Jun 28, 2009

World great Personalities


Here’s a list of some of the world’s great personalities who have made their mark in several areas -

Abdul Rehman Tunku (1903-73) The Malaysian statesman who negotiated with the British for the independence of Malaysia. He was the first Prime Minister of the country.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) The 16th President of the U.s., he succeeded in abolishhing slavery. He was re-elected as President in 1864 and assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865.

Abu-Bakr (9573-634) Abu-Bakr was a leading general of Prophet Mohammed and was the first Caliph of the Muslim empire and ruled from 632 AD. He made Islam a political and military force in Arabia.

Abul Fazal (1561-16020) The author of Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Nama. He was the celebrated Mughal court poet, and Prime Minister during Akbar’s reign.

Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988) also called ‘Frontier Gandhi’ because he organised the people of the North-West Frontier Province (NWEP) of undivided India 9now merged with Pakistan)on Gandhian principles. He was a staunch Congress man who called himself a soldier of the freedom struggle. His admirers called ah him Badshah Khan. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1987.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
The Austrian-born German dictator who influenced the course of history in the 20th century. He served in the German Army inWorld War I. He laer founded the Nazi party and became chancellor in 1933. He pushed the countries of the world into World War II in which five million people lost their lives. In 1939 his troops invaded Poland causing the outbreak of World War II, and in 1945 German faced total defeat. He married his mistress, Eva Braun, in April 1945 and the next day they were said to have committed suicide.

Aesop (600 BC)
The Greek author of Aesop’s Fables which are moral tales with animal protagonists. The famous tale ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ was his creation.

Akbar (1542-1605) the greatest Mughal Emperor of India who reigned from 1556 (see section on ‘ Indian History ‘ ). Alberuni, the famous Arab historian who visited India along with the armies of Mahmud of Ghazni.

Alfonso, de Albuquerque Founder of the Portuguese empire in the east, he conquered Goa in 1510.

Alexander the Great (356-323 BC)
King of Macedonia (Greece), who conquered most of Aisa Minor and defeated Porus (India)in 327 BC. A mutiny in his army prevented him from advancing further into India and he died in 323 BC.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
The scottish-American scientist who invented the telephone in 1876.

Andre Marie Ampere (1775-1836)
A french scientist who formulated Ampere’s Law. The 5.1 unit of electric current is named after him.

Alighieri Dante (1265-1321) Italian poet, author of Divina Commedia, a philosophical poem telling the story of an imaginary journey through Hell. He also wrote love poems which were collected under the title La Vita Nuova.

Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)
The Scottish bacteriologist who discovered pencillin in 1928. He, however could not isolate it. This was later achieved by Florey and Chain with whom he shared the Nobel prize in medicine in 1945.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) One of the most illustrious scientists of the 20th century. He was born in 1879 at Ulma in Germany and completed his education in Switzerland. He made the revolutionary discovery of the Theory of Relativity in 1905, which established his reputation among the physicists of Europe. In 1921 he was awarded the noble prize in physics. He died in USA on April 18,1955.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1802-92)
England’s poet laureate from 1850Â till his death. Author of In Memoriam, a poem of great beauty and depth of thought.

Aladdin Khilji
Ruled north India between 1296-1316. He was the strongest ruler of the Khilji dynasty and during his reign the Muslims progressed towards the narmada river into the Deccan.

Ang Dorjee A Nepalese sherpa, who climbed Mt Everest in 1984 with the first Indian woman Bachendri Pal. He has the distinction of having climbed Mt Everest twice without the use of oxyzen.

Archimedes (287-212 BC) The Greek scientist and mathematician known for his discovery of the unique principle of buoyancy. Also discovered and analysed the principle of lever and invented the Archimedes screw to raise water.

Arthur Holly Compton American scientist noted for his research on x-rays, he won the Nobel prize in 1927.

Aryabhatta (476-520) The Indian astronomer who attended the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. India’s first satellite is named after him.

Ashoka, the Great (264-228 BC) Grandson of Chandragupta, Ashoka was a great empoeror of India. After the battle of Kalinga, he renounced violence and embraced Buddhism.

Aurobindo Ghosh An exponent of Indian nationalism, philosopher, poet and saint. His famous works include Life Divine and Essays on the Gita.

Babur (1483-1530) Founder of the Mughal empire in India, he conquered the throne of Delhi after thefirst battle of panipat and ruled for about four years (1526-1530).

Bana Bhatt
Noted sanskrit scholar and court poet of Harshavardhana who wrote Kadambari and Harsha Charit.

Bahadur Shah Zafar (1807-1862) The last ruler of the Mughal dynasty. He fought against the British in the first war of Indian independence in 1857. After his defeat, the British exiled him to Rangoon.

Bannerjee, W.C. The first President of the Indian National Congress.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee Author of Vande Mataram, the national song of india taken from his work Anand Math. He was a celebrated Bengali novelist.

Bairam Khan He was Akbar’s uncle and also his tutor and was known as Khan-i-Khona.
Bachendri Pal First Indian woman and fifth woman in the world to scale Mt Everest on May 23, 1984 along with two male members Lhatoo Dorjee and Sherpa Sardar Ang Dorjee.
Bartholomew Diaz (1450-1500) A portuguse navigator who was the first European to sail round the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ (the southern tip of the african continent).

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) U.S. statesman who promoted the american Declaration of Independence (1776) and worked on drafting the Coustitution of America.

Begum Akhtar The ghazal queen of India who died in 1974. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan posthumously in 1975.

Bhaskara I
An astronomer of the 7th century, a contemporary of Brahmagupta. India’s second satellite is named after him.

Bhaskara II
Mahematician and astronomer of the 12th century. His name is also associated with India’s third satellite.

Bhagat Singh
A patriot and revolutionary, known as ‘Shahid-e-azam’, who along with Sukh Dev and Raj Guru became a martyr on March 23,1931.

Bhaskaracharya The greatest astronomer who lived in the 12th century. He wrote Sidhanta-Siromani in 1150.

Caption James cook (1728-79) The great British explorer and navigator. He travelled to New Zealand and Eastern Australia from 1768-71 in his ship ‘Endeavour’. On his second voyage he reahed the Antarctica circle and discovered the Hawaiian Island on his third voyage. He also wrote the classic work Voyage Round the World.

Charan singh The Lok Dal leader who was Prime Minister of India in 1979.

Changez Khan The Mongol conqueror who came to India during the reign of IItutmish (1210-36).

Chandergupta II (vikramaditya) A brave emperor of the Gupta dynasty during whose reign art and literature flourished; the era was known as the ‘Golden Age of the Guptas.’
Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) Great British comedian, film actor, director, producer and composer. His wistful Hollywood comedies are loved the world over.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) An English novelist whose famous works include David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1445-1533) A pioneer of the Bhakti movement in Bengali; a devotee of Lord Krishna.

Also known as Kautilya, he was the writer of the famed treatise Arthashastra, a book on statecraft. He was the Prime Minister during Chandragupta Maurya’s reign.

Chandragupta Maurya (321-298 BC) Founder of the Mauryan Dynasty in India, and spread his empire beyond India. Kautilya (Chanakya) was his minister.

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-82)
The British naturalist who put forward his theory of evolution based on natural selection. He studied fossils and diverse plants and animal life during his voyage (1831-36) around south America and the Pacific. His works On the Origin of Species (1859) and Descent of Man (1871), revolutionised man’s knowledge of evolution.

Christian Huygens (1629-16950) Dutch mathematician and physicist renowned for evolving the wave theory of light. He invented the pendulum clock basd on Galileo’s theory (1580). He also discovered the rings of Saturn and its fourth satellite.

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) Italian explorer, the first modern European to discover America in 1492. He reached Bahamas (1492)and discovered Puerto Rico and Jamaica. In 1498-1500 he reached Trinidad and South America.

Chou-en-Lai (1898-1976)
Chinese revolutionary and Prime Minister from 1949-1958, who was instrumental in bringing China into world diplomacy. He played key role in nearly every major political and diplomatic event or crisis involving China till his death in 1976.
Chatrapati shivaji Born in 1627, a military genius, shivaji was the last Hindu King who partly succeeded in establishing ‘Hindu Swaraj.’ He fought many battles against Aurangzeb and was successful in destabilising the Mughal empire in India.

Lord Curzon (1895-1925) Viceroy of India during 1889-1905, he became a prominent figure after the First World War.

Lord Cornwallis (1738-1805) The British statesman who commanded the British Army in South Carolina during the War of American Independence in 1781. He was Governor-General of India for two terms and is well known for his land reforms.
C.F. Andrews A British missionary and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi who came to India in 1904 and devoted himself to India’s freedom struggle. He came to be known as ‘Deena-Bandhu’.

Cleopatra(69-30 BC) Queen of Egypt noted for her beauty. She was daughter of Ptolemy XI of Egypt and succeeded as queen in 51 BC.

Dara Shikho Eldest son of Shahjahan, he was killed by his brother Aurangzeb who usurped their father’s throne.

Dhanvantari An Indian physician who attended the court of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
Dhyan Chand (1905-1979) A great hockey players. He captained the Indian hockey team which won a gold medal in the historic 1936 Berlin Olympics. He scored 101 goals at the Olympic games and 300 goals in other international matches and his record is still unbroken. It earned him the title, ‘Hockey Wizard’.

 Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) Us general and President between 1953 and 1961. In 1950 he was made supreme commander of NATO but resigned when he won the presidential electrions of 1952. He won his second term in 1956.

Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970)
Famous British writer who has written numerous books on India. Author of Where Angels Fear to Tread, A Room with a View, Howard’s End and Passage of India.

Edward Jenner (1749-1823)
The english physician and surgeon who developed the small - poxvaccine.

Epicurus (342-270 BC) A Greek philosopher who founded ‘Epicurean’ philosophy, which describes a life of indulgent pleasure seeking, because it leads to happiness.

Euclid (350-300 BC)
Greek mathematician, his important contribution was the use of deductive principles of logic as the basic of geometry. He propounded many geometrical theorems.

Fa-hien The first Buddhist pilgrim of China to visit India during the reign of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz A revolutionary Urdu poet of Pakistan. He died in 1984.

Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) The Portuguese navigator who crossed the ocean which he named Pacific, reaching the Marianas and the Philippines.

Firdausi APersian poet, well-known for his epic Shahnama.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1920) Also known as the ‘Lady with the lamp.’ She was a devoted British nurse who reformed the nursing profession and was the first woman to receive the Other of Merit (1907).

Francois Bernier The French traveller whon served as physician to Aurangzeb during his stay in India.

Francis Xavier (1506-1552) The Spanish missionary who preached in Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the East and converted thousands to Christianity. He lived in goa between 1540 and 1552.

Frances Marie Arovet de Voltaire ( 1697-1778 ) French writer and philosopher. His philosophy made a significant impact on prevailing ideas which led to the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789.

Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit ( 1686 - 1736 )
German physicist and resident of Holland, he developed the Mercury thermomete in 1714 and later devised its temperature scale.
Galileo ( 1564-1642) The Italian astronomer, who developed the telescope and discovered four satellites of Jupiter, His belief that Copernicus was right to advocate that the sun is the centre of universe led to his persecution, While dying he said ” Bur it earth does move”. He also discovered that the movement of the pendulum produces a regular time measurement. The pendulum clock was later invented by Hoygens.

Gautam Budha ( 563-483 BC)
Founder of Buddhism, born in Lumbini village near Nepal, he was the son of Sudhodana, king of Kapilvastu in Nepal. He renounced the world and later came to be known as the Buddha.

Geoffrey Chaucer ( 1342-1400)
The English poet who is considered the father of English Poetry. His famous works include The Book of Dutches 9 1369) and Canterbury Tales ( a collection of stories)
George Washington ( 1732-1799 ) the American general who led the revolt against the British and declared Ameican independence. He became the first President of USA.

Dr George B, Kisitiakowsky. A chemist and professor at Harvard who worked on the first atomic bomb and later strongly advocated the daimler Moror Company in 1890 which built the first Mercedes.

Govind Ballabh Pant ( 1887-1961)
Veteran Congress leader, he was Chief Minister of UP and later Union Home Minister, He was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1958.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Son of Guru Hargobind, and the ninth Guru of the Sikhs., He was executed by Aurangzeb when he refused to embrace Islam.

Guru Nanak ( 1469 - 1538 ) Founder of the Sikh religion, born in Nankana Sahib, now located in Pakistan; he was a contemporary of the Mughal ruler Akbar.

Guru Gobind Singh ( 1666 - 1708 ) The 10th and the last Guru of the Skh who spent a major part of his life fighting the muslims. He founded the Khalsa the inner council of the Sikhs in 1699. He is said to be the author of Dasam Granth.

Gugeliemo Marconi ( 1874-1937) Italian physicist who invented the radio and wireless system. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Ferdinand Braun of Germany in 1909 for the development of the wireless.

Henry Kissinger US foreign policy advisor, born in Germany, he fled from the Nazis to live in US. Under President Nixon he remained Secretary of State. He helped to negotiate the Vietnam issue ( 1973). He shared the Bonel Prize for Peace ( 1973) along with North Vietnam’s negotiator Le Duc Tho.

Henry Miller ( 1891-1980) Controversial American novelist, author of Tropic of Cancer ( 1931) and Tropic of Capricorn ( 1935) which were published in Paris but banned in US until the ’60s because of their frank sexual themes.

Homer ( 9th century BC )
The Greek poet considered to be the author of the classic epics The lliad and The Odyssey which rank among the most precious treasures in world literature.

Sir Humphry Davy ( 1778 - 1828 ) A renowned British chemist who invented the safety lamp for miners. He also discovered the anaesthetic properties of nitrous oxide ( laughing gas); the fact the chlorine is an element and that diamonds are a form of carbon.

Ibn BatutaÂ
A great scholar and traveller from South Africa who visited India in 1333 AD during the reign of Mohammed Tuglaq and wrote a chronicle on him. He spent eight years in India on his way to China.

Sir isaac Newton( 1642-1727) English mathematician and physicist, famous  for his discovery of the law of Gravitation and three Laws of Motion.

James Prescort Joule ( 1818-89) The British physicist who was the first to measure the mechanical equivalent of heat; unit of which has been named after him.

James Watt ( 1736-1819 ) The Scottish instrument maker who turned to make high pressure steam engines.

Jamshedji Tata ( 1813-1904) Founder of the Tata Iron and Steel Company one of the largest integrated steelworkds in the world. He also founded the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and built the Taj Hotel in Bombay.

Jacques Charles ( 1764-1823 ) A French physicist, known for his Charles Law and Gay-Lussac’s Law of Gases.

Jayaprakash Narayan Also known as ‘ Loknayak’ he formed the Janata Party and defeated the Congress party in 1977. He was conferred the Rashtra Bhushan in 1977.

Jaya Deva Lived in the 12th century and is the author of Gita Govinda. The book is a noble work of lyrical poetry and described the love of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha, their separation and reunion.

John Milton ( 1608-74) English poet.  He wrote a poem in support of free press ‘ Aeropagitica’ ( 1644 ) and essays ‘ Tenure of Kings and Magistrates” ( 1649). His epic poem Paradise Los was published in 10 volumes in 1667 and in 12 volumes in 1674. Paradise Regained and Samson Agonisters were his other major works published in 1671. He was totally blind for a good many years of his life.

John keats ( 1795-1821)
An English poet whose works include La Belle Dame sans marci, Endymion ( A thing of beauty is a joy forever). The Eve of St Agnes and Ode to a Nightingale.

John of Arc ( 1412-31)
French girl, also known as the Maid of Orleans. She led the French resistance that forced the English to raise the siege of Orleans ( 1429) At the age of 17 she led an army of 12,000 to Rheims and persuaded Charles. VII to go there to be crowned as king of France. She was ultimately captured and sold to the English ( 1430) by Burgundians and was burned at the stake in Roven.

John Dalton ( 1766 - 1844) English chemist who postulated the Atomic theory and defined atomic weight. Also famous for Dalton’s law-the pressure of a mixture of gases is the sum of partial pressure of the components of the mixture.

John Logie Baird ( 1888-1946) The Scottish television pioneer, who invented the TV in 1926.

Julius Caesar ( 100-44 BC ) Roman general and statesman who invaded Britain and returned to Rome as a popular hero. He fell in love with Clepatra the Egyptian queen who followed him to Rome. He was given a mandate by the people to rule as Caesar and was worshipped as a god in his lifetime. However, he was murdered by a group of trusted friends led by Brutus.

John F kennedy ( 1917-1963) One of the most popular Presidents of US He was the first Roman Catholic President and the youngest Ameican to be elected to the office of President of the US. He wrote several books; why England Slept and Profile in Courage are his two most famous books. He was assassinated on Nov 23, 1963.

Kabirdas Hindi poet who was one of the gretest exponents of the Bhakti movement, a socia-religious movement. He believed in the equality of all religions and unity of Hindus and Muslims.

Kaka Saheb Kalekar Philosopher and educationist he was Vice Chancellor of Gujarat, University and one of the oldest disciples of Gandhiji. He died on aug 21, 1991 at the age of 96 . He authored more than 120 books in Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi and English.
Kalhana A Kashmiri Poet of the 11th century and author of Rajatarangini the book describes the history of Kashmir up to the 10th century.

Kemal Ataturk ( 1881 - 1938 ) The reformed and builder of modern Turkey
Kanishka The greatest king of Kushan dynasty ( 120-162 AD.) He was a great conqueror but later became a follower of Buddha. He was the only ruler of India whose territory extended up to Central Asia.

Karl Marx ( 1818-83) A German journalist and philosopher who propounded the doctrine of Communism also known as Marxism. He is the author od Das Kapital.

K.M. MunshiÂ
A great writer, educationist and consitutional law expert he played an active role in India’s freedom struggle.

Kublai Khan ( 1216-1294)
A Mongolian emperor who conquered most of Asia. He was the grandson of Chengiz Khan.

Lakshmibai of Jhansi.
 The ruler of Jhansi, she was a great warrior of India and took part in the first war of independence in 1857 ( Indian Mutiny)

Lal Bahadur Shastri ( 1904-1966) Indian statesman, who succeeded Pandit Nehru as the second Prime Minister of India ( 1964-66). He signed the Tashkent Agreement with Ayub Khan, for a ceasefire between India and Pakistan. Also known as ‘ Man of Peace’ He died in Tashkent on January1, 1966 a few hours after he had signed the Indo-Pak accord.

leonardo Da vinci ( 1452-1519). The great Italian painter, sculptor and architect who has been described as a universal genius of the Renaissance. His masterpiece Monalist brought him great fame, The Cena Ultima ( The last Supper ) is also one of his better known paintings. He also excelled as an inventr, mathematician, engineer, naturalist and anatomist, In anatomy, he learnt about the working of the body by dessecting more than 30 corpses. He also created moulds of organs such as the heart, lungs and the womb.

