History of Transportation

Transportation has come and gone in a variety of different and usually resembles the most efficient way to travel at the time. Originally, mankind used the three main sources of transportation: walking, running, and swimming. It wouldn't be until animals were domesticated as well as the invention of the wheel and sled would we be able to use animals to pull heavier loads than a human could possibly handle. Once these were mastered, humanity would turn to the sea, developing boats and sailing vessels, and these would become the most efficient ways of transportation until the Industrial Revolution.

The use of oxen to transport goods can be traced back to its furthest point at about 8000 BCE. This would be followed shortly after between 3-4000 BCE with horses pulling them. However, human traveling along trails carrying the goods themselves was still the widest used method at the time for transporting goods. These trails would eventually become paved roads, created by civilizations such as Mesopotamia (3100 BCE - 539 BCE: Ancient Middle East including Turkey) and the Indus Valley Civilization (3300-1300 BCE: Southern Asia near Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India). Stone-paved roads would be made by the Persian and Roman empires, which would allow armies to move quickly, and eventually tar-based roads would be introduced in the Middle East at a later point.

Around 8200 BCE, the first canoes would be made from tree trunks, and the oldest known canoe was found in the Netherlands. Larger boats would be made, and they would primarily rely on rowing, wind, or a combination as power. Because of how heavily civilizations came to rely on boat transport, most of the largest trade cities would be made by the water. It would be a relatively slow transportation process for anything until the Industrial Revolution

In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution, a period ranging from 1760-1840 that changed how almost every process was done in industry, would change transportation forever. With the invention of the telegraph, a device using a series of beeps to transport messages and translated commonly through Morse Code, communication became near instant. This would make a communication easier without having to rely on transport of letters or messengers.

The steam engine, an engine that ran completely on the power of boiling water (steam), would also be made, and led to rail transportation with trains as well as steam powered boats. The speed and how much could be transported would grow at an extreme rate, which would allow manufacturing to take place far away from the natural resources they relied on.

Around 1900, the combustion engine, an engine that used a series of small controlled explosions to create power, would be created, and the first automobile would be born. Road transport would be on the rise, and the private transportation system began at this time. The first highway (A long road stemming from points to allow the fastest method of travel between cities.) would also be created in the early 1900s, based on the designs of macadam, a road created around 1820 by John Loudon McAdam which was the first gravel based road. These highways would eventually become paved with tarmac and concrete, rather than gravel.

The Wright Brothers would be the next people to advance transportation with the first airplane that could be controlled in 1903. Air travel by plane would become the fastest way of transportation after World War I (1914-1918) for goods as well as people over long distances. As they developed beyond World War II (1939-1945), cars and airplanes would become the main method of travel. Space Flight would start in the 1950s and would grow at a fast pace until the 1970s. Dwindling interest made space travel stop growing, but the Jet Engine, based on space travel designs, would make international travel much more efficient. With these growths in air and motor transport, rail and water transport would take a backseat until 1964, when Japan made the first high speed rail, a rail system capable of traveling at 200 miles per hour. This would be the final major advancement in transportation, with minor changes to the earlier mentioned inventions advancing transportation further.

A: 4000 BCE
B: 8000 BCE
C: 3100 BCE
D: 3300 BCE

A: Roman
B: Persian
C: Mesopotamia
D: None of the above

A: Telegraph
B: Phone
C: Trains
D: Airplane

A: 1914
B: 1939
C: 1900
D: 1903

A: China
B: America
C: Japan
D: Germany

A: Industrial Revolution
B: Invention of the Telegraph
C: Creation of the Steam Engine
D: Dawn of the 20th century

To link to this History of Transportation page, copy the following code to your site: