History of travelling

I was always curious about the reason people started to travel. Was it for pure leisure? To relax? Or to learn about new cultures, and find themselves along the way?

I wanted to chaise the reason all the way to its source – to the first travellers. And hopped to find out what was the initial motivation for people to travel.

According to linguists, the word ‘travel’ was first used in the 14th century. However, people started to travel much earlier.

While looking at the history of travelling and the reasons people started to travel, I wanted to distinguish the difference between travellers and explorers. Most of the time, when thinking about travel in history, people like Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus are coming to mind. However, they weren’t really travellers in a modern sense. They were explorers and researchers. So, to really learn about how people started to travel, I wanted to focus on ordinary people. Travellers like you and me, if you wish.

Romans and their roads

Old Roman road, history of travelling

First people who started to travel for enjoyment only were, I’m sure you won’t be surprised, old Romans. Wealthy Romans would often go to their summer villas. And it was purely for leisure. They could, of course, start doing that because they invented something quite crucial for travelling – roads. Well developed network of roads was the reason they could travel safely and quickly.

However, there is another reason that motivated people in Antiquity to travel. And I was quite amazed when I learned about it.

It was a desire to learn. They believed travelling is an excellent way to learn about other cultures, by observing their art, architecture and listening to their languages.

Sounds familiar? It seems like Romans were the first culture tourists.

Travelling during the Middle Ages

It may come by surprise, but people started to wander more during the Middle Ages. And most of those journeys were pilgrimages.

Religion was the centre of life back in the Middle Ages. And the only things that connected this world with the saints people were worshipping, were the relics of saints. Pilgrims would often travel to another part of the country, or even Europe to visit some of the sacred places.

The most popular destinations for all those pilgrims was Santiago de Compostela, located in northwest Spain. People would travel for thousands of kilometres to reach it. To make a journey a bit easier for them, and to earn money from the newly developed tourism, many guest houses opened along the way. Pilgrims would often visit different towns and churches on their way, and while earning a ticket to heaven, do some sightseeing, as well.

Wealthy people were travelling in the caravans or by using the waterways. What’s changing in the Middle Ages was that travel wasn’t reserved only for the rich anymore. Lower classes are starting to travel, as well. They were travelling on foot, sleeping next to the roads or at some affordable accommodations. And were motivated by religious purposes.

TIP: You can still find many of those old pilgrim’s routes in Europe. When in old parts of the cities (especially in Belgium and the Netherlands), look for the scallop shells on the roads. They will lead you to the local Saint-Jacob’s churches. Places dedicated to that saint were always linked to pilgrims and served as stops on their long journeys. In some cities, like in Antwerp, you can follow the scallop shell trails even today.

Below you can see one of the scallop shells on a street and Saint-Jacques Church in Tournai, Belgium.

Saint Jacques church in Tournai Belgium

Pilgrim scallop shell from Tournai in Belgium

Grand Tours of the 17th century

More impoverished people continued to travel for religious reasons during the following centuries. However, a new way of travelling appeared among wealthy people in Europe.

Grand tours are becoming quite fashionable among the young aristocrats at the beginning of the 17th century. As a part of their education (hmmm… culture tourists, again?) they would go on a long journey during which they were visiting famous European cities. Such as London, Paris, Rome or Venice, and were learning about their art, history and architecture.

Later on, those grand tours became more structured, and they were following precisely the same route. Often, young students would be accompanied by an educational tutor. And just to make the things easier for them, they were allowed to have their servants with them, too.

One of those young aristocrats was a young emperor, Peter the Great of Russia. He travelled around western Europe and has spent a significant amount of his time in the Netherlands. The architecture of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities definitely inspired a layout of the new city he has built – Saint Petersburg. So, travelling definitely remains an essential part of education since Roman times.

The railway system and beginning of modern travel in the 19th century

Old train, history of travelling

Before the railway system was invented, people mostly travelled on foot (budget travel) or by water (the first-class travel at that time). However, when in the 1840s, an extensive network of railways was built, people started to travel for fun.

Mid-19th century definitely marks a real beginning of modern tourism. It’s the time when the middle class started to grow. And they have found a way to travel easily around Europe.

It’s coming by no surprise that the first travel agency, founded by Thomas Cook in England, was established at that time, too. He was using recently developed trains together with a network of hotels to organise his first group trips.

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History of travelling in the 20th century

Since then, things started to move quickly. With the development of transportation, travelling became much more accessible. Dutch ships would need around a year to travel from Amsterdam to Indonesia. Today, for the same trip, we need less than a day on a plane.

After the Second World War, with the rise of air travel, people started to travel more and more. And with the internet and all the cool apps we have on our smartphones, it’s easier than ever to move and navigate your way in a new country. Mass tourism developed in the 1960s. But, with the new millennium, we started to face the over-tourism.

We can be anywhere in the world in less than two days. And although it’s a great privilege of our time, it also bears some responsibilities. However, maybe the key is to learn from history again and do what old Romans did so well. Travel to learn, explore local history and art, and be true culture tourists.