Leo Tolstey ( 1828-1910) A great Russian literary figure. Mahatma Gandhi was greatly influenced by his works which include Anna Karenina, War & Peace, etc.

Leon Trotsky ( 1979-1940)Â Russian revolutionary; one of the leaders of the Bolshevist revolution; he was assassinated in 1940 when he was in exile in Mexico.

Louis Pasteur ( 1822-1895) The French scientist who discovered that germs exist and are the cause of infection. The technique of pasteurising milk is named after him. He also conducted research in areas of hydrophobia, bacteriology, cholera, etc..

Louis Braille ( 1809-1852) French inventor of the Braille system ( raised point lettering) a system of writing and printing for the blind. He himself became blind at the age of 3 and became a teacher for the blind in1828.

Marco Polo ( 1254-1323) The Italian traveller, who was the first European to visit China. He also journeyed to India, and other countries of the Far East and published records of his travels.

Mercus Jonius Brutus ( 85-82 BC) Roman governor and principal assassin of julius Caesar.

Mahakavi Kalidas India’s greatest Hindi poet and dramatist, who lived during the reign of Chandragupta Vikramaditya. His famous works works are Shakuntala, Raghuvansha, Meghdoot and Kumara Sambhava.

Madam Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Madam Curie was the only person to have won two Nobel Prizes. A polish chemist known for her discovery of radium 91898) Along with her husband Pierre Curie, a French scientist, she caried out research in radioactivity and was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903. After her husband’s death she continued her research and in 1911 was awarded the second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of radium and polonium.

Mathew Arnold (1822-1888)
A famous English poet and critic. Some of his famous poems are Sohrab and Rustum and Scholar Gypsy.

Martin Luther King (1929-68)
The Black American Clergyman and civil rights leader. He led the non-voilent movement to obtain full civil rights for American Negroes and was awarded the Noble Prize for Peace in 1964. He was assassinated on April 5,1968 by a white fanatic.

Mahavira (599-527BC) Born in Kundagram near Vaishali (Bihar), he was an apostle of non-voilence, who preached the observance of chastity, penance, contemplation and self-mortification. He achieved enlightenment under a sala tree. Jainism became a major religion under his influence.

Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946) A prominent lawyer of Allahabad, he also founded the Banaras Hindu University. He was a President of Indian National Congress, and an Indian delegate to the Round Table Conference in 1931.

Manu Regarded as the ancient law giver of India and author of Manu Smriti.
Marshal Tito (1892-1980) Ex-President of Yugolavia. He was leader of the partisan forces which fought successfully against German occupation. He was made President of Yugoslavia for life in 1963.

Megasthenes The Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya, who was sent by Seleucus. He wrote a detailed account of India in his work Indica.

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
The British scientist who discovered electromagnetism. He also discovered benzene, liquid gases and optical glass. In 1841 he discovered the induction of electric current which led to the invention of the electric motor. He also contributed to the development of electrolysis.

Mira Behn (1892-1982) An English woman named Madeleine Slade, who became Ghandhiji’s disciple and was dedicated to India and to Ghandhiji’s teachings.

Mohammed Bin tughlaq (1325-1351) Alearned Sultan of Delhi who was well-known for his profound ideas and poor administrative capabilities. He tried to shift his capital from Delhi to Devagiri in Deccan. When he found that his subjects did not approve of the idea, he re-shifted to Delhi.

Mohammed Neguid
The first president of Egypt, he was put under house arrest in 1954 by Abdel Gamel Nasser for 17 years. Later President Anwar Sadat freed him in 1971.

Montessori, Maria (1870-1952) Italian educationist and founder of the montessori system of education that stresses development of a child’s own initiative and natural abilities, especially through practical play and individual guidance rather than through strict control.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1879-1948) Founder of the separate muslim state of pakistan. He was the president of the Muslim League for years and after partition of India, became the first Governor-General of Pakistan in 1947.

Lord Mountbatten
Britain’s supreme Allied Commander in South-East Asia during World War II, he became the last Viceroy of India. He declared India a free nation and became the first Governor-General of independent India.

Munshi Premchand (1880-19370)
A well-known author of Hindi novels and short stories which gave him international fame.

Nargis Dutt First lady of the Indian screen to have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha. She was a recipient of the Padmashri and is well known for her film ‘Mother India’.

Napolean Bonaparte (1769-1821)
French sttesmn, king of Frnce (1769-97), the most brillint generl of his time, he won series of splendid victories against England , Russia and Austria in 1805. He was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 and exiled to St Helena, where he died in 1821.

Nicolus Copernicus (1473-1553) Polish stronomer known for his discovery of the hevenly bodies and his theory that they move round the sun and that the sun is the centre of the universe.

Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1658) A follower of Joseph Stalin.When Stalin died he became the first secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and was Prime Minister during 1958-64. He died in 1971.

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) The English soldier and statesman who established a commonwealth in Britain nd became its haed with the title ‘Loed Protector’. He ruled the country for five years between 1653 and 1658.

Panini Well known Hindu sage and Sanskrit grammarain, he belonged to the Vedic era and authored Ashtadhyayi.

Porus A Hindu king of Punjab, who fought against the Greek invader, Alexander, when the latter invaded India and nearly defeated him. Alexander admired his gallantry and returned his kingdom to him.

Pulakesin II (608-642 A.D.) The most powerful ruler of the Chalukyan dynasty that ruled the Deccan.

Pythagoras (582-500 BC)
A Greek philosopher, theologian and mathematician (especially geometry). Though his famous theorem was previously known, he was the first to prove its universal validity.

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603)
Queen Elizabeth I of England (1558-1603) was the daughter of Henry VIII. Her reign saw the thought provoking development of literature, William Shakespeare lived during her time.

Ranjit Singhji (1780-1839) A Sikh prince of Punjab, he captured lahore in 1799 and proclaimed himself Maharaja. He wrested control of Punjab from the Afghans and Pathans and earned the title Lion of Punjab.

Raja Rammohan Roy (1774-18330)
The social reformer who tried to eradicate sati, pardah and child marriage; also advocated widow re-marriage and women’s education. He was the founder of the ‘Brahmo Samaj’.

Rabindranath Tagore Noble Prize winners

Rene Franck President of the International Hockey Federation for 17 years. He died in 1983.

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (1811-1899) A German scientist who invented the Bunsen burner.

Robert Boyle (1627-1691)
An Irish chemist, famous for his Boyle’s Law of Gases.

Robert Clive (1725-1774)
He came to India as a clerk in the East India company. He became commander-in-Chief and fought against the French in India. He defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey in 1757. Later he ruled India as Governor (1765) and ultimately committed suicide in 1774.

Roger Bacon (1214-94) English scientist, encyclopaedist, philosopher and invertor of the magnifying glass and gunpowder.

Rudolf Diesel (1858-1931) A German engineer who invented the diesel engine in 1893.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer, whose famous works include: Tales From the Hills, The Light That Failed, Jungle Book, Barrack Room Ballads, Kim, Just-so Stories, puck of Pook’s Hill. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 which he later returned.

Sarojini Naidu (1879-1948) Also called the ‘Nightingale of India’, she was a great poetess in the English language. She partucipated in India’s freedom struggle and became president of the Indian National Congress in 1925 and the first woman governor of a state (UP).

Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883) Founder of the Arya Samaj and author of Satyarth Prakash. He is well-known for his opposition of various social taboos.

Samudragupta (330-375 AD) Son and successor of Chandragupta I; a powerful and able Hindu king, he was also known as ‘India’s Napolean.’

Shahjahan (1592-1666)
Moghul emperor of India, brought the Moghul empire to its golden age. A great patron of art, architecture and literature, he built the Taj Mahal, in memory of his beloved Mumtaz Mahal. He was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in Agra.

Shankaracharya (born 788 Ad)
One of the greatest Hindu reformers who revived the Hindu religion and successfully threw back the tide of Budbism and Jainism. He was a founder of the Advaitic philosophy.

Sher Shah Suri
Ruled India between 1540 and 1545. The first Muslim king who paid special attention to administrative reforms. The Grand Trunk Road was constructed during his rule. He also introduced currency in India.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) A renowned Austrian psychologist who developed the theory of psychoanalysis. He published The Interpretation of dreams and The Ego and the Id.

Sir Syed Ahmed (1817-1898) An educationist and reformer of the Muslim community in India. He established the M.A.O. College at Aligarh in 1975 which later became the Aligarh Muslim University.

Sohrab Modi The Grand Old Man of Indian Cinema and winner of the Dada saheb Phalke Award in 1978, he produced India’s first technicolour film Jhansi Ki Rani in the early ’50s. Another film, Mirza Ghalib, was the first Hindi film to receive the President’s Gold Medal In 1955. He died In 1984.

