 and silk fabrics and porcelain was ordered to be bartered against foreign goods. Pepper, coconut, fish, betel nuts, etc were exported from Malabar in exchange for gold, silver, colored satin, blue and white porcelain, musk, quicksilver and camphor from China

Ma Huan (1413–51) reached Cochin and noted that Indian coins, known as fanam, were issued in Cochin and weighed a total of one fen and one li according to the Chinese standards. [65] They were of fine quality and could be exchanged in China for 15 silver coins of four-li weight each. [65] [ unreliable source? ]

On the orders of Manuel I of Portugal, four vessels under the command of navigator Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, continuing to Malindi on the eastern coast of Africa, from there to sail across the Indian Ocean to Calicut. [13] Christian missionaries traveling with trade, such as Saint Francis Xavier, were instrumental in the spread of Christianity in the East. [66]

The first Dutch expedition left from Amsterdam (April 1595) for South East Asia. [67] Another Dutch convoy sailed in 1598 and returned one year later with 600,000 pounds of spices and other Indian products. [67] The United East India Company forged alliances with the principal producers of cloves and nutmeg. [67]

Shivaji Bhonsle (reign 1664—1680) maintained a navy under the charge of general Kanhoji Angre (served 1698—1729). [68] The initial advances of the Portuguese were checked by this navy, which also effectively relieved the traffic and commerce in India's west coast of Portuguese threat. [68] The Maratha navy also checked the English East India Company, until the navy itself underwent a decline due to the policies of general Nanasaheb (reign 1740 – 1761). [69]

Baba Makhan Shah Labana, a noted Sikh of the 17th century is known for trade in sea route to Gulf and Mediterranean region.

The British East India Company shipped substantial quantities of spices during the early 17th century. [67] Rajesh Kadian (2006) examines the history of the British navy in as the British Raj was established in India: [70]

In 1830 ships of the British East India Company were designated as the Indian navy. However, in 1863, it was disbanded when Britain's Royal Navy took control of the Indian Ocean. About thirty years later, the few small Indian naval units were called the Royal Indian Marine (RIM). In the wake of World War I, Britain, exhausted in manpower and resources, opted for expansion of the RIM. Consequently, on 2 October 1934, the RIM was reincarnated as the Royal Indian Navy (RIN).

The Indian rulers weakened with the advent of the European powers. [39] Shipbuilders, however, continued to build ships capable of carrying 800 to 1,000 tons. [39] The shipbuilders at the Bombay Dockyard built ships like HMS Hindostan and HMS Ceylon, inducted into the Royal Navy. [39] The historical ships made by Indian shipbuilders included HMS Asia (commanded by Edward Codrington during the Battle of Navarino in 1827), the frigate HMS Cornwallis (onboard which the Treaty of Nanking was signed in 1842), and HMS Minden (on which The Star Spangled Banner was composed by Francis Scott Key). [39] David Arnold examines the role of Indian shipbuilders during the British Raj: [71]

Shipbuilding was a well-established craft at numerous points along the Indian coastline long before the arrival of the Europeans and was a significant factor in the high level of Indian maritime activity in the Indian Ocean region. As with cotton textiles, European trade was initially a stimulus to Indian shipbuilding: vessels built in ports like Masulipatam and Surat from Indian hardwoods by local craftsmen were cheaper and tougher than their European counterparts.

Between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries Indian shipyards produced a series of vessels incorporating these hybrid features. A large proportion of them were built in Bombay, where the Company had established a small shipyard. In 1736 Parsi carpenters were brought in from Surat to work there and, when their European supervisor died, one of the carpenters, Lowji Nuserwanji Wadia, was appointed Master Builder in his place.