The History of Airplanes and Flight

Airbus A380

Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were the inventors of the first airplane. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers launched the era of human flight when they successfully tested a flying vehicle that took off by its own power, flew naturally at even speeds, and descended without damage.

By definition, an airplane is simply any aircraft with a fixed wing powered by propellers or jets, which is an important thing to remember when considering the Wright brothers’ invention as the father of modern airplanes. While many people are used to this form of transportation as we’ve seen it today, airplanes have taken many forms throughout history.

Before the Wright brothers took their first flight in 1903, other inventors had made numerous attempts to make like the birds and fly. Among these earlier efforts were contraptions such as kites, hot air balloons, airships, gliders and other types of aircraft. While some progress was made, everything changed when the Wright brothers decided to tackle the problem of manned flight.

Early Tests and Unmanned Flights

In 1899, after Wilbur Wright had written a letter of request to the Smithsonian Institution for information about flight experiments, he, along with his brother Orville Wright designed their first aircraft. It was a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test their solution for controlling the craft by wing warping—a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance.

The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping or changing the shape of a portion of the wing.

Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville would design a series of gliders that would be flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley and Langley and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider. They selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location. In the year 1900, the Wright brothers successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk in both unmanned and piloted flights.

Continued Testing on Manned Flights

In fact, it was the first piloted glider. Based on the results, the Wright Brothers planned to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger glider.

In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown. It had a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. However, many problems occurred. The wings did not have enough lifting power, the forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch, and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control.

To their disappointment, the Wright Brothers predicted that man will probably not fly in their lifetime. Still, in spite of the problems with their last attempts at flight, the Wright brothers reviewed their test results and determined that the calculations they had used were not reliable. They then planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it.

The First Manned Flight

In 1902, the Wright brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and so they connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns—with successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft.

After months of studying how propellers work, the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer.

The Wright brothers then built a movable track to help launch the Flyer by giving it enough airspeed to take off and stay afloat. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903—the first successfully-powered and piloted flight in history.

As part of the Wright Brothers’ systematic practice of photographing every prototype and test of their various flying machines, they had persuaded an attendant from a nearby lifesaving station to snap Orville Wright in full flight. After making two longer flights that day, Orville and Wilbur Wright sent a telegram to their father, instructing him to inform the press that manned flight had taken place. This was the birth of the first real airplane.

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First Armed Flights: Another Wright Invention

The U.S. Government bought its first airplane, a Wright Brothers biplane, on July 30, 1909. The airplane sold for $25,000 plus a bonus of $5,000 because it exceeded 40 miles per hour.

In 1912, an airplane designed by the Wright brothers was armed with a machine gun and flown at an airport in College Park, Maryland as the first armed flight in the world. The airport had existed since 1909 when the Wright Brothers took their government-purchased airplane there to teach Army officers to fly.

On July 18, 1914, an Aviation Section of the Signal Corps (part of the Army) was established, and its flying unit contained airplanes made by the Wright Brothers as well as some made by their chief competitor, Glenn Curtiss.

That same year, the U.S. Court has decided in favor of the Wright Brothers in a patent suit against Glenn Curtiss. The issue concerned lateral control of aircraft, for which the Wrights maintained they held patents. Although Curtiss’s invention, ailerons (French for “little wing”), was far different from the Wrights’ wing-warping mechanism, the Court determined that use of lateral controls by others was “unauthorized” by patent law.

Airplane Advancements After the Wright Brothers

In 1911, the Wrights’ Vin Fiz was the first airplane to cross the United States. The flight took 84 days, stopping 70 times. It crash-landed so many times that little of its original building materials were still on the plane when it arrived in California. The Vin Fiz was named after a grape soda made by the Armour Packing Company.

After the Wright Brothers, inventors continued to improve airplanes. This led to the invention of jets, which are used by both the military and commercial airlines. A jet is an airplane propelled by jet engines. Jets fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes, some as high as 10,000 to 15,000 meters (about 33,000 to 49,000 feet). Two engineers, Frank Whittle of the United Kingdom and Hans von Ohain of Germany, are credited with the development of the jet engine during the late 1930s.

Since then, some firms have developed electric aircraft that run on electric motors rather than internal combustion engines. The electricity comes from alternative fuel sources such as fuel cells, solar cells, ultracapacitors, power beaming and batteries. While the technology is in its infancy, some production models are already on the market.

Another area of exploration is with rocket-powered aircraft. These airplanes use engines that run on rocket propellant for propulsion, allowing them to soar at higher speeds and achieve faster acceleration. For example, an early rocket-powered aircraft called the Me 163 Komet was deployed by the Germans during World War II. The Bell X-1 rocket plane was the first plane to break the sound barrier in 1947.

Currently, the North American X-15 holds the world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a manned, powered aircraft. More adventurous firms have also begun experimenting with rocket-powered propulsion such as SpaceShipOne, designed by American aerospace engineer Burt Rutan and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

The History of Airplanes and Flight

Airbus A380

Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were the inventors of the first airplane. On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers launched the era of human flight when they successfully tested a flying vehicle that took off by its own power, flew naturally at even speeds, and descended without damage.

