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c. 2000
B. C.
First written record of a shipwreck

An unnamed Egyptian mariner wrote this record doesn't tell us his name, but he tells us that he is the only survivor out of a crew of 120 men. He also tells us his ship's dimensions were 180 feet long with a beam of 60 feet and that she was carrying a cargo of copper ore.

c. 1500
B. C.
Queen Hatshepsut sends ships into the Red Sea on trading voyages

After a period of warfare and invasions, the powerful Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut began sending fleets of cargo vessels south to trade Egyptian tools and other finished goods along the coast of Africa. Ivory, gold, incense, exotic woods, and other raw materials made the return voyage in Hatshepsut's ships, making Egypt one of the world's first great commercial powers.

c. 500
B. C.
Greek trireme emerges

The trireme was far superior to all other types of Mediterranean vessels that preceeded it. Developed just prior to the Greek - Persian Wars, the new vessel type was rapidly adopted by all Mediterranean seafaring peoples.Ancient coins bearing pictures of ships are amongst the most popular with collectors today.

B. C.
Via Appia (Appian Way) built between Rome and Capua

Built by the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus, this well-engineered Roman road was constructed of large paving blocks fitted together and laid over a foundation of smaller rock and gravel. Roman roads made it possible for people and goods to move easily between the provinces of the growing empire. The Via Appia was so well engineered and built that parts of it still serve the modern people of the region.

B. C.
Julian Calendar Introduced

The Julian calendar, named for Julius Caesar, was introduced by him for use in by the Roman people and Senate while he was Dictator. The calendar was based on a 365 1/4 day year and was derived from a much older Egyptian calendar with a 365 day year. The earlier Roman calendar which the Julian Calendar replaced was based on 12 equal lunar months, each of which corresponded to a complete lunar cycle or orbit of the moon around the Earth. Many societies, both ancient and modern, have used a lunar calendar and some modern nations still reckon time this way. The problem arises because the lunar month is only 29 1/2 days long and each lunar year was only 354 days instead of 365 1/4 days, 11 minutes, and about 14 seconds which is the actual length of a solar year. The years soon got out of step with the days until the months for planting, harvest, holidays, and other events were coming at the wrong seasons. The Julian calendar of 365 days was so good that a correction only had to be made every several years. It served the Western world well up until Pope Gregory changed the calendar again in 1582.

c. A. D. 861 Nordic seafarers discover Iceland

Lying about 600 miles from Norway and about 200 from Greenland in the North Atlantic, Iceland served as an outpost of exploration between the two countries.

A. D. 985 Eric the Red discovers Greenland

Eric the Red, a Norwegian explorer, took several boatloads of colonists and left the Norwegian settlement of Iceland to found two colonies in Greenland. The east coast of Greenland, which was closer to Iceland than the West coast, was covered with ice. this made it necessary for the colonists to round the southern tip of Greenland and found their colonies on the western side of the peninsula.

1001 Leif Ericksson lands in North America

In the first year after the close of the First Millennium A. D., Leif Ericksson set foot on what would in later years be referred to as the New World. There is much historical evidence that Ericksson was not the first European to sail to North America. This honor may belong to an Irish Monk named St. Brendan. Contrary to the situation with another famous explorer who would make the trip 491 years later, Leif Ericksson did not believe that he had reached China, Cipango, or any other Asian nation.