Stalin (1879-1953)
Soviet statesman and architect of the former USSR, he became premier in 1941 and triumphed as a leader during World War II. An active revolutionary leader from the age of 17, he took part in the civil war and rose to become an outstanding figure in soviet Russia

Sunga Pushyamitra Brahmin commander-in-chief of the last Mauryan King Brihadratha. He killed his master and founded the Sunga dynasty.
S.S. Bhatnagar (1894-1955) An Indian scientist remembered for his outstanding work as an administrator.

Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925)
The founder and the first president of the Chinese republic in 1912. In 1905 Sun Yat Sen founded the China Revolutionary League in Europe and Japan and played a prominent part in the revolution of 1911.

Tansen A great exponent of Indian classical music. He was one of the nine gems in the court of Akbar.

Tantiya Tope One of the heroes of the War of Indian independence in 1857, he was a brave Commander of Nana Sahib’s forces.

Tarabai of Gwalior resisted the attempts of Lord Ellenborough to annex Gwalior. She was the thirteen-year old widow of Jankoji Scindia who died in Feb.1843.

Tenzing Norgay Indian mountaineer; the first to conquer Mt Everest on May 29, 1953 along with Sir Edmund Hillary. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1959.

Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) Us born inventor with more than 1300 US and foreign patents to his credit for his inventions; most of them concerned with electricity. Some of his important inventions are: The incandescent lamps, phonograph (Gramophone), carbon telephone transmitters, microphone, etc.

Thomas Addison (1793-1860) The British physician known for his study of what is now known as Addison’s Disease and for his works on ductless glands.

Timur (1336-1405) Head of the Chaghta Truks. He was a powerful warrior and a plunderer known for the Sack of Delhi (indiscriminate massacre and plunder)Â during his invasion of India in 1398 AD.

Todar Mal (1556-1605)
One of the nine gems and revenue minister in the court of Akbar, known for his reforms in policies of land revenue.

Tulsidas Was a great Hindi poet, Hindu religious preacher and known for his work, Ramachandaritamanas, which pepicts the life of Lord Rama.

A celebrated Sanskrit poet of ancient India, the author of the Ramayana.
Varahmihira A distinguished astronomer, mathematician and philosopher of early times. He was one of the nine gems in the court of King Vikramaditya (Chandragupta II).

Vasco de Gama (1470-1524) The portuguese explorer who made the first voyage from Europe round Africa to the East and reached Calicut (India) in 1498.

He was the greatest emperor of the Gupta dynasty. His reign constitutes the most glorious chapter of Indian history, when art and literature flourished.

V.V.Giri The third Vice-President (1967-1969) and the fourth President of India (1969-Acting).He was a recipient of the Bharat Ratna (1975). He died in1980.

Vijayalakshmi Pandit Sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, she was the first woman minister of an Indian state (UP). She holds the distinction of being the first woman to become President of thev UN General Assembly and first Indian woman ambassador to Moscow.

Swami Vivekanand (1863-1902) A disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa, he championed the greatness of Vedantic philosophy. His famous talk at the Chicago Conference of World Religions in 1893 made the Westerners realise the greatness of Hindustan for the first time. He established the Ramakrishna Mission, in the memory of his guru Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa (1836-1886).

Ved Vyas A great Sanakrit scholar, who wrote the Mahabharata, one of the most revered texts of the Hindus.

Vladimir Illich Lenin (1870-1924) Also known as Nikolai Lenin, he was a Russian revolutionary leader who was exiled to Siberia in 1895 where he continued to guide the revolutionary struggle of the Russian people. In 1898 he created a new party, the Bolshevik party, to bring about the communist revolution in Russia. On November 7,1917, a new socialist government was formed under the leadingship of Lenin.

Walt Disney (1901-66) A merican film producer famous for his cartoon characters, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
He was President of America During World War I. He become famous for his ‘14 points’ and played a noteble part in the setting up of the League of Nations.

William Wordsworth(1770-1850) The English poet whose famous works include The Prelude, Intimations on Immortality, The Recluse, The Solitary Reaper, etc.

Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and war leader, who was Prime Minister during World War II. His pulication The Second World War (in 6 volumes), became very famous and earned him the Nobel Prize in 1953. He resigned as Prime Minister in 1955 and published his major work, A History of the English Speaking People.

William Crooks (1832-1919)
The British chemist and physicist who discovered the element thallium in 1861 and invented the radiometer. He also pioneered research on Cathode rays.

William Thompson Kelvin (1824-1907) A British physicist, who put forward the idea of an absolute measurement of temperature and invented the Kelvin scale of temperature.

Lord William Bentinck (1828-1835) Governor- General of India, famous for the sati reforms and suppression of human sacrifice. He also introduced English education in India.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet, considered the greatest literary figure in English literature. He was born as Stratford-on-Avon, the son of a tradesman. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582. His first play was Henry VI and his first major poem Venus and Adonis.

Yuri Gagarin (1934-68) A Russian cosmonaut. In 1961 he become the first man to travel in space. He complated one revolution around the earth and it took him 89.34 minutes to do so. He also holds the record of being the first person to fly at such a great height, (340 Km from the earth).

Ved Vyas A great Sanskrit scholar, who wrote the Mahabharata, one of the most revered texts of the Hindus.

Vladimir Illich Lenin (1870-1924) Also known as Nikolai Lenin, he was a Russian revolutionary leader who was exiled to Siberia in 1895 where he continued to guide the revolutionary struggle of the Russian people. In 1898 he created a new party, the Bolshevik party, to bring about the communist revolution in Russia. On November 7,1917, a new socialist government was formed under the leadingship of Lenin.

Z..A. Bhutto (1928-79)Â
President of Pakistan in 1971 and subsequently Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was deposed by an army coup led by Zia-ul-Haq and executed in 1979.

Zakir Hussain
He was the third President of India, and died in office on May 3,1969. He was also India’s second Vice-President from 1962-1967.

Zoroaster A celebrated Persian prophet and religious leader who lived in the 7th century BC. He is the founder of Zoroastrianism whose followers are the parsees who settled in India.



There has been much debate about the history of the ATM, and who the inventor was. An article in the Summer 2000 issue of Invention & Technology magazine did an excellent investigative report which inspired the following timeline.

1960 – ATM predecessor installed – In 1960 New York's First National City Bank (now CitiBank) installed a Bankograph in several branch lobbies. The concept of this machine was for customers to pay utility bills and get a receipt without a teller.

1967 – First Cash Dispenser installation – In 1967 a Barclays Bank branch near
London debuted the first cash dispenser, made by De La Rue Instruments. It used paper vouchers bought from tellers in advance.

The machine was called the De La Rue Automatic Cash System, or DACS. According to Mike Lee’s 2002 interview with the inventor, John Shepherd-Barron, the paper vouchers were actually checks impregnated with Carbon 14.

1968 – Card-eating machine – In 1968 Barclays and a few other banks introduced a machine that encoded cash on plastic cards purchased from a teller. The problem was the machine always ate the card and you had to buy another one if you wanted another transaction.

Diebold's early ATM, called a TABS machine.

1969 – First use of ATM magstripe cards – In 1969 Docutel installed its Docuteller machine at
New York's Chemical Bank – This is the first use of magnetically encoded plastic.

Chemical Bank's ad campaign said: "On September 3, 1969, our branch will open its doors at 9:00 a.m. and we'll never close again!"

Of course other manufacturers got into the game, but Docutel was the first to apply for a patent and is therefore credited by the Smithsonian Musuem as inventor of the ATM, even though to us in the industry we see it primarily as the first modern magstripe machine.

Donald C. Wetzel is given credit for developing the machine for Docutel.

Docutel met initial resistance, though, from bankers – their first concern was that the annual cost was higher than the cost of a human teller by about $8,000. And secondly, they thought customers would probably be afraid to let a machine handle their money.

1971 – First true bank ATMs – In 1971 Docutel introduced its Total Teller, the first true full-function bank ATM.

About the same time, Diebold installed its first TABS machine at a bank branch in the
U.S., and Fujitsu installed one in Japan.

1973 – Proliferation begins – By 1973, 2,000 ATMs – most from Docutel and Diebold – operated in the U.S. They sold for about $30K each.

1974 - On-line ATMs introduced – The newly connected machines soon led to the modern-day networks we’re all familiar with.


History of Art

Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and look.[1]This includes the "major" arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as the "minor" arts of ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects. The historical backbone of the discipline is a celebratory chronology of beautiful creations funded by upper class men in western Europe. Such a "canon" remains prominent, as indicated by the selection of objects present in art history textbooks. Nonetheless, since the mid-20th century there has been an effort to re-define the discipline to be more inclusive of non-Western art, art made by women, and vernacular creativity.

As a term, Art history (also history of art) encompasses several methods of studying the visual arts; in common usage referring to works of art and architecture. Aspects of the discipline overlap. As the art historian Ernst Gombrich once observed, "the field of art history [is] much like Caesar's Gaul, divided in three parts inhabited by three different, though not necessarily hostile tribes: (i) the connoisseurs, (ii) the critics, and (iii) the academic art historians".[2]

As a discipline, art history is distinguished from art criticism, which is concerned with establishing a relative artistic value upon individual works with respect to others of comparable style, or sanctioning an entire style or movement; and art theory or "philosophy of art", which is concerned with the fundamental nature of art. One branch of this area of study is aesthetics, which includes investigating the enigma of the sublime and determining the essence of beauty. Technically, art history is not these things, because the art historian uses historical method to answer the questions: How did the artist come to create the work?, Who were the patrons?, Who were his or her teachers?, Who was the audience?, Who were his or her disciples?, What historical forces shaped the artist's oeuvre, and How did he or she and the creation, in turn, affect the course of artistic, political, and social events?