Wadia oversaw the construction of thirty-five ships, twenty-one of them for the Company. Following his death in 1774, his sons took charge of the shipyard and between them built a further thirty ships over the next sixteen years. The Britannia, a ship of 749 tons launched in 1778, so impressed the Court of Directors when it reached Britain that several new ships were commissioned from Bombay, some of which later passed into the hands of the Royal Navy. In all, between 1736 and 1821, 159 ships of over 100 tons were built at Bombay, including 15 of over 1,000 tons. Ships constructed at Bombay in its heyday were said to be ‘vastly superior to anything built anywhere else in the world’.

Military Edit

In 1947, the Republic of India’s navy consisted of 33 ships, and 538 officers to secure a coastline of more than 4,660 miles (7,500 km) and 1,280 islands. [70] The Indian navy conducted annual Joint Exercises with other Commonwealth navies throughout the 1950s. [70] The navy saw action during various of the country's wars, including Indian integration of Junagadh, [72] the liberation of Goa, [73] the 1965 war, and the 1971 war. [74] Following difficulty in obtaining spare parts from the Soviet Union, India also embarked upon a massive indigenous naval designing and production programme aimed at manufacturing destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and submarines. [70]

India's Coast Guard Act was passed in August 1978. [70] The Indian Coast Guard participated in counter terrorism operations such as Operation Cactus. [70] During contemporary times the Indian navy was commissioned in several United Nations peacekeeping missions. [70] The navy also repatriated Indian nationals from Kuwait during the first Gulf War. [70] Rajesh Kadian (2006) holds that: "During the Kargil War (1999), the aggressive posture adopted by the navy played a role in convincing Islamabad and Washington that a larger conflict loomed unless Pakistan withdrew from the heights.". [70]

As a result of the growing strategic ties with the western world the Indian navy has conducted joint exercises with its western counterparts, including the United States Navy, and has obtained latest naval equipment from its western allies. [70] Better relations with the United States of America and Israel have led to joint patrolling of the Straits of Malacca. [70]

Civil Edit

The following table gives the detailed data about the major ports of India for the financial year 2005–06 and percentage growth over 2004–05 (Source: Indian Ports Association):


Australian Aboriginal people carry the DNA of an unknown human relative

As a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, this site may earn from qualifying purchases. We may also earn commissions on purchases from other retail websites.

New research has revealed fascinating details about Aboriginal Australians and Pacific Islanders, who according to experts, carry the genetic material of an unknown human species.

The new research suggests people from Papua New Guinea and northeast Australia have traces of DNA belonging to an unidentified, extinct human species.

Apparently, there is still much that geneticists and scientists do not understand about this crucial moment in human history, and it seems that research on the subject is raising more questions than answers.

In 2016, researchers at Harvard Medical School published the findings of a comprehensive study of the human genome of all areas of the world and discovered something astounding about the Australian aboriginal population.

They appear to have genetic markers that indicate they are descendants of a yet unidentified human species.

“We’re missing a population, or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” Ryan Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas, told Tina Hesman Saey at Science News.

Bohlender and his colleagues have been researching the amount of extinct hominid DNA that modern humans still carry today. To the surprise of many, they say they’ve found discrepancies in previous studies that suggest our mingling with Neanderthals and Denisovans isn’t the entire evolutionary story.

“Who this unknown group is we don’t know.”

It’s believed that between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago, our ancestors migrated out of Africa, making contact with other hominid species inhabiting the Eurasian landmass. Experts believe that this contact left a mark on our species that is still present today.

“Our main goal is to understand how our race got to the point where it is, but in order to do that, we must first study the DNA of the ancient tribes,” explained Mallick Swapan, leading scientist of the study, and an expert who has been studying the origins of the human genome for most of his career.

He explained that the new study gathered the genetic data of 142 different human populations scattered around the world that was underrepresented in large-scale studies so far.

According to Swapan, the most incredible revelation of this new study is that the genetic code of the Australian aborigines shows that they carry the DNA markers that indicate the ancient crossbred with an unknown “human” species.

Although it was initially suspected that unusual DNA markers might indicate that Aboriginal ancestors interbred with the elusive ancient species known as Denisovans, this hypothesis turned out to be incorrect.

