Some historians claim that polo originated in Persia in the 6th cent.; it spread to Turkey, India, and Tibet and, with some modifications, to China and Japan. According to this view, it was revived in India during the 19th cent., where it became popular with British army officers stationed there, and spread to other countries. Others contend that the British officers themselves created the game (1862) after seeing a horsemanship exhibition in Manipur, India. The sport was introduced into England in 1869, and seven years later sportsman James Gordon Bennett imported it to the United States. After 1886, English and American teams occasionally met for the International Polo Challenge Cup. Polo was on several Olympic games schedules, but was last an Olympic sport in 1936. Polo is also now popular in Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, but the relative number of polo players remains small.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.