“Transportation is the center of the world! It is the glue of our daily lives.” -Robin Chase
The world that we live in now will most likely be impossible had it not been for innovations in transportation. There would not have been any great infrastructure, industrialisation, or massive production, if transportation was incompetent. Life would not have kept up with the fast changing times if there were no huge trucks, trailers, cargo ships, or large aircrafts to carry them to different places. In other words, the global society would not have experienced comfort and convenience had it not been for advancements in the transportation sector. Today, humanity has Transportation technology to thank for all the wonderful things that it currently enjoys now.
Since the Stone Age the spirit of innovation and exploration has revolutionised the transportation sector. The significance of such innovation has brought their corresponding effect in the civilization, life style of people. Hence knowing the history will reveal the way how the society has adopted the technology.
The first form of transport was, of course, the human foot! However people eventually learned to use animals for transport. Donkeys and horses were probably domesticated between 4,000 and 3,000 BC. Camels were domesticated slightly later between 3,000 and 2,000 BC. Meanwhile about 3,500 BC the wheel was invented in what is now Iraq. Its original use for cooking and spinning clay pots was simple, but the assembly of a wheeled vehicle was slightly more difficult. Its role as a wheel didn’t begin until around 4000 B.C.E., when wagon carts pulled by animals were used to move people short distances. At first wheels were made of solid pieces of wood lashed together to form a circle but after they were made with spokes. The earliest boats were dugout canoes. People lit a fire on a big log then put it out and dug out the burned wood. About 3,100 BC the Egyptians invented the sailing boat. They were made of bundles of papyrus reeds tied together. They had simple square sails made of sheets of papyrus or later of linen. However the sail could only be used when sailing in one direction. When travelling against the wind the boat had to be rowed.
About 2,700 BC the Egyptians began using wooden ships for trade by sea. Early ships were steered by a long oar.
Transport in the Middle Ages
The Romans are famous for the network of roads they built across the Empire. Roman legionaries built them so the Roman army could march from one part of the empire to another quickly. Rich people travelled by horse or on long journeys by covered wagon. Transport by water was also important to the Romans. As the human population grew, so did the size of boats and the technologies that propelled them. They built large merchant ships called cortia, which could carry up to 1,000 tons of cargo. When boats became large enough to transport gangs of men over vast bodies of water, the need for docking stations arose. These seaports were the centers for trade, so it was only natural that cities grew up around them. The Romans also built lighthouses to aid shipping. However the Chinese were first to invent the compass centuries before it was used in Europe. Nevertheless by the 12th century Europeans had learned to use it.
Transport in the 17th Century
Transport and communications improved in the 17th century. In 1600 the royal posts were exclusively used to carry the kings correspondence. However in 1635, to raise money, Charles I allowed members of the public to pay his messengers to carry letters. This was the start of the royal mail. In 1663 the first Turnpike roads opened. You had to pay to use them. Meanwhile in towns wealthy people were carried in sedan chairs. The development of seaport architecture happened in 17th century, where it evolved over time into the busy harbours of today. Aside from large warehouses to store imported goods for distribution,...
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