After the analysis, scientists discovered that DNA markers were distinct from Denisovan markers, leading them to the conclusion that they had found traces of an entirely new form of ancient human species.

It is known that the native peoples of Australia are descendants of the first people who came to the continent from Africa about 50,000 years ago.

It has been assumed that aborigines were isolated from the rest of the world for thousands of years and therefore scientists thought that their genetic code would be relatively homogeneous.

Surprisingly, this turned out not to be the case.

“The genetic signatures of an Australian Aboriginal from eastern Australia and Western Australia are as different as those of a person from Europe and an Asian person,” Swapan said.

The incredible diversity in the genetic code of the native peoples of Australia, in addition to the peculiar genetic marker that indicates that they interbred with an unknown human species in the past, indicates that there is still much more to discover about the ancient history of humanity.

More about the Aboriginal people of Australia from the History Channel:


Australasian Science Magazine

An Aboriginal rock painting in Kakadu National Park of an early European ship. Wikimedia Commons, Google Art & Griffith University

When was the remote Australian continent first settled? Where did these ancient Australians come from? Was the island settled once, or on multiple occasions? Is there a genealogical connection between the Indigenous people of Australia and India?

These are questions I’ve spent almost two decades cogitating, and some of them have been pondered now for almost 400 years by European scholars.

Way back in 1623, while on route through the Torres Strait, the Dutch explorer Jan Carstenz (or Carstenszoon) was the first to write about these issues in describing the physical appearance of Indigenous Australians.

He likened people in the north of the continent to so-called ‘Indians’ of the Coramandel of New Zealand, or Maori people of the North Island.

The descriptor ‘Indian’ was used widely in those days to refer to populations across the New World, and didn’t imply any genealogical relationship with South Asians as such that connection would be made by Thomas Henry Huxley more than two centuries later.

Huxley was by far the most influential early European thinker about human origins. Champion of Darwin’s theory of evolution, as a young man Huxley visited Australia on the HMS Rattlesnake in 1847, 11 years after Darwin came here on the HMS Beagle.

While he showed little interest in anthropology at the time, he would subsequently go on to found human evolution science and strongly shape Darwin’s ideas about our origins.

In 1870, in On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind, Huxley proposed that Indigenous Australians were closely related to the people of South Asia, confidently asserting:

‘the only people out of Australia who present the chief characteristics of the Australians in a well-marked form are the so-called hill-tribes who inhabit the interior of the Dekhan, in Hindostan.’

While based on speculation, rather remarkably, I think, his ideas would come to be influential up until the 1970s only to be rekindled by geneticists in 1999.

One physical anthropologist who was especially infleunced by Huxley’s musing was Joseph Birdsell. He worked in Australia from the 1940s, writing about the continent’s Indigenous people until his death in the 1990s.

Birdsell developed a model for the peopling of Australia proposing settlement in three waves with people coming from Southeast Asia, followed by more people from Japan, and later from India modern Indigenous people being a kind of mix of the three groups.

His model has been long discredited among anthropologists because it finds no support in fossilised human remains - the only physical evidence we have for the earliest people in Australia.

Moreover, his intellectual contemporary and rival, Andrew Abbie, failed to confirm Birdsell’s ideas during the extensive anthropological surveys he undertook with living Indigenous people across the continent.

Enter the geneticists Alan Redd and Mark Stoneking who in 1999 took a leaf out of Huxley’s writing and published evidence for a maternal genetic connection between Australia and India.

To bolster their ideas, they linked their findings to events seen in the archaeological record, especially the arrival of the dingo, as well as perceived language similarities and even Birdsell’s ideas about migration.

Redd and Stoneking suggested that people from India arrived in northern Australia sometime around three and a half thousand years ago and left a major genetic and cultural legacy with the Indigenous people of the Northern Territory today.

Their work deeply divided both the anthropological and genetic communities, opening old wounds and reviving discredited theories.