This is not to say that art history is only a biographical endeavor. In fact, art historians often root their studies in the close scrutiny of individual objects. They thus attempt to answer in historically specific ways, questions such as: What are key features of this style?, What meaning did this object convey?, How does it function visually?, Did the artist meet their goals well?, What symbols are involved?, and Does it function discursively?


History of Rickshaw

Chinese rickshaw

japanese rickshaw
As a mode of transport rickshaw was first introduced in Japan in the early twentieth century. This mode of transport became particularly popular there due to the Second World War situation, which made petrol and motorised transport scarce and expensive. Japan, however, had soon replaced rickshaw, nintaku in Japanese, with motorised vehicles and by the 1950s the cycle rickshaw had disappeared from Japan. There were also rickshaws in china at that time.In the 1930 and early ’40s rickshaw became popular in Indonesia, Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries. Rickshaw is said to have reached Chittagong from Myanmar in 1919. Interestingly, rickshaw did not spread out to Dhaka and other cities of Bangladesh from Chittagong. Dhaka got rickshaw from Calcutta, where it was first introduced around 1930. European jute exporters living in Narayanganj and Netrokona (in Mymensingh) had first imported cycle rickshaw from Calcutta in 1938 for their personal use. The new vehicle roused great curiosity among the people of Dhaka, who were traditionally used to horse carriages, palanquins and city-canal boats.


History Of Volleyball

Volleyball History and the Evolution of the Sport

Volleyball originated in the United States in 1895 as a blend of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball.

Today, volleyball has spread to 211 countries around the world, and is recognized as a truly international, widely played, popular sport.

In 1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Mass. Morgan created the game of volleyball, at that time called mintonette.

In 1896, the first official game of Volleyball was played at Springfield College.

In the year 1900, Volleyball was popular enough that a new ball was customized for the sport.

Five years later, Volleyball also spread to Cuba. This international signified the start of the Volleyball era.

In 1907, Volleyball was presented at the Playground of America convention as one of the most popular sports. This was the first credit the sport received, and helped to further the sport recognition.

Over the next five years volleyball spread to Central American countries.

In 1913, volleyball was held in the Far Eastern Games. This was the first official volleyball competition.

In 1916, volleyball had arrived in YMCA Brazil and South America. The set and spike was first executed in the Philippines. This offensive system altered how the game was played. For the first time the ball was set in a high trajectory and then spiked by a teammate. The Filipinos created the kill, known in United States as bomba. The bomba was named after the attacker called the bomberino.

Rules and tournaments came about as a result of the formation of the United States Volleyball Association USVBA. The first U.S. Open was staged, as the field was open to non-YMCA squads. The United States Volleyball Association (USVBA) was formed in 1928 and recognized as the rules-making, governing body in the United States.

Since 1928, the USVBA, now known as USA Volleyball (USAV), has put on national men's and senior men's (age 35 and older) volleyball championships every year except during 1944 and 1945.

Women's USVBA divisions started in 1949 and have been growing ever since.

In the late 1940s, some European national federations began discussing the need for creating an international governing body for the sport of volleyball.

The FIVB was founded in Paris, France in 1947. Initial discussions eventually lead to the installation of a Constitutive Congress in 1947. Fourteen national federations representing five different continents attended meetings where the organization was officially formed.

One of the main goals of the 1947 Congress was achieved two years later with the establishment of the first international major volleyball event, the World Championship.

In 1952, a women played in FIVB tournaments for the first time in volleyball history.

For the first time in the history of volleyball, volleyball was played in the Pan American Games in 1955.

In 1957, volleyball was designated as an Olympic team sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In 1959, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) had volleyball be one of the eight competitions held in first University Games in Turin, Italy.

In 1960, seven midwestern institutions formed the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA).

In the 1960's, new volleyball techniques were developed. Off-speed hits, open hand tips, forearm passing, blocking at the net, and defensive plays such as diving and sprawling become a big part of the game.

With the FIVB already having its own world championships, the FIVB directed its attention to the Olympic Games. Thanks to the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation, a tournament took place in Sofia in 1957 during the International Olympic Committee meetings. As a result of this event, volleyball became an Olympic Sport.

In 1964, volleyball was first played in the Olympics in Tokyo. Volleyball became a part of the Olympic Games, which allowed it to grow even more. Also, in the 1964 Olympics, the Japanese used a volleyball that consisted of a rubber casing with leather panels. A similar ball is used in modern volleyball competitions.

In 1969, a new international event, the World Cup was introduced. The World Cup would be turned into a qualifying event for the 1991 Olympic Games.

In 1974, Japan telecasted a major volleyball event in Mexico, the World Championships.

In 1983, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was founded by Leonard Armato. The organization started its own beach volleyball tour in the United States in 1984.

By the late 1980's, the AVP tour was growing fast due to the promotion of the sport by the professional beach players Tim Hovland, Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos, and Mike Dodd.

In 1986, the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) was formed to administer, govern, and protect the integrity of Women's Professional Beach Volleyball.

In 1987, the FIVB added a Beach Volleyball World Championship Series 1989 - The FIVB Sports Aid Program was created In 1990, a men’s volleyball competition called the World League was created.

The World League is the longest and most flourishing of all the international events organized by the FIVB. The tournament is an annual event.

In 2006, prize money became a major deal with $20 million dollars being distributed amongst 16 participating teams from 5 continents. The World League is sometimes confused with the other international volleyball competitions – Volleyball World Cup and Volleyball World Championships.

In 1995, the sport of Volleyball turned 100 years old.

In 1996, for the first time in the history of volleyball, beach doubles volleyball is included in the Olympic Games.

Major events in the 90’s took place including the establishment of annual competitions for men's and women's volleyball (the World League, in 1990, and the Grand Prix, in 1993), the indication of Beach volleyball as an Olympic event (1996). These events and many rule changes in the game were made the purpose of enhancing the popularity and public visibility of the sport.

William G. Morgan (1870-1942), invented volleyball in 1895 in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

William G Morgan invented volleyball

Morgan, who was born in New York, is known as the inventor of volleyball which he originally named Mintonette.

Later, Alfred Halstead re-named Mintonette volleyball because the object of the game was to volley a ball back and forth over a net.

Morgan studied at the Springfield College of the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) where he met James Naismith.

Naismith, in 1891, had recently invented the game of basketball. During the summer of 1895, Morgan moved to the YMCA at Holyoke where he became Director of Physical Education.

In this role, Morgan had the opportunity to direct a vast program of exercises and sport classes for male adults. His leadership was eagerly accepted, and his classes grew in large numbers. He came to realize he needed a different type of competitive recreational game in order to vary his physical fitness program.

Basketball, which sport was beginning to develop, seemed to suit young people, but it was necessary to find a less violent and less intense alternative for the older members.

Morgan took some of the characteristics from tennis and handball along with basketball. Morgan liked the game of tennis, but tennis required rackets, balls, a net.

He didn’t like all the equipment, but he did like the idea of a net.

Morgan invented volleyball, which was originally called Mintonette. Mintonette was designed to be an indoor sport. Mintonette was less rough than basketball for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring some athletic ability.

The first rules required for a net to be 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 meters) high, a 25 × 50 foot (7.6 × 15.2 meter) court. Each team could have as many players as a team wanted.

A match was nine innings with three serves for each team in each inning. There was no limit to the number of ball contacts for each team before sending the ball to the other side of the court.

In case of a miss serve, a second try was allowed. Hitting the ball into the net was a fault, with loss of the point or a side-out, except in the case of a first serve attempt.


History of Baseball

While the exact origins of baseball are unknown, most historians agree that it is based on the English game of rounders. A game which began to become quite popular in this country in the early 19th century, and many sources report the growing popularity of a game called "townball", "base", or "baseball".
Abner Doubleday Alexander Cartwright D.L. Adams
Abner Doubleday Alexander Cartwright D.L. Adams

Throughout the early part of the 19th century, small towns formed teams, and baseball clubs were formed in larger cities. In 1845, Alexander Cartwright wanted to formalize a list of rules by which all teams could play. Much of that original code is still in place today. Although popular legend says that the game was invented by Abner Doubleday, baseball's true father was Cartwright.

The Original Rules of the Game
Rules of the Game

The first recorded baseball contest took place a year later, in 1846. Cartwright and his Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York City lost to the New York Baseball Club in a game at the Elysian Fields, in Hoboken, New Jersey. These amateur games became more frequent and more popular. In 1857, a convention of amateur teams was called to discuss rules and other issues. Twenty five teams from the northeast sent delegates. The following year, they formed the National Association of Base Ball Players, the first organized baseball league. In its first year of operation, the league supported itself by occasionally charging fans for admission. The future looked very bright.

Game being played during the Civil War
Baseball being played during the Civil War

The early 1860s, however were a time of great turmoil in the United States. In those years of the Civil War, the number of baseball clubs dropped dramatically. But interest in baseball was carried to other parts of the country by Union soldiers, and when the war ended there were more people playing baseball than ever before. The league’s annual convention in 1868 drew delegates from over 100 clubs. As the league grew, so did the expenses of playing. Charging admission to games started to become more common, and teams often had to seek out donations or sponsors to make trips. In order for teams to get the financial support they needed, winning became very important.