1582 Gregorian Calendar adopted in the West

The Gregorian Calendar was developed to make a tiny but important refinement to the Julian calendar, which had been instituted by Julius Caesar in 46 or 45 B. C., depending on how one calculates the year. Since the Julian Calendar disagreed with the true solar year by 11 minutes and 14 seconds, by 1582 Easter and the vernal equinox were coming ten days too late. To fix this situation, Pope Gregory XIII dropped 10 days from the year 1582 to make the vernal equinox fall on March 21. This official action on the part of the Catholic Church had an interesting side effect. The common people, most of whom understood little of mathematics and were quite superstitious and unaccustomed to thinking logically. There was massive discontent because they believed that Pope Gregory had shortened their lives by ten days and that, because certain days did not come that year, their crops would not have time to grow to harvest or blessings timed to arrive on a certain day wouldn't show up. Because the people thought that these ten days were lost forever, they almost rioted in several cities. In order to put this kind of reasoning into perspective, it is only necessary to perform a simple experiment. Take a standard yardstick and cut ten inches out of the middle of it, then glue or tape it back together, being careful to make the cut edges meet squarely. Next, stand up straight with your toes and your nose against the wall. Have a friend take an unmodified yardstick and carefully measure the distance from the floor to your bellybutton. Next, have the friend perform the same measurement with the yardstick having the middle cut out. Now, using the two measurements, calculate how much higher your tooshie is off the ground than it was a few moments ago! The Gregorian Calendar was adopted in England in 1752 and in Russia in 1918.

1769 James Watt invents first practical steam engine

Incorporating several of his own innovations and improvements with an earlier steam pump invented by Thomas Newcomen, Watt produced the first workable engine in 1769. Watt's engine transferred the up - and - down motion of a piston moved by steam pressure into rotary motion using gears (later, he used a crank). Watt also devised a means of condensing the steam back to water using a condenser cooled with water. The earlier Newcomen engine had used a spray of water into the cylinder to condense the steam and allow air pressure to push the piston down. Watt's method was much more efficient because the cylinder could be kept hot and the pressure of the steam, rather than the air, did the work.

1783 First practical steamboat demonstrated.

After an earlier failure in 1774, the French Marquis Claude Francois de Jouffroy d'Abbans built a paddle wheel steamboat whose first voyage, near Lyons, lasted fifteen minutes traveling upriver. The boat, named Pyroscaphe, was 148.5 feet long and displaced 182 tons.

1801 Richard Trevithick builds first steam railway locomotive.

Trevithick had built a high pressure steam engine in 1796 and actually hauled passengers in a steam powered wagon on Christmas Eve, 1801. Trevithick's railway locomotive was used to haul coal and iron. It would be another 21 years before the first regular steam passenger service was inaugurated.

1807 First steamboat to offer regular passenger service

American entrepreneur and inventor Robert Fulton's Clermont began regularly carrying passengers for profit on the Hudson River between Albany and New York.

1825 First regular railroad passenger service

In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway inaugurated regular passenger service in England. Passenger service began in the United States in 1830 when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began service between Baltimore and Ellicot's Mills, sixteen miles to the west

1829 First steam railroad locomotive in the United States

In 1829, the Stourbridge Lion and three other locomotives arrived in the United States, having been shipped from England in unassembled form. Though powerful enough, their rigid frames proved unsuitable for rough American roadbeds and sharp curves.

1858 Steamship Great Eastern launched.

By far the largest vessel built up until this time, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Eastern was destined to be haunted by tragic accidents and bring financial loss to her owners. Fully 692 feet long, her length was not to be surpassed for the next forty - one years.

1885 First gasoline powered automobile

This first prototype was a three wheeled vehicle with tiller steering. Benz went on to manufacture and sell his new invention. Interestingly, the automobile never held the speed record for the fastest vehicle carrying a human being. By the time the automobile was able to travel faster than the fastest railroad locomotive, it had irretrievably lost out to the airplane.

1903 First manned, powered flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright

The problem of heavier - than - air flight as a means of human transportation had fascinated inventors ever since Classical times. Leonardo da Vinci had designed an ornithopter, or flapping wing machine in the Thirteenth Century that modern engineers say might have flown had there been a suitably powerful lightweight engine available. During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, many inventors had been working on the numerous technical obstacles challenging any would - be pilots. Among these pioneers were Otto Lillienthal and Samuel Pierpont Langley. Both of these men built prototypes which successfully flew.

In December, 1903 the Wright brothers flew their first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. They each made two flights, the longest of which was longer than 800 feet and lasted 59 seconds. Two years later, they made a flight of over 24 miles. Since that time, progress in aviation has always been a team effort to which many men and women have contributed with their research and long years of work.

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