Some archaeologists had argued in the 1970s and 1980s that there was indeed a sudden change in the kinds of tools being made in northern Australia - known as the ‘Small Tool Tradition’ or ‘Backed Blades’ - broadly coincident with the arrival of the dog, and indicating the arrival of a new people.

Yet, Backed Blades were later shown to be present in archaeological deposits near Sydney dating back to about 8 thousand years old and in northern Queensland to around 15 thousand years old. The contradictory evidence was overlooked by Redd and Stoneking.

Their work was followed by more genetic studies supporting the hypothesis and a range of others seemingly rejecting it.

Then last month, the latest salvo against the India connection was launched and, I must confess, I may have greeted it a little too enthusiastically.

The work, led by Anders Bergström of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and published in Current Biology, fully sequenced and compared globally the Y-chromosomes of 13 Aboriginal Australian men.

In a nutshell, their study found that Aboriginal men are descended from early modern human populations identified as living broadly across East Asia by at least 60 thousand years ago.

A subset of these people migrated to New Guinea and Australia, settling these areas by about 55 thousand years ago, according to genetic clocks.

The research has confirmed a large number of other genetic studies showing that soon after Australia was peopled, Indigenous New Guineans and Australians became isolated from each other, except in a few places in the north like the Torres Strait.

A very ancient origin for Indigenous Australians is also supported by the human fossil and archaeological records showing an arrival at least 40-50 thousand years ago or more.

Even Redd and Stoneking and their subsequent supporters all agreed on these points.

Australia was also, according to last month’s research, peopled once, and only once, before Europeans came by the boat load from 1788. No signs of Indian gene flow here contrary to Redd and Stoneking’s ideas.

Yes, there was certainly trade and contact with the outside world, such as with the Macassans from Sulawesi beginning in the 1600s. But it seems for the most part not to have left a genetic footprint among living Aboriginal people.

Now, all of this leaves really only the geneticists arguing over the India connection, and they seem to be coming at the question from quite different angles despite using very similar kinds of evidence.

Why such strong disagreement? I think the simplest explanation is that we don’t yet have enough data to provide a clear answer, from the DNA or human fossil remains. Archaeology is clearly very important, but not the full picture.

Aboriginal Australians have without doubt been living here for tens of thousand of years, but whether they were completely (genetically) isolated until 1788 is not yet certain.

What about the dingo? The latest genetic research suggests it may have come from New Guinea or even directly from Taiwan by Austronesian speaking people, with no indications of India ancestry whatsoever.

The burden of proof lies with those proposing the idea of a link between some Indigenous Australians and far away India, because the alternative view is the one that receives support from other kinds of evidence.

Also, I think it’s way too easy to ‘cherry-pick’ the physical anthropology, linguistic and archaeological literature, as geneticists are prone to doing, when the picture emerging from all these areas of research is much more complicated than most geneticists would concede.

Still, we’ve come a long way since Huxley’s insightful speculation, and who know’s whether he’ll ultimately be proved right.

Disclosure

Darren Curnoe receives funding from the Australian Research Council.


DNA Study Finds Aboriginal Australians World’s Oldest Civilization

The newly published paper is the first extensive DNA study of Aboriginal Australians, according to the University of Cambridge. Working in close collaboration with indigenous Australian elders and leaders, an international team of researchers obtained permission to extract DNA from the saliva of 83 Aboriginal Australians and 25 Papuans from New Guinea and sequence their complete genetic information.

Credit: Pete Turner/Getty Images

While some scholars have theorized that indigenous Australians descended from a separate, earlier migration than that of Eurasian people, the study’s authors report that the majority of non-Africans stem from a single ancestral group of migrants who left Africa approximately 72,000 years ago and eventually spread across the other continents. While European and Asian ancestral groups became distinct in the genetic record around 42,000 years ago, the researchers say that occurred even earlier𠅊pproximately 58,000 years ago—in the case of indigenous Papuan and Australian ancestral groups as they ventured eastward.