1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings
1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings

Although the league was supposed to be comprised of amateurs, many players were secretly paid. Some were given jobs by sponsors, and some were secretly paid a salary just for playing. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings decided to become a completely professional team. Brothers Harry and George Wright recruited the best players from around the country, and beat all comers. The Cincinnati team won sixty-five games and lost none. The idea of paid players quickly caught on. Some wanted baseball to remain an amateur endeavor, but there was no way they could compete with the professional teams. The amateur teams began to fade away as the best players became professionals. In 1871, the National Association became the first professional baseball league.

Professional baseball was built on the foundation of the amateur leagues that preceded it. Interest in baseball as a spectator sport had been nourished for more than 25 years when the first professional league began operation. The National Association fielded nine teams in 1871, and grew to 13 teams by 1875.

The National Association was short-lived. The presence of gamblers undermined the public confidence in the games, and their presence at the games combined with the sale of liquor quickly drove most of their crowds away. Following the 1875 season, the National Association was replaced with the National League. Previously, players had owned the teams and run the games, but the National League was to be run by businessmen. They established standards and policies for ticket prices, schedules, and player contracts.

The businessmen demonstrated that professional baseball could be successful, and a rival league soon emerged. In 1882, the American Association started to compete with reduced ticket prices and teams in large cities. Rather than fight each other, the two leagues reached an accord, ratifying a National Agreement. It called for teams in both major leagues and all of the minor leagues to honor each other’s player contracts. In addition, the agreement allowed each team to bind a certain number of players with the Reserve Clause. This clause granted teams the rights to unilaterally renew a player’s contract, preventing him from entertaining other offers.

Take me out to the Ball Game
Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Needless to say, this infuriated the players. In 1884, they tried to form their own league, the Union Association. Many players left their teams for the freedom of the Union Association, but the league lasted only one season. The teams lost too much money to attempt a second season. Another attempt was made in 1890, when the Players League was formed. Most of the best players from the American Association and National League joined, but like its predecessor, the Players League went bankrupt after one season. The competition and loss of players forced the American Association to fold too, with four of its best teams joining the National League.

The turn of the century brought another challenger, the American League, which started play in 1901. They raided most of the National League’s best players. In their attempt to meet the challenge, the National League owners turned on each other. A court injunction impaneled a three-man commission to run the league, and they found a way for the two-leagues to co-exist peacefully.

The Original Baseball
The Original Baseball

Through the first decade of the twentieth century, baseball remained a game of strategy. The so-called “dead ball” provided few homeruns. The game relied on contact-hitters, bunting, and base-stealing for its offense. The adoption of a ball with a cork center in 1911 change the game dramatically. Forty years of batting records began to fall, and the popularity of the game began to explode.

In 1914, yet another rival league tried to gain a foothold. The Federal League sought to establish its presence both on the field and in the courtroom. They sued, contending that the American and National Leagues constituted a monopoly. While the case languished in the legal system, the Federal League folded after just two seasons. In 1922, the Supreme Court settled the matter by ruling that baseball was exempt from anti-trust legislation. The Court unanimously acknowledged and confirmed baseball’s monopoly.

Woodrow Wilson throws out the first pitch in 1916
Wilson throwing out the first ball, opening day, 1916

The Roaring Twenties were a great time for the United States and for baseball. A huge gambling scandal in 1919 brought sweeping reforms, and in the nation’s largest city, a legend was born. George “Babe” Ruth had been a successful pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, but the New York Yankees bought his contract and made him an outfielder. He was the most tremendous hitter the league had ever seen. Ruth revolutionized the game with his prowess as a homerun hitter. He ushered in an era of economic prosperity for baseball, and became one of the most popular individuals in American history.

Like other American men, a large percentage of ballplayers entered the armed forces during World War two. The forties were a difficult time for baseball, but a new era beckoned. Although it was not a written rule, baseball had always been racially segregated. In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first person to break the color barrier in the twentieth cetury, joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. But integration was a very slow process. Other teams were slow to adopt African-American and other minority players. It was another ten years before all of the teams had integrated , and it wasn’t until the early sixties that professional baseball could truly call itself integrated.

Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson in 1947

In 1960, yet another rival league appeared. Although a handful of teams had moved, most of them were concentrated in the northeast. Large cities in the south and west wanted teams of their own. The Continental League sought to win in court before they had a chance to go bankrupt on the field. Faced with the possibility of losing their monopoly, major league owners reached a compromise. They would agree to expand, growing from 16 teams to 24 by the end of the decade.

The players loved this, because expansion meant more jobs. Baseball prospered economically, as attendance continued to grow and national television and radio contracts brought in huge amounts of money. Soon, the players began to see that the owners were not sharing the wealth. Salaries had remained stagnant for many years, and the players were still bound by the reserve clause. Although they had a union, its only real function was to administer the meager pension former players received. Seeing the success of organized labor in the auto industry and the steel industry, the players decided to put some teeth into their union. After nearly a hundred years, the players wanted to regain some control of the game. And they would get it.

Professional baseball players had organized several times in baseball history, but they were never able to make the advances that unions in other industries had won for their members. The Major League Baseball Players Association had been around for more than thirty years, but its sole purpose had been to collect and administer a meager pension. Concerned about getting a piece of growing television revenues, the players sought to strengthen their union in 1965.

They hired Marvin Miller, a veteran labor organizer who had fought for the United Steelworkers union for years. He knew there was more at stake than adding broadcasting money to the pension fund. When Miller came on board and saw what the conditions were, he knew much more was at stake.

For one thing, the minimum salary was $6,000, just a thousand dollars more than it had been in 1947. As he began to collect data, the players were surprised at how poorly they were being paid. This education paved the way for the first collective bargaining agreement in 1968. It provided some modest improvements, but most importantly it gave the players some leverage. For nearly a hundred years, team owners had a “take it or leave it” relationship with players. The union could (and did) file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board when they were treated unfairly. Players also won the right to have their grievances heard before an independent arbitrator.

The owners did not like this. They did not like the union interfering in their business, and they did not like the players standing up to them. Curt Flood, one of the league’s premier centerfielders refused to report to training camp in 1969, demanding that the St. Louis Cardinals offer more than a $5000 raise. They relented, but after an unexceptional season, they traded him to Philadelphia. Flood did not want to go. He had strong ties to the community, and filed a suit against Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Flood argued that the Reserve Clause was illegal, and that he should be allowed to negotiate freely with other teams. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled against him, but it made a lot of players think.

By 1975, two pitchers decided to challenge the reserve clause again. It said that the teams had the right to renew a players contract for one year. They interpreted that to be recurring, that they could renew it every year. Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith refused to sign their contracts. If the reserve clause bound them for the 1975 season, there was no contract that could be renewed for 1976. An arbitrator upheld their case, and free agency was born.

Players were still bound to a team for the first few years of their career, but after that they could sign with any team. The owners couldn’t contain their excitement at this, and spent the next five years outbidding and outspending each other. The players were happy, because everyone’s salary was going up. But many owners were getting upset. When a player left, they got nothing in return. They argued that a team who lost a player should get something in return for compensation. Otherwise, the money they had invested in that player’s development would be lost. The players argued that this would severely limit their freedom. The two sides couldn’t agree, so in the middle of the 1981 season the players walked out.

There had been a brief player’s strike at the start of the 1972 season, which delayed the start of the season by 13 days. This was much more serious, as little negotiation took place. After fifty days, the owners relented and agreed to a modified compensation plan. In return, players not yet eligible for free-agency could have their salaries decided by an arbitrator. The economic issues was growing more complicated, and the adversarial relationship between owners and players grew more intense.

In 1985, the players struck again. The owners had hoped that salary arbitration would help keep salaries down, but it propelled them through the roof. The owners wanted to change it, the players said no way. After two days, the owners relented and the players came back.

Then the free-agent market suddenly and mysteriously dried up. Following the 1986 season, players in search of contracts found no bidders, and many re-signed with their teams for lower salaries. This continued for the next few years, until an arbitrator ruled that the owners had colluded. The collective bargaining prohibited that action, and the players were awarded damages.

This all set the stage for the worst battle of all. In 1992, the owners forced Commissioner Fay Vincent to resign. The labor contract was about to expire, and they didn’t want him to interfere in negotiations. Turns out they didn’t want any negotiations either. Their had been a strike or a lockout every time the collective bargaining agreement expired, and the players didn’t want to go through that again. They started the 1994 season without a contract. The owners were insisting that a salary cap was necessary for teams to survive. They claimed free agency and salary arbitration were wrecking them. No progress was being made, so the players went on strike in August.

The World Series was canceled for the first time in 92 years. Fans across the country were disgusted and heartbroken. President Clinton appointed a mediator, but nothing happened. Finally, the owners decided to unilaterally implement their own plan. They assembled teams of replacement players and set out to start the 1995 season without the “real” players. The players asked for and got a restraining order, prohibiting the teams from implementing their plan and forcing them to work under the terms of the old agreement until a new one was reached.

It took almost two more years for a labor deal to be reached, and it finally happened in November of 1996. While it’s too soon to tell if the deal will address the financial problems that face Major League Baseball, it does offer the hope that fans can start thinking about the game on the field once again. Baseball has fallen behind other American sports in popularity, and it will take a lot of work to regain the prominence it once held in American culture. There is a long, proud history to build on, and baseball will enter its third century with reasons for optimism.


