Red is one of the subtractive primary colors, along with yellow and blue.
Red was widely used in prehistoric cave art, made with red hematite or iron oxide, or red ochre. Early civilizations in China, the Middle East and Europe made red dyes from the madder plant or from a tiny insect called Kermes vermilio. Civilizations in the Americas made brilliant reds from another scale insect, the cochineal; ancient Chinese artists during the Han Dynasty used dye from the madder plant to color silk and pigments from lead oxide to color pottery.
The word red is derived from the Old English rēad.