“Our results suggest that, rather than having left in a separate wave, most of the genomes of Papuans and Aboriginal Australians can be traced back to a single ‘Out of Africa’ event which led to modern worldwide populations,” said Manjinder Sandhu, a senior author from the Sanger Institute and University of Cambridge, in a statement released by the university. “There may have been other migrations, but the evidence so far points to one exit event.”

Around 50,000 years ago, the wave of migration reached Sahul, a prehistoric supercontinent composed of present-day Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea prior to their separation by rising sea levels 10,000 years ago. At that time, according to the study’s authors, Aboriginal Australians became genetically isolated, making it the world’s oldest civilization.

Aboriginal hunter in the Australian Outback. (Credit: Grant Faint/Getty Images)

The study also found that Aboriginal Australians and Papuans diverged from each other about 37,000 years ago, although the reason is unclear because the water separation between New Guinea and Australia had yet to be completed. The researchers theorize the break could have been attributed to early flooding of the Carpentaria Basin that left Australia connected to New Guinea by only a narrow, impassable strip of land. By 31,000 years ago, Aboriginal Australian communities became genetically isolated and started to diverge greatly from one another, likely due to the development of the inhospitable desert in the interior of the continent.

“The genetic diversity among Aboriginal Australians is amazing,” said Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, one of the lead authors and an assistant professor at the Universities of Copenhagen and Bern. �use the continent has been populated for such a long time, we find that groups from southwestern Australia are genetically more different from northeastern Australia, than, for example, Native Americans are from Siberians.”

Scholars have long been flummoxed as to why the language spoken by 90 percent of Australia’s Aborigines is relatively young𠅊pproximately 4,000 years old according to language experts—if their ancestors had occupied the continent so much earlier. One possible answer has been that a second migration into Australia by people speaking this language occurred around 4,000 years ago. The authors of the new study, however, say a previously unidentified internal dispersal of Aborigines that swept from the northeast across Australia around that time led to the linguistic and cultural linking of the continent’s indigenous people. Although they had a sweeping impact on ancient Australian culture, these “ghost-like” migrants mysteriously disappeared from the genetic record.

Credit: Ingetje Tadros/Getty Images

“It’s a really weird scenario,” said evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev, a lead author of the study and a professor at the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen. 𠇊 few immigrants appear in different villages and communities around Australia. They change the way people speak and think then they disappear, like ghosts. And people just carry on living in isolation the same way they always have. This may have happened for religious or cultural reasons that we can only speculate about. But in genetic terms, we have never seen anything like it before.”

One other notable finding from the DNA study is evidence of an “uncharacterized” hominin group that interbred with modern humans as they migrated through southeast Asia on their way to Australia. According to the study, around four percent of the Aboriginal Australian genome comes from this unknown human relative. “We don’t know who these people were, but they were a distant relative of Denisovans (an extinct human species from Siberia), and the Papuan/Australian ancestors probably encountered them close to Sahul,” Willerslev said.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.


Ancient migration: Genes link Australia with India

It was thought the continent had been largely isolated after the first humans arrived about 40,000 years ago until the Europeans moved in in the 1800s.

But DNA from Aboriginal Australians revealed there had been some movement from India during this period.

The researchers believe the Indian migrants may have introduced the dingo to Australia.

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they say that the fossil record suggests the wild dogs arrived in Australia at around the same time.

They also suggest that Indians may have brought stone tools called microliths to their new home.

"For a long time, it has been commonly assumed that following the initial colonization, Australia was largely isolated as there wasn't much evidence of further contact with the outside world," explained Prof Mark Stoneking, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

"It is one of the first dispersals of modern humans - and it did seem a bit of a conundrum that people who got there this early would have been so isolated."

To study the early origins of Australia's population, the team compared genetic material from Aboriginal Australians with DNA from people in New Guinea, South East Asia and India.

By looking at specific locations, called genetic markers, within the DNA sequences, the researchers were able to track the genes to see who was most closely related to whom.

