Origins of Polo

Origins of Polo.

Historians have conjectured the sport originated in either Persia or amongst the Iranian tribes of Central Asia. Polo was no mere game for the Iranian horsemen; it was a way to prepare young leaders for the rigors of war. In Persia, polo flourished through the 16th and 17th centuries. The Chinese, who gave us some of the earliest written records about polo, may have been the next to pick up the mallet, perhaps followed by the Japanese. The first record of a polo match held in Japan refers to the year 727 C.E. The word “polo” is of Tibetan origin, being derived from “pulu,” their word for ball.

Polo was probably introduced to India from Persia by the early Mohammedan invaders in the 13th century. Indian polo records are scarce concerning activity during the 16th and 17th centuries, though by the 19th century the game was played throughout the land. It was not until the mid-1900s that the British saw pulu for the first time. Bengal Army Lt. Joseph Sherer, played his first game of pulu in 1859.

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