History of transport
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International trade was the driving motivator behind advancements in global transportation in the Pre Modern world. "...there was a single global world economy with a worldwide division of labor and multilateral trade from 1500 onward." The sale and transportation of Textile, silver and gold, spices, slaves and luxury goods throughout Afro-Eurasia and later the New World would see an evolution in overland and sea trade routes.
The history of transport is largely one of technological innovation. Advances in technology have allowed people to travel farther, explore more territory, and expand their influence over larger and larger areas. Even in ancient times, new tools such as foot coverings, skis, and snowshoes lengthened the distances that could be travelled. As new inventions and discoveries were applied to transport problems, travel time decreased while the ability to move more and larger loads increased. Innovation continues as transport researchers are working to find new ways to reduce costs and increase transport efficiency.
The first earth tracks were created by humans carrying goods and often followed trails. Tracks would be naturally created at points of high traffic density. As animals were domesticated, horses, oxen and donkeys became an element in track-creation. With the growth of trade, tracks were often flattened or widened to accommodate animal traffic. Later, the travois, a frame used to drag loads, was developed. Animal-drawn wheeled vehicles were probably developed in the Ancient Near East in the 4th or 5th millennium BC and spread to Europe and India in the 4th millennium BC and China in about 1200 BC. The Romans had a significant need for good roads to extend and maintain their empire and developed Roman roads.
In the Industrial Revolution, John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836) designed the first modern highways, using inexpensive paving material of soil and stone aggregate (macadam), and he embanked roads a few feet higher than the surrounding terrain to cause water to drain away from the surface. With the development of motor transport there was an increased need for hard-topped roads to reduce washaways, bogging and dust on both urban and rural roads, originally using cobblestones and wooden paving in major western cities and in the early 20th century tar-bound macadam (tarmac) and concrete paving .
The history of rail transportation dates back nearly 500 years, and includes systems with man or horse power and rails of wood (or occasionally stone). This was usually for moving coal from the mine down to a river, from where it could continue by boat, with a flanged wheel running on a rail. The use of cast iron plates as rails began in the 1760s, and was followed by systems (plateways) where the flange was part of the rail. However, with the introduction of rolled wrought iron rails, these became obsolete.
Modern rail transport systems first appeared in England in the 1820s. These systems, which made use of the steam locomotive, were the first practical form of mechanized land transport, and they remained the primary form of mechanized land transport for the next 100 years.
The first passenger-carrying public railway was opened by the Swansea and Mumbles Railway at Oyster mouth in 1807, using horse-drawn carriages on an existing tramlines. In 1802, Richard Trevithick designed and built the first (unnamed) steam locomotive to run on smooth rails. British Railways, by name British Rail, former national railway system of Great Britain, created by the Transport Act of 1947, which inaugurated public ownership of the railroads. The first railroad built in Great Britain was the Stockton and Darlington, opened in 1825. It used a steam locomotive built by George Stephenson and was practical only for hauling minerals. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830, was the first modern railroad. It was a public carrier of both passengers and freight. By 1870 Britain had about 13,500 miles (21,700 km) of railroad. At the system’s greatest extent, in 1914, there were about 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of track, run by 120 competing companies. The British government combined all these companies into four main groups in 1923 as an economy measure.
In the stone ages primitive boats developed to permit navigation of rivers and for fishing in rivers and off the coast. It has been argued that boats suitable for a significant sea crossing were necessary for people to reach Australia an estimated 40,000-45,000 years ago. With the development of civilization, vessels evolved for expansion and generally grew in size for trade and war. In the Mediterranean, galleys were developed about 3000 BC. Polynesian double-hulled sailing vessels with advanced rigging were used between 1,300 BC and 900 BC by the Polynesian progeny of the Lapita culture to expand 6,000 km across open ocean from the Bismarck Archipelago east to Micronesia and, eventually Hawaii. Galleys were eventually rendered obsolete by ocean-going sailing ships, such as the Arabic caravel in the 13th century, the Chinese treasure ship in the early 15th century, and the Mediterranean man-of-war in the late 15th century.