History of Swimming

Swimming has been known since prehistoric times. Drawings from the Stone Age were found in "the cave of swimmers" near Wadi Sora (or Sura) in the southwestern part of Egypt. Written references date from 2000 B.C., including Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible (Ezekiel 47:5, Acts 27:42, Isaiah 25:11), Beowulf, and other sagas. In 1538 Nicolas Wynman, German professor of languages, wrote the first swimming book, "Colymbetes". Competitive swimming in Europe started around 1800, mostly using breaststroke. The front crawl, then called the trudgen, was introduced in 1873 by John Arthur Trudgen, copying it from Native Americans. Swimming was part of the first modern Olympic games in 1896 in Athens. In 1902 the trudgen was improved by Richard Cavill, using the flutter kick. In 1908, the world swimming association, Federation Internationale de Natation de Amateur (FINA), was formed. Butterfly was first a variant of breaststroke, until it was accepted as a separate style in 1952.

Ancient Times

Drawings from the Stone Age were found in "the cave of swimmers" near Wadi Sora (or Sura) in the southwestern part of Egypt near Libya. These pictures seem to show breaststroke or dog paddle, although it may also be possible that the movements have a ritual meaning unrelated to swimming. This cave is also featured in the movie The English Patient. An Egyptian clay seal dated between 4000 B.C. and 9000 B.C. shows four swimmers who are believed to be swimming a variant of the front crawl. More references to swimming are found in Babylonian bas-reliefs and Assyrian wall drawings, depicting a variant of the breaststroke. The most famous drawings were found in the Kebir desert and are estimated to be from around 4000 B.C. The Nagoda bas-relief also shows swimmers dating back from 3000 B.C. The Indian palace Mohenjo Daro from 2800B.C. contains a swimming pool sized 30m by 60m. The Minoan palace Minos of Knossos in Crete also featured baths. An Egyptian tomb from 2000 B.C. shows a variant of the front crawl. Depictions of swimmers were also found from the Hittites, Minoans, and other Middle Eastern civilizations, the Incas in the Tepantitla House at Teotihuacan, and in mosaics in Pompeii.

Written references date back to 2000 B.C. including Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Bible (Ezekiel 47:5, Acts 27:42, Isaiah 25:11), Beowulf, and other sagas, although the style is never described. There are also many mentions of swimmers in the Vatican, Borgian and Bourbon codices.

The Greeks did not include swimming in the ancient Olympic Games, but practiced the sport, often building swimming pools as part of their baths. One common insult in Greece was to say about somebody that he/she neither knew how to run nor swim. The Etruscans at Tarquinia (Italy) show pictures of swimmers in 600 B.C., and tombs in Greece depict swimmers 500 B.C. The greek Scyllis was taken prisoner on a ship of the Persian king Xerxes I in 480 B.C. After learning about an impending attack on the Greek navy, he stole a knife and jumped overboard. During the night and using a snorkel made from reed, he swam back to the ships and cut them loose. It was also said that the ability to swim saved the Greeks at the Battle of Salamis, while the Persians all drowned when their ships were destroyed. Julius Caesar was also known to be a good swimmer. A series of reliefs from 850 B.C. in the Nimrud Gallery of the British Museum show swimmers, mostly in military context, often using swimming aids.

In Japan swimming was one of the noble skills of the Samurai, and historic records describe swimming competitions in 36 B.C. organized by emperor Suigui (spelling unclear), which are the first known swimming races.

The Germanic folklore describes swimming, which was used successfully in wars against the Romans. Swimming competitions are also known from that time.

Middle Ages to 1800

Swimming was initially one of the seven agilities of knights during the Middle Ages, including swimming with armour. However, as swimming was done in a state of undress, it became less popular as society became more conservative, and it was opposed by the church at the end of the middle ages. For example, in the 16th century, a German court document in the Vechta prohibited the naked public swimming of children. Leonardo da Vinci made early sketches of lifebelts. In 1538 Nicolas Wynman, German professor of languages, wrote the first swimming book "Colymbetes". His goal was not exercise, but rather to reduce the dangers of drowning. Nevertheless, the book contained a very good and methodical approach to learning breaststroke, and includes swimming aids like air filled cow bladders, reed bundles, or cork belts. Around the same time, E. Digby in England also wrote a swimming book, claiming that humans can swim better than fish.

In 1603 the first national swimming organization was established in Japan. TEmperor Go-Yozei of Japan declared that school children should swim.

In 1696, the French author Thevenot wrote "The Art of Swimming", describing a breaststroke very similar to the modern breaststroke. This book was translated into English and became the standard reference of swimming for many years to come.

In 1708, the first known lifesaving group "Chinkiang Association for the Saving of Life" was established in China. In 1796 a (still existing) swimming club was founded in Upsala, Sweden. Benjamin Franklin is credited with the invention of the swimming fins at the age of ten, in 1716.

In 1739 Guts Muts (also spelled as Guts Muth) from Schnepfenthal, Germany, wrote "Gymnastik für die Jugend" (Exercise for the youth), including a significant portion about swimming. In 1794 Kanonikus Oronzio de Bernardi of Italy wrote a two volume book about swimming, including floating practice as a prerequisite for swimming studies. In 1798 Guts Muts wrote another book "Kleines Lehrbuch der Schwimmkunst zum Selbstunterricht" (Small study book of the art of swimming for self study), recommending the use of a "fishing rod" device to aid in the learning of swimming. His books describe a three step approach to learn swimming that is still used today. First, get the student used to the water, second, practice the swimming movements out of the water, third, practice the swimming movements in the water. He believed that swimming is an essential part of every education.

More lifesaving groups were established in 1767 (1768?) in Amsterdam by the Dutch, 1772 in Copenhagen, and in 1774 by Great Britain. In 1768 a humane society was established in the United States.

The Haloren, a group of salt makers in Halle, Germany, greatly advanced swimming through setting a good example to others by teaching their children swimming at a very early age.

The Pre-Olympic Era to 1896

In 1804 the lifebelt was invented by W. H. Mallison (America?), the device being known at that time as the "Seaman’s Friend". However, the lifebelts took up valuable space on ships, and the United States Navy was worried about the devices being used by sailors to desert.

The first German swimming club was founded in 1837 in Berlin. A journal mentions "swimming skates" in France, which may be an early version of a surfboard.

One watershed event was a swimming competition in 1844 in London. Some Native Americans participated in this competition. While the British raced using breaststroke, the Native Americans swam a variant of the front crawl, which has been used by people in the Americas, West Africa and some Pacific islands for generations, but was not known to the British. As the front crawl is a much faster style than the breaststroke, the Americans won against the British competition. Flying Gull won the medal, swimming the 130 feet in 30 seconds; the second place was also won by another American named Tobacco. Their stroke was described as making a motion with the arms "like a windmill" and kicking the legs up and down. As this produced considerably splashing, it was considered barbaric and "un-European" to the British gentlemen, who preferred to keep their heads over the water. Subsequently, the British continued to swim only breaststroke until 1873.

The first indoor swimming pool was built in England in 1862. An Amateur Swimming Association of Great Britain was organized in 1880 with more than 300 members. The main swimming styles were the breaststroke and the recently developed sidestroke. In the sidestroke, the swimmer lies on one side. Initially, the arms were brought forward under water, but this was soon modified to bring the arm forward over water to reduce resistance and to improve the speed, resulting in an overarm sidestroke. The legs were squeezed together in a scissor style. In 1895, J. H. Thayers of England swam 100 yards in a record-breaking 1:02.50 using a sidestroke.

In 1873 John Arthur Trudgen reintroduced the front crawl to England. Trudgen learned the stroke from Native Americans during a trip to South America (the exact date, however, is disputed and may be anywhere between 1870 and 1890). This stroke, a variant of the front crawl, was then called the Trudgen or Trudgeon. The arms were brought forward, alternating while the body rolled from side to side. The kick was a scissors kick, with one kick for two arm strokes, although it is believed that the Native Americans did indeed do a flutter kick and Trudgen mistakenly used the (in Britain) more common breaststroke kick. Variants used different ratios of scissor kicks to arm strokes, or alternated with a flutter (up-and-down) kick. The speed of the new stroke was demonstrated by F. V. C. Lane in 1901, swimming 100 yards in 1:00.0, an improvement of about ten seconds compared to the breaststroke record. This style is the first European version of the front crawl, the fastest swimming style known today. Due to its speed the Trudgen became very quickly popular around the world, despite all the ungentlemanlike splashing.

Captain Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English channel (between England and France), in 1875. He used breaststroke, swimming 21.26 miles in 21 hours and 45 minutes. No other man or woman swam the channel for the next 31 years. He died in 1882 while attempting to swim the Niagara Falls. The first European amateur swimming competitions were in 1889 in Vienna.

In 1879 Louis III of Bavaria built a swimming pool in castle Linderhof. This is believed to be the first artificial wave pool and also featured electrically heated water and light.

Synchronized swimming started in the late 19th century, and the first competition was in 1891 in Berlin, a men's-only event.

