Polo was introduced to South Africa by British cavalry regiments garrisoned in the Eastern Cape area of South Africa in the late 19th century. The first recorded tournament took place at King Williamstown in 1885. The British troops had, in turn, learnt the game in India not very long before this.
There is a mistaken impression that polo started with British royalty whereas in fact its origins lie somewhere in Persia or China. The word "polo" comes from the Gugerati word "pulu" meaning "ball" and there are tapestries depicting the sport dating back to the fourth century. The game swept across the Asian continent and it is a well known fact that the cruel Mongol leader, Genghis Khan, took to it with alacrity - even using enemies' heads as practice balls!
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