By definition, an airplane is simply any aircraft with a fixed wing powered by propellers or jets, which is an important thing to remember when considering the Wright brothers’ invention as the father of modern airplanes. While many people are used to this form of transportation as we’ve seen it today, airplanes have taken many forms throughout history.

Before the Wright brothers took their first flight in 1903, other inventors had made numerous attempts to make like the birds and fly. Among these earlier efforts were contraptions such as kites, hot air balloons, airships, gliders and other types of aircraft. While some progress was made, everything changed when the Wright brothers decided to tackle the problem of manned flight.

Early Tests and Unmanned Flights

In 1899, after Wilbur Wright had written a letter of request to the Smithsonian Institution for information about flight experiments, he, along with his brother Orville Wright designed their first aircraft. It was a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test their solution for controlling the craft by wing warping—a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance.

The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping or changing the shape of a portion of the wing.

Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville would design a series of gliders that would be flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley and Langley and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve.

Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider. They selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location. In the year 1900, the Wright brothers successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk in both unmanned and piloted flights.

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Continued Testing on Manned Flights

In fact, it was the first piloted glider. Based on the results, the Wright Brothers planned to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger glider.

In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown. It had a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. However, many problems occurred. The wings did not have enough lifting power, the forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch, and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control.

To their disappointment, the Wright Brothers predicted that man will probably not fly in their lifetime. Still, in spite of the problems with their last attempts at flight, the Wright brothers reviewed their test results and determined that the calculations they had used were not reliable. They then planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it.

The First Manned Flight

In 1902, the Wright brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and so they connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns—with successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft.

After months of studying how propellers work, the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer.

The Wright brothers then built a movable track to help launch the Flyer by giving it enough airspeed to take off and stay afloat. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903—the first successfully-powered and piloted flight in history.

As part of the Wright Brothers’ systematic practice of photographing every prototype and test of their various flying machines, they had persuaded an attendant from a nearby lifesaving station to snap Orville Wright in full flight. After making two longer flights that day, Orville and Wilbur Wright sent a telegram to their father, instructing him to inform the press that manned flight had taken place. This was the birth of the first real airplane.

First Armed Flights: Another Wright Invention

The U.S. Government bought its first airplane, a Wright Brothers biplane, on July 30, 1909. The airplane sold for $25,000 plus a bonus of $5,000 because it exceeded 40 miles per hour.

In 1912, an airplane designed by the Wright brothers was armed with a machine gun and flown at an airport in College Park, Maryland as the first armed flight in the world. The airport had existed since 1909 when the Wright Brothers took their government-purchased airplane there to teach Army officers to fly.

On July 18, 1914, an Aviation Section of the Signal Corps (part of the Army) was established, and its flying unit contained airplanes made by the Wright Brothers as well as some made by their chief competitor, Glenn Curtiss.

That same year, the U.S. Court has decided in favor of the Wright Brothers in a patent suit against Glenn Curtiss. The issue concerned lateral control of aircraft, for which the Wrights maintained they held patents. Although Curtiss’s invention, ailerons (French for “little wing”), was far different from the Wrights’ wing-warping mechanism, the Court determined that use of lateral controls by others was “unauthorized” by patent law.

Airplane Advancements After the Wright Brothers

In 1911, the Wrights’ Vin Fiz was the first airplane to cross the United States. The flight took 84 days, stopping 70 times. It crash-landed so many times that little of its original building materials were still on the plane when it arrived in California. The Vin Fiz was named after a grape soda made by the Armour Packing Company.

After the Wright Brothers, inventors continued to improve airplanes. This led to the invention of jets, which are used by both the military and commercial airlines. A jet is an airplane propelled by jet engines. Jets fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes, some as high as 10,000 to 15,000 meters (about 33,000 to 49,000 feet). Two engineers, Frank Whittle of the United Kingdom and Hans von Ohain of Germany, are credited with the development of the jet engine during the late 1930s.

Since then, some firms have developed electric aircraft that run on electric motors rather than internal combustion engines. The electricity comes from alternative fuel sources such as fuel cells, solar cells, ultracapacitors, power beaming and batteries. While the technology is in its infancy, some production models are already on the market.

Another area of exploration is with rocket-powered aircraft. These airplanes use engines that run on rocket propellant for propulsion, allowing them to soar at higher speeds and achieve faster acceleration. For example, an early rocket-powered aircraft called the Me 163 Komet was deployed by the Germans during World War II. The Bell X-1 rocket plane was the first plane to break the sound barrier in 1947.

Currently, the North American X-15 holds the world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a manned, powered aircraft. More adventurous firms have also begun experimenting with rocket-powered propulsion such as SpaceShipOne, designed by American aerospace engineer Burt Rutan and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

Source https://culturetourist.com/cultural-tourism/history-of-travelling-how-people-started-to-travel/

Source https://www.thoughtco.com/airplanes-flight-history-1991789

Source https://www.thoughtco.com/airplanes-flight-history-1991789#:~:text=Orville%20and%20Wilbur%20Wright%20were%20the%20inventors%20of,naturally%20at%20even%20speeds,%20and%20descended%20without%20damage.

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