They found an ancient genetic association between New Guineans and Australians, which dates to about 35,000 to 45,000 years ago. At that time, Australia and New Guinea were a single land mass, called Sahul, and this tallies with the period when the first humans arrived.

But the researchers also found a substantial amount of gene flow between India and Australia.

Prof Stoneking said: "We have a pretty clear signal from looking at a large number of genetic markers from all across the genome that there was contact between India and Australia somewhere around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago."

He said the genetic data could not establish the route the Indians would have taken to reach the continent, but it was evidence that Australia was not as cut off as had been assumed.

"Our results show that there were indeed people that made a genetic contribution to Australians from India," Prof Stoneking explained.

The researchers also looked at fossils and other archaeological discoveries that date to this period.

They said changes in tool technology and new animals could possibly be attributed to the new migrants.

Prof Stoneking said: "We don't have direct evidence of any connection, but it strongly suggestive that microliths, dingo and the movement of people were all connected."


URU – Lost Civilization of Australia & Vedic (Indian) Connection

Australian bush man with Vedic (Vaishnavite) Tilak on forehead[/caption]Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands, who are estimated to have migrated from Africa to Asia 70,000 years ago and then from Asia to Australia around 50,000 years ago.

Anthropologists in India reveal that DNA evidence linking Indian tribes to Australian Aboriginal people points to the fact that humans arrived in Australia via a southern coastal route through India.
Aboriginal Australians, also referred to as Aborigines, are people whose ancestors were indigenous to the Australian continent—that is, to mainland Australia or to the island of Tasmania, before British colonisation of the continent began in 1788.

Uru megalithic sites of Australia date back to between 30,000 and 50,000 years, with extensive sites in the central west of New South Wales.
SUN is the most common symbol used in all megaliths erected by Uru people.
These Uruans worshipped Sky-Father & Mother-Earth. In Sanskrit ‘Uru‘ (उरु) means ‘Earth‘. This may be a reference to the ‘Mother-Earth‘ in Uruan culture.
Worshipping earth as mother and Sun as sky god is common in Vedic hinduism.
In Sanskrit ‘Aru‘ (अरु) means the ‘Sun’. From this names like Arun (means Sun) are derived.
One can even arrive an at assumption that the name ‘Australia‘ must be a distorted version of Arustaralalaya (Arus-Taral-Alaya), where ‘Arus‘ (अरुस्) means the ‘Sun’, ‘Taral’ (तरल) means ‘Water’ (route they took to travel from Asia till Australia) and ‘Alaya’ (आलय) means ‘home‘ or a ‘retreat‘.
So, Arustaralalaya or Australia is home of Sun-praying, Water-travelled people.

On 30th October, 1975, Gympie Times published this :

“At Dogun, schoolboy Cliff Brown, 13, found an elephant about 100mm high carved from beige granite. It is thought to be the Hindu God Ganesha.” – The Gympie Times.

On 14th January 2013, BBC News quotes that a genetic research study which has concluded that Australia experienced a wave of migration from India about 4,000 years ago.
It also says that a Genome-wide data substantiates that the Holocene gene flowed from India to Australia.

An Australian Bushman (in top picture) can be seen wearing a Vaishnavaite (U shaped) tilak mark on his forehead, which is still practiced in India.


The Story Untold - The links between Australian Aboriginal and Indian tribes

In Part One of this two-part radio special, originally published in 2014, SBS Executive Producer Kumud Merani examines the links between India and Australia going back thousands of years and how the science of genetics has played a role in casting new light on our ancient ancestors. Click on the audio links to hear the story.

Long before we marked boundaries on the earth, indigenous peoples crossed the continents and sailed the ancient coastlines.

We don’t know exactly what drove them on their journeys, but anthropologists and archaeologists believe these early humans were following migratory herds, looking for richer hunting and fishing grounds, or simply following their curiosity to see what lay beyond the next beach or over the nearest mountain range.

The science of genetics is casting new light on our ancient ancestors like never before – and recent studies are hinting at an ever more complex patchwork of populations and migration routes in our prehistory.

