Like many other sports, a variation of badminton can be traced back to the first century B.C.E. in China. The game of Ti Jian Zi involved hitting or kicking a shuttlecock with your hands or feet. This game was not only popular in China but also in Japan, India and Siam.
In the fourteenth century, the British played battledore shuttlecock, a sport in which players attempted to keep the shuttlecock in the air with the use of a racket or paddle. During this period up until the mid-1800s this game was widely recognized as a children's game.
In the early 1860s, British army soldiers stationed in India played a competitive sport called "poona a game very similar to shuttlecock which included a net and boundaries. These soldiers brought the equipment and the game back to England in the mid-1870s and are credited with introducing the sport to the British people in particular to royalty and people of leisure. The game was renamed badminton after a group of vacationing Indian colonials on the Duke of Beaufort estate, Badminton House, tossed about a champagne cork with chicken feathers.
Originally, the game was played in an hourglass shaped hall, narrower in the middle than at the ends. Badminton was played on this odd-shaped court until 1901. Standardized rules were instituted in 1887 and were revised in 1895 and 1905.
Throughout the British Isles many competitive clubs were established from 1870 to 1900. In 1877, an English colonel in Karachi, H.O. Selby published the rules of badminton and the first all-England Championships were held in 1899.
Badminton's popularity spread from the British Isles to the Scandinavian countries and North America in the 1920s and on into India and throughout Asia. Many of these Asian countries have produced the top-ranked players in the world in the past fifty years.