Meanwhile, specialized craft were developed for river and canal transport. Canals were developed in Mesopotamia c. 4000 BC. The Indus Valley Civilization in Pakistan and North India (from c. 2600 BC) had the first canal irrigation system in the world. China's canal system, whose greatest accomplishment was the Sui Dynasty's 1,794-kilometer (1,115 mi) 7th-century Grand Canal between Hangzhou and Beijing, was an essential aspect of its civilization, used for irrigation, flood control, taxation, commercial and military transport, and colonization of new lands from the Zhou Dynasty until the end of the imperial era. Canals were developed in the Middle Ages in Europe in Venice and the Netherlands. Pierre-Paul Riquet began to organise the construction of the 240 km-long Canal du Midi in France in 1665 and it was opened in 1681. In the Industrial Revolution, inland canals were built in England and later the United States before the development of railways. Specialised craft were also developed for fishing and later whaling.Ramps for water were made in 1459
Humanity's desire to fly likely dates to the first time man observed birds, an observation illustrated in the legendary stories of Daedalus and Icarus in Greek mythology, and the Vimanas in Indian mythology. Much of the focus of early research was on imitating birds, but through trial and error, balloons, airships, gliders and eventually powered aircraft and other types of flying machines were invented.
Kites were the first form of man-made flying objects, and early records suggest that kites were around before 200 BC in China. Leonardo da Vinci's dream of flight found expression in several designs, but he did not attempt to demonstrate flight by literally constructing them.
During the 17th and 18th century, when scientists began analysing the Earth's atmosphere, gases such as hydrogen were discovered which in turn led to the invention of hydrogen balloons. Various theories in mechanics by physicists during the same period of time—notably fluid dynamics and Newton's laws of motion—led to the foundation of modern aerodynamics. Tethered balloons filled with hot air were used in the first half of the 19th century and saw considerable action in several mid-century wars, most notably the American Civil War, where balloons provided observation during the Siege of Petersburg.
Apart from some scattered reference in ancient and medieval records, resting on slender evidence and in need of interpretation, the earliest clearly verifiable human flight took place in Paris in 1783, when Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes went 5 miles (8.0 km) in a hot air balloon invented by the Montgolfier brothers. The Wright brothers made the first sustained, controlled and powered heavier-than-air flight on December 17, 1903, in their revolutionary aircraft, the Wright Flyer.
World War II saw a drastic increase in the pace of aircraft development and production. All countries involved in the war stepped up development and production of aircraft and flight-based weapon delivery systems, such as the first long-range bomber.
After the war ended, commercial aviation grew rapidly, using mostly ex-military aircraft to transport people and cargo. This growth was accelerated by the glut of heavy and super-heavy bomber airframes like the Lancaster that could be converted into commercial aircraft. The first commercial jet airliner to fly was the British De Havilland Comet. This marked the beginning of the Jet Age, a period of relatively cheap and fast international travel.
In the beginning of the 21st century, subsonic military aviation focused on eliminating the pilot in favor of remotely operated or completely autonomous vehicles. Several unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs have been developed. In April 2001 the unmanned aircraft Global Hawk flew from Edwards AFB in the US to Australia non-stop and unrefuelled. This is the longest point-to-point flight ever undertaken by an unmanned aircraft, and took 23 hours and 23 minutes. In October 2003 the first totally autonomous flight across the Atlantic by a computer-controlled model aircraft occurred. Major disruptions to air travel in the 21st Century included the closing of U.S. airspace following the September 11 attacks, and the closing of northern European airspace after the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.
The realistic dream of spaceflight dated back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, however Tsiolkovsky wrote in Russian, and this was not widely influential outside Russia. Spaceflight became an engineering possibility with the work of Robert H. Goddard's publication in 1919 of his paper 'A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes'; where his application of the de Laval nozzle to liquid-propellant rockets gave sufficient power that interplanetary travel became possible. This paper was highly influential on Hermann Oberth and Wernher von Braun, later key players in spaceflight.
The first human spaceflight was achieved with the Soviet space program's Vostok 1 mission in 1961. The lead architects behind the mission were Sergei Korolev and Kerim Kerimov, with Yuri Gagarin being the first astronaut. Kerimov later went on to launch the first space docks (Kosmos 186 and Kosmos 188) in 1967 and the first space stations (Salyut and Mir series) from 1971 to 1991. The first spaceflight to the Moon was achieved with NASA's Apollo 11 mission in 1969, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being the first astronauts on the Moon.
The thirteenth century saw the rise of the magnetic compass for overseas travel. Prior to its creation, seamen would have to rely on landmarks and stars as guides for navigation. The compass allowed sailors to plot a course, and using magnetic north as a reference, could travel through fog and overcast. This also led to shorter voyages, as they could plot more linear approaches to destinations. Portolan charts rose up, plotting this linear excursion routes, making sea navigation more accurate and efficient.
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