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## The History of Bungee Jumping: When and By Whom Was It Invented?

### Origins and Early Experiments

The origins of bungee jumping can be traced back to ancient rituals practiced by indigenous communities in various parts of the world. For centuries, people have performed daring leaps from high structures, using vines or ropes to cushion their impact.

One of the earliest documented bungee jumping traditions is the “land diving” ceremony practiced by the Pentecost Islanders in Vanuatu. During this ritual, young men jump from a 98-foot-tall wooden tower with vines tied to their ankles. They swing down to within a few feet of the ground before rebounding back to the tower.

In the late 18th century, European explorers witnessed similar practices in the South Pacific and brought back accounts of these rituals to the Western world.

### Modern Invention

The modern form of bungee jumping, as we know it today, was invented by a group of British adventurers in the 1970s. The pioneers of this sport include:

– **David Kirke:** A television cameraman who proposed the idea of using bungee cords for controlled jumps.
– **George Willis:** A steeplejack and bridge inspector who developed the first bungee equipment.
– **Simon Keeling:** A civil engineer who helped to test and perfect the equipment.

### The First Commercial Bungee Jump

On April 1, 1979, the trio of Kirke, Willis, and Keeling made history by performing the first commercial bungee jump from the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England. The jump was captured on film and broadcast on television, popularizing the sport and inspiring countless people around the world.

### Etymology of the Term

The term “bungee jumping” comes from the type of elastic cord used in the sport. Bungee cords are made of natural rubber or synthetic materials and are highly resistant to stretching. The term “jumping” refers to the act of leaping from a high platform while attached to the bungee cord.

### Global Popularity

Following its initial introduction in the United Kingdom, bungee jumping quickly spread to other countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and France. By the late 1990s, commercial bungee jumping operations were established in over 50 countries worldwide.

### Safety and Regulations

The rapid growth of bungee jumping led to concerns about safety. In the early days, there were several fatal accidents due to equipment failures or human error. To address these concerns, international safety standards were developed and implemented.

Today, bungee jumping is considered a relatively safe activity when performed by qualified operators using proper equipment and safety protocols.

### The Future of Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping continues to be a popular adventure sport, and new jumping sites are being developed worldwide. Some of the most iconic bungee jumping locations include:

– **Victoria Falls Bridge (Zambia/Zimbabwe)**
– **Cairns Rainforest (Australia)**
– **Macau Tower (Macau)**
– **Bloukrans Bridge (South Africa)**
– **Royal Gorge Bridge (United States)**

As technology advances, new innovations in bungee jumping equipment and techniques may emerge, opening up possibilities for even more thrilling and daring jumps.

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