The Modern Olympic Era after 1896

The Olympic Games were held in 1896 in Athens, a male-only competition (see also Swimming at the 1896 Summer Olympics). Six events were planned, but only four events were actually contested: 100 m, 500 m, and 1200 m freestyle and 100 m for sailors. The first gold medal was won by Alfred Hajos of Hungary in 1:22.20 for the 100m freestyle. Hajos was also victorious in the 1200 m event, and was unable to compete in the 500 m, which was won by Austrian Paul Neumann. Another swimming competition of 100m for sailors included three Greek sailors in Bay of Zea near Piraeus, starting from a rowing boat. The winner was Ioannis Malokinis in two minutes and 20 seconds. A 1500m race was also performed.

In 1897 Capt. Henry Sheffield designed a rescue can or rescue cylinder, now well known as the lifesaving device in Baywatch. The pointed ends made it slide faster though the water, although it can cause injuries.

The second Olympic games in Paris in 1900 featured 200m, 1000m, and 4000m freestyle, 200m backstroke , and a 200m team race (see also Swimming at the 1900 Summer Olympics). There were two additional unusual swimming events (although common at the time) : an obstacle swimming course in the Seine river (swimming with the current), and an underwater swimming race. The 4000m freestyle was won by John Arthur Jarvis in under one hour, the longest Olympic swimming race ever. The backstroke was also introduced to the Olympic games in Paris, as was water polo. The Osborne Swimming Club from Manchester beat club teams from Belgium, France and Germany quite easily.

The Trudgen was improved by the British-born Australian swimming teacher and swimmer Richard (Fred, Frederick) Cavill. Like Trudgen, he watched natives from the Solomon Islands, using front crawl. But different from Trudgen, he noticed the flutter kick, and studied it closely. He used this new flutter kick instead of the breaststroke or scissor kick for the Trudgen. He used this stroke in 1902 at an International Championships in England to set a new world record by outswimming all Trudgen swimmers over the 100 yards in 0:58.4 (some sources say it was his son in 0:58.8). He taught this style to his six sons, each becoming a championship swimmer. The technique became known as Australian crawl up to 1950, when it was shortened to crawl, technically known as front crawl.

The Olympics in 1904 in St. Louis included races over 50 yards, 100 yards, 220 yards, 440 yards, 880 yards and one mile freestyle, 100 yards backstroke and 440 yards breaststroke, and the 4*50 yards freestyle relay (see also Swimming at the 1904 Summer Olympics). These games differentiated between breaststroke and freestyle, so that there were now two defined styles (breaststroke and backstroke) and freestyle, where most people swam Trudgen. These games also featured a competition to plunge for distance, where the distance without swimming, after jumping in a pool, was measured.

In 1907 the swimmer Annette Kellerman from Australia visited the United States as an "Underwater Ballerina", a version of Synchronized swimming, diving into glass tanks. She was arrested for indecent exposure, as her swimsuit showed arms, legs and the neck. Kellerman changed the suit to have long arms and legs, and a collar, still keeping the close fit revealing the shapes underneath. She later starred in several movies, including one about her life.

In 1908, the world swimming association Federation Internationale de Natation de Amateur (FINA) was formed.

Women were first allowed to swim in the Olympic Games in 1912 in Stockholm, competing in freestyle races. (Women could participate in golf and tennis since 1900 in Paris). In the 1912 games, Harry Hebner of the United States won the 100m backstroke. At these games Duke Kahanamoku from Hawaii won the 100m freestyle, having learned the six kicks per cycle front crawl from older natives of his island. This style is now considered the classical front crawl style. The men's competitions were 100m, 400m, and 1500m Freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m and 400m breaststroke, and four by 200m freestyle relay. The women’s competitions were 100m freestyle and four by 100m freestyle relay.

On 28 July 1912, a 800m long bridge between Binz and Rügen, Germany collapsed under the load of 1000 people waiting for a cruise steamer Kronprinz Wilhelm. Sailors of the German navy were able to save most people, but 17 people died because they could not swim, including seven children. This catastrophe caused the foundation of the Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft (DLRG) (German lifesaving organization) on October 19 1913 in Leipzig. In the same year the first elastic swimsuit was made by the sweater company Jantzen.

In 1922, Johnny Weissmuller became the first person to swim the 100m in less than a minute, using a six kicks per cycle Australian crawl. Johnny Weissmuller started the golden age of swimming and was the world's most famous swimmer, winning five Olympic medals and 36 national championships and never losing a race in his ten-year career, until he retired from swimming and started his second career as Tarzan. His record of 51 seconds in 100 yard freestyle stood for over 17 years. In the same year, Sybil Bauer was the first woman to break a men’s world record over the 440m backstroke in 6:24.8.

At the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, lane dividers made of cork were used for the first time, and lines on the pool bottom aided with orientation.

1928 was the start of the scientific study of swimming by David Armbruster, coach at the University of Iowa, filming underwater swimmers. The Japanese also used underwater photography to research the stroke mechanics, and subsequently dominated the 1932 Summer Olympics. Armbruster also researched a problem of breaststroke where the swimmer was slowed down significantly while bringing the arms forward underwater. In 1934 Armbruster refined a method to bring the arms forward over water in breaststroke. While this "butterfly" technique was difficult, it brought a great improvement in speed. One year later, in 1935, Jack Sieg (Seig?), a swimmer also from the University of Iowa developed a technique involving swimming on his side and beating his legs in unison similar to a fish tail, and modified the technique afterward to swim it face down. Armbruster and Sieg combined these techniques into a variant of the breaststroke called butterfly with the two kicks per cycle being called dolphin fishtail kick. Using this technique Sieg swam 100 yards in 1:00.2. However, even though this technique was much faster than regular breaststroke, the dolphin fishtail kick violated the rules and was not allowed. Therefore, the butterfly arms with a breaststroke kick were used by a few swimmers in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin for the breaststroke competitions. In 1938, almost every breaststroke swimmer was using this butterfly style, yet this stroke was considered a variant of the breaststroke until 1952, when it was accepted as a separate style with a set of rules.

Around that time another modification to the backstroke became popular. Previously, the arms were held straight during the underwater push phase, for example by the top backstroke swimmer from 1935 to 1945, Adolph Kiefer. However, Australian swimmers developed a technique where the arms are bent under water, increasing the horizontal push and the resulting speed and reducing the wasted force upward and sideways. This style is now generally used worldwide. In 1935 topless swimsuits for men were worn for the first time during an official competition.

In 1943 the US ordered the reduction of fabric in swimsuits by 10% due to wartime shortages, resulting in the first two piece swimsuits. Shortly thereafter the Bikini was invented in Paris by Louis Reard (officially) or Jacques Heim (earlier, but slightly larger).

Another modification was developed for breaststroke. In breaststroke, breaking the water surface increases the friction, reducing the speed of the swimmer. Therefore, swimming underwater increases the speed. This led to a controversy at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, and six swimmers were disqualified, as they repeatedly swam long distances underwater. However, one Japanese swimmer, Masaru Furukawa, circumvented the rule by not surfacing at all after the start, but swimming as much of the lane under water as possible before breaking the surface. He swam all but 5m under water for the first three 50m laps, and also swam half under water for the last lap, winning the gold medal. The adoption of this technique led to many swimmers suffering from oxygen starvation or even some swimmers passing out during the race due to a lack of air, and a new rule was introduced by the FINA, limiting the distance that can be swum under water after the start and every turn, and requiring the head to break the surface every cycle. The 1956 games in Melbourne also saw the introduction of the body roll, a sort of tumble turn to faster change directions at the end of the lane.

In 1972, another famous swimmer, Mark Spitz, was at the height of his career. During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, he won seven gold medals, more than any other Olympic athlete has ever won. Shortly thereafter in 1973, the first swimming world cup was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia by the FINA.

Breaking the water surface reduces the speed in swimming; this is true not only for breaststroke, but also for backstroke. The swimmers Daichi Suzuki (Japan) and David Berkoff (America) used this for the 100m backstroke at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Berkoff swam 33m of the first lane completely underwater using only a dolphin kick, surfacing just before the turn, far ahead of his competition. A sports commentator called this a Berkoff Blastoff. Suzuki, having practiced the underwater technique for 10 years, surfaced only a little bit earlier, winning the race in 0:55.05. The rules were quickly changed in the same year by the FINA to ensure the health and safety of the swimmers, limiting the underwater phase after the start to ten meters, which was expanded to 15m in 1991. In Seoul, Kristin Otto from East Germany won six gold medals, the most ever won by a woman.

Another innovation is the use of forward tumble turns for backstroke. According to the rules, a backstroke swimmer had to touch the wall while lying less than 90 degrees out of the horizontal. Some swimmers discovered that they could turn faster if they rolled almost 90 degrees sideways, touched the wall, and made a forward tumble turn, pushing off the wall on their backs. The FINA has changed the rules to allow the swimmers to turn over completely before touching the wall to simplify this turn and to improve the speed of the races.

In 1998 Benoît Lecomte swam across the Atlantic Ocean, a total of 5,600 kilometers in 72 days, swimming 6 to 8 hours daily. He was accompanied by two sailors on a sailboat.

After underwater swimming for breaststroke and backstroke, the underwater swimming technique is now also used for butterfly, for example by Denis Pankratov (Russia) or Angela Kennedy (Australia), swimming large distances underwater with a dolphin kick. FINA is again considering a rule change for safety reasons. It is currently unclear if it is possible to swim faster underwater than swimming freestyle or front crawl at the surface.