|History of Boats|
Today, we tend to take boats for granted. However, their invention changed the world of travel, commerce and even war. Long ago, locating and settling near a water source would mean the difference between life and death. People still enjoy living near the water but for much different reasons. In the past, close proximity to water made it easier for people to collect water for drinking, bathing and cleaning. Farmlands located near water were typically more fertile and conducive to crop growth. The ability to travel via water would be a challenge that the ancients would take on and eventually master. There is evidence that boat travel was used for transportation and travel in as early as 130,000 years ago in Crete. While there is no definitive evidence to prove this, there is circumstantial evidence.
Many people believe that the earliest boats were log boats. These would have been simple enough to make and the tools necessary to do so, pretty rudimentary. Archaeological digs uncovered log boats that were dated as far back as 10,000 years ago. The Pesse canoe is a familiar name amongst archaeologists and those familiar with the history of boats and boating. The wood used to construct the canoe was from the Pinus sylvestris. Construction of the boat is believed to have taken place sometime between 8200 B.C. and 7600 B.C. The vessel was made from a hallowed out tree trunk.
Boats were also used in ancient Egypt, sometime between 4000 BCE and 3000 BCE., where they were used for transport and travel along the country’s major rivers, particularly the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates. Known as Byblos boats, they were named after a Mediterranean port of the same name, where Egyptians purchased cedar for the construction of their boats and other structures. Egyptian boats were long and required lots of manpower for rowing. Eventually, sails, made from cotton, were added to the vessels.
Water transport for the purpose of commerce became quite common between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilization. Later, around 1200 B.C., the Greeks and the Phoenicians began to use larger boats. By 500 B.C., the boats were about 100 feet, constructed with dual masts and able to carry up to 200 tons.
The Romans would continue the tradition of seafaring. Their boats were typically 180 ft. by 45 feet and could carry 1000 people and 1000 pounds of goods.
Vikings would take over the seas between the 8th and 11th centuries. They would use their 80 feet by 17 feet boats, mostly for raiding and pillaging other country’s ships. However, they would also do a little trading.
Today, boats are still used for the purpose of trading and transportation. The construction of modern day boats, are, however, substantially different. Long gone are the hallowed out tree trunks, at least for mass usage. Smaller, private vessels are used for leisure travel. Ferryboats transport people for short distances, while cruise ships carry thousands of people at a time to exotic locales. Large shipping barges take goods from one country to the next.
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