Who were the Aryans?

The name Aryan was originally given to a race of people who were said to speak an archaic Indo-European Language and were thought to have settled during the prehistoric times in ancient Iran and in North India. The theory of an “Aryan race” appeared during the mid-19th century, remaining prevalent until the mid-20th century. According to the theory, the Aryans were tall light skinned people who invaded and conquered ancient India from the north. The Aryan peoples literature, religion and modes of social organization is thought to have shaped the course of Indian culture, in particular shaping the Vedic religion which was eventually superseded by Hinduism.  


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