One of the most intriguing histories that geneticists are uncovering is of the waves of first peoples who arrived in Australia.

New research is linking not only the neighbouring peoples of Papua New Guinea and Oceania to Australian Aboriginals but now points to a wave of prehistoric migration to Australia – from India.

The idea of an Indian link to ancient Australia is not altogether new.

Dr Raghvendra Rao is a lead researcher from the Anthropological Survey of India and has been engaged in investigating contact between Indians and Austalia’s first peoples. Physical similarities with indigenous tribes in Southern India and Australian Aboriginal’s were observed and studied in early anthropological studies as far back as the 1870s, researchers then suggested that links between ancient Indians and Australian Aboriginal tribes were based on measurements of the human body.

"This was one of the supports which we were building upon earlier studies in 1856 by Huxley, that there are morphological similarities between Indian and Australian Aboriginal tribes. This also was supported by Anthropometric evidence by Burt Shell. See any Australian Aboriginal photographs… and you see Central Dravidian tribes, you see the facial features are similar.”

However, until a 90-year-old tuft of hair yielded the first complete genome of an Aboriginal Australian in 2011 – there was no real proof.

The 2011 genome study indicated that Australian Aboriginals descend from the first humans to venture beyond Africa more than 60,000 years ago.

The Aboriginal genome also revealed strong genetic links to the neighbouring peoples in modern Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and parts of Oceania.

Then, in 2013, Dr Irina Pugach and Dr Mark Stoneking, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, succeeded in analysing large-scale genotyping data from Aboriginal Australians, New Guineans, and Southeast Asians.

“What we did in this study was to analyse genomic variations so that we are looking at genetic markers across the genome of Australians and other populations.”

The researchers at the Max Plank Institute say they uncovered a common origin for populations in Australia, New Guinea and the Mamanwa in the Philippines, supporting the long-held view that these peoples represent the descendants of an ancient southwards migration out of Africa some 60,000 years ago.

However, what surprised them was substantial gene flow from another wave of people who arrived in Australia, some 4,000 years ago - long after the first Australians settled the continent, and all the evidence places the origins of that influx of people somewhere in the south of today’s India.

Co-author of the research, Irina Pugach estimates that ancient Indians came to Australia around 2,300 BC - approximately 141 generations ago.

She compared the genomes of 344 individuals in Northern Territory, Papua New Guinea, South East Asia - and India. She estimates that the Indians contributed nearly 10% to the Australian Aboriginal genomes.

Co-author of the research, Irina Pugach, estimates that ancient Indians came to Australia around 2,300 BC - approximately 141 generations ago.

For Dr Nitin Saksena, a Geneticist and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, the DNA evidence from a slew of new studies which follow the landmark Max Planck study, support the view of Indian migration to ancient Australia.

One the lineage of the mother the mitochondrial DNA that mother passes to children and that is quite clear- there are two or three studies based on mitochondrial DNA of genes passed from Melanesian, Papua New Guinea and Indians into Australian Aboriginals. Then there is the study of Alan Red in 2010- this is done through the study of Y chromosome which is actually the paternal lineage, and what really happens is that this study of mitochondrial DNA from mother and Y chromosome – both studies point out the relationship between the Australian Aboriginals, Papua New Guinea, Melanesians and also Indians.”

Geneticists in India have also been focusing on the Australia-India link

The Anthropological Survey of India supports a deep genetic link between Indian tribes and Australian Aborigines.

When the Anthropological Survey of India sampled 966 samples of individuals from 26 different modern-day Indian tribes, they found a genetic marker that until recently had only been seen in Australian Aboriginals.

Lead researcher Dr Raghvendra Rao, says maternal DNA passed down from linking mother to daughter over thousands of years reveals telltale genetic evidence of a deep link to Australian Aboriginals:

“Among them what we found was 7 individuals shared a DNA linkage with the Australian Aboriginals that is M 42. M42 is the DNA of Australian Aboriginals published earlier. These 7 individuals came from Austro-Asiatic tribes from Eastern India and also Dravidian tribes from Central India.”

