The first attested use of the word swastika in a European text is found in 1871 with the publications of Heinrich Schliemann, who while crudely digging the Hisarlik mound near the Aegean Sea coast, for the lost history of Troy (Trojan war), discovered over 1,800 ancient samples of the swastika symbol and its variants. Although all swastikas are bent crosses based on a chiral symmetry, they appear with different geometric details: as compact crosses with short legs, as crosses with large arms and as motifs in a pattern of unbroken lines.
The swastika was adopted by several organizations in pre–World War I Europe and later, and most notably, by the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany prior to World War II.It was used by the Nazi Party to symbolize German nationalistic pride.Elaborate necklaces of this type were presented by the groom’s family during wedding celebrations of the Chetiar community, a Shaivite mercantile caste, and form part of the bride’s wealth (stridhan) thereafter.The marriage necklace was initially part of marriage dowry gifted to the bride by the groom at a climactic moment in the marriage ceremony, the three knots ritual.Investigators have also found seals with "mature and geometrically ordered" swatiskas which date from prior to the Indus Valley Civilization (3300–1300 BCE).
Their efforts have traced references to swastikas in the Vedas at about that time period.
Sagan suggests that in antiquity a comet could have approached so close to Earth that the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet's rotation, became visible, leading to the adoption of the swastika as a symbol across the world.
Bob Kobres in his 1992 paper Comets and the Bronze Age Collapse contends that the swastika like comet on the Han Dynasty silk comet atlas was labeled a "long tailed pheasant star" (Di-Xing) because of its resemblance to a bird's foot or footprint, In Life's Other Secret (1999), Ian Stewart suggests the ubiquitous swastika pattern arises when parallel waves of neural activity sweep across the visual cortex during states of altered consciousness, producing a swirling swastika-like image, due to the way quadrants in the field of vision are mapped to opposite areas in the brain.
The investigators put forth the theory that the swastika traveled from India via Tartar trade routes through Kamchatka to the Americas, where it appeared in both Aztec and Mayan civilizations.
It also moved westward, according to these researchers, from India to Finland, Scandinavia, the British Highlands and other parts of Europe.
According to Monier-Williams, a majority of scholars consider it a solar symbol, and in the ancient Indian texts the base swasti is equivalent to "may it be well with thee! The compact swastika can be seen as a chiral irregular icosagon (20-sided polygon) with fourfold (90°) rotational symmetry.