The seven individuals shared the M 42 mitochondrial DNA marker that is prevalent genetic “sign-post” otherwise unique to Australian Aboriginals.

Geneticists now believe that the DNA record has solved another mystery of ancient Australia – the introduction of the Dingo and a sudden spread of sophisticated stone tools across the continent.

Dr Saksena thinks – it might have been the Indians who brought new technology and hunting dogs – that went on to become Australia’s iconic wild canine, the dingo.

“We currently know that the genetic link has been actually dated back through molecular dating to 4,300 years. And during that time we see actually the microlithic tools and the development of other tools for human survival which came into existence and also the fossils of the dingo were discovered at the same time in Australia.”

But not all are convinced

But genetic studies seek to link evidence in the genome to the archaeological record - not all of the scientific community is convinced.

Professor Ian Lilley teaches of Australian-Asian archaeology, Anthropology and Aboriginal studies at Queensland University. He explains the argument that it's not about whether there was a prehistoric influx of Indians to Australia – rather when it happened and if there is any evidence of impact on the indigenous population.

“We know that very ancient people who were the first to settle in Australia had to have come through India at some stage on a journey out of Africa- that was tens of thousands of years ago. This new material says Indigenous Indians were here about four and a half thousand years ago.

"The implications that they hang off this finding caused a bit of bother with Archaeologists. The problem with that is dating so precisely which is just not possible but two- The whole time frame that they discussed depends entirely on how one measures the human generation.”

Professor Lilley believes the geneticists got it wrong when they conclude that people from the Sub Continent arrived some 4,300 years ago based on a calculation of 141 generations of about 30 years.

In his experience, working with tribal societies, a single human generation is more likely to be 15 or 20 years – bringing forward the arrival of the ancient Indians – by at the most - some 2,000 years.

The Story Untold Part 2 - The links between Australian Aboriginal and Indian tribes

Prof Lilley also raises some other concerns.

He says the latest original study was too quick to draw conclusions tying their evidence with the archaeological record of the appearance of more sophisticated stone tool technology about 4,500 years ago.

“The other side which is more of a concern to archaeologists is that they hook an impossibly precise and quite insecure date to what we think we once saw as changes in the archaeological records- so they say the Dingo appeared and stone tools changed all around the time of this proposed movement from India.”

Archaeologists have been debating the causes behind the dramatic change in stone tool technology about 4,500 years ago – and also about who brought the dingo to Australia around the same time.

Prof Lilley believes that the sophistication of stone tools took place out of necessity when hunting became difficult during a period about 4,500 years ago when Paleo-climatic records show Australia’s climate grew particularly hot and dry at that time.

He’s reluctant to tie the spread of stone tools technology to new arrivals from India.

The genetic record now makes it seem certain that the Australian continent has witnessed the ebb and flow of waves of ancient migrations.

And that in the centuries before the modern era – families of people similar to tribes that still survive in southern India, came ashore on the beaches of northern Australia.

Did the newcomers stare in amazement at the kangaroos, the wombats the Emus?

Did the two peoples learn to speak to each other’s - and did they influence each other’s language?

Did they discover the Southern Cross in the night sky? Did the two peoples bind in Spirit or were they divided in their Spiritual beliefs?

In Part Two of the “The Story Untold,” we’re going to look beyond genetics and anthropology to other clues linking India and Australia in language, spirituality - and even tantalising indications that the Australian continent was known to ancient Indians thousands of years before European contact.

We shall also hear voices from the Australian Aboriginal community, and their response to the revelations that genetic research is uncovering.

Transcript of audio feature originally broadcast in 2014.

The Story Untold" was awarded Best Feature of the Year in 2015 NSW Premier Multicultural Media Awards and it was also a finalist as Best Human Interest Story in this year's New York Festivals’ International Radio Program Awards.