The events that changed the history of our civilization.
The article details historical milestones, revolutionary ideas, and scientific innovations that transformed humanity.
From man’s discovery of fire to the use of the world’s most powerful weapon, this is a look at 14 events that changed military history.
1. Man discovers fire
1.4 million years ago
The first invention that separated humans in the modern world from their evolutionary ancestors was the voluntary lighting of fire. While earlier species, such as Homo erectus, made use of naturally occurring fires, Homo sapiens began to dominate the process of creating fire.
Its use had an immediate benefit, since it allowed humans to cook, and also provided light and heat. The creation of fire was the beginning of all other human technologies, paving the way for the forging of metals and the making of stronger tools.
2. Using the bow and arrow for the first time
15,000 years B.C. c.
Since the earliest examples of bows and arrows were probably made of perishable materials, the exact date of their first creation is unknown. The oldest bows are those of Holmegaard, found in Denmark, dating from approximately 9,000 years BC. c.
The bow and arrows were possibly developed to give humans an advantage in hunting animals. These weapons are thought to have been invented after earlier primitive projectiles such as spears and boomerangs.
However, bows were very quickly adapted for use as military instruments. National Geographic highlights that, for the year 5,400 a. C., arrows were already a fundamental element in military conflicts. The remains of English forts from that time show that those places were subjected to coordinated attacks by archers.
3. Application of the wheel
3,500 B.C. c.
Although it is still unclear when the first wheel was created, the discovery was already widely used by 3,500 BC. The idea of the wheel revolutionized many aspects of society, including transportation, the pottery wheel, and the development of the waterwheel. .
For 2,000 a. C., the wheel had also begun to transform armed conflicts. The Hittites were the first known civilization to use wagons, which connected a wheeled surface with horses, allowing for quick and effective mounted combat.
4. Beginning of the Iron Age
1,200 B.C. c.
Tempered iron began to be mass-produced by the Hittites around 1,400 BC. C. and, already in 1,200 a. C., the technology that dealt with the creation of iron began to spread from Asia Minor to Europe, Africa and Asia.
The advanced production of wrought iron, which created an incredibly durable material, changed the way humanity propagated. The iron utensils allowed the growth of agriculture, causing a growth of the population. Likewise, iron weapons and armor replaced previous metals, such as bronze, allowing iron civilizations to spread more easily into neighboring territories.
5. The incorporation of concrete as a construction material
200 B.C. c.
Around 200 B.C. C., the Romans had developed a method for the production of concrete. Remarkably strong and waterproof, the Romans used concrete for everything from building temples and public forums to building their famous aqueducts.
Concrete also helped the Romans continue their military and cultural domination of the regions of the world that were under their control. Concrete allowed the Romans to develop a vast network of passable roads. In addition, concrete was used in the construction of docks and ports that would further spread the influence of Rome.
6. The development of just war theory
426 d. c.
In 426 AD C., San Agustin de Hipona published his work «The city of God». The book contained reflections on how war, which was antithetical to the pacifist values of Christianity, can sometimes be justified.
His thinking laid the foundations for the just war theory, which was conceived by the Italian philosopher Saint Thomas Aquinas in the mid-13th century. The writings of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas are the origin of the fact that, today, a conflict can be seen as a “just war”.
According to National Geographic, just wars “must be openly declared by an appropriate authority…they must be justly motivated; and its ultimate goal must be to establish a just peace».
7. Precise navigation
Until 1569, navigation on vast expanses of water was a difficult and tedious business. Navigators had to constantly take compass readings and adjust course to compensate for the unreliability of the maps of the time.
The Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator created a map of the world consisting of systematically spaced parallel lines of longitude, along with lines of latitude of varying width. This method of cartography, which is still used to draw today’s maps and which offers a distorted view near the poles, allowed navigators to easily and accurately plot their course.
This advancement allowed navigation to become much easier, helping fuel exploration of the world and the expansion of Europe.
8. Beginning of the industrial revolution
The use of iron and steel, together with the discovery of new sources of energy, gave impetus to the industrial revolution, which began in England in the 18th century.
At the same time, the creation of the steam engine by Thomas Newcomen in 1712 represented a radical change in the field of logistics, since it introduced a system that required less human energy, while increasing the efficiency of transport and production. .
Other important innovations were the steamboat, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, the radio, and the organization of work (the industrial production system).
9. Development of telecommunications
On March 7, 1876, the US Patent Office granted Alexander Graham Bell what is considered “one of the most valuable patents in history.” Three days later, Bell used his device to say to his assistant, who was in another room, “Mr. Watson, come here. I need him».
Telecommunications spread throughout the country, and in 1927 the first international calls were made.
Currently, the total number of mobile phone subscribers worldwide (7 billion) is approaching the number of people on Earth.
10. Manned flight
Although the Wright brothers’ flight in their Flyer aircraft lasted only 12 seconds, it was the achievement of controlling and piloting a heavier-than-air machine for the first time.
The Wright brothers perfected their design, and the aircraft came to perform reconnaissance missions during the First World War (1914-1918).
According to National Geographic, the British and Italians designed the first bomber planes in 1913. Less than a year later, France began fitting machine guns to its planes. Currently, the US has approximately 13,000 military aircraft. By comparison, China and Russia, the next largest air powers, only have between 2,000 and 3,000 military aircraft each.
11. The Manhattan project and the most powerful weapon known to man
A month before the start of World War II, the German genius Albert Einstein wrote a two-page letter that catapulted the United States into a nuclear race against the Nazis.
In his 1939 letter, Einstein warned President Franklin D. Roosevelt that a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium could lead to the construction of “an extremely powerful bomb of a new type,” the atomic bomb.
Two years later, the US created the Manhattan Project, America’s plan to design and build the most devastating weapon ever produced.
On August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am, the world entered the atomic age with the release of the most powerful weapon known to man. This nuclear weapon, used in war for the first time, fell for 44.4 seconds, before dropping approximately 12,500 tons of TNT on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
12. An unprecedented space race
In 1954, Russia proposed to build an artificial satellite, and within three years the first satellite, Sputnik 1, was orbiting the Earth.
German aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun worked with the US military to get the Explorer 1 satellite launched into space a year later, in 1958.
Three years later, Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, prompting the US to up the challenge and commit to sending the first man to the moon, which took place on July 20. from 1969.
Private companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which have closely followed early space exploration, are now creating platforms for space tourism.
13. The Internet Revolution
The world entered the unprecedented age of the Internet when British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the world-wide network WWW (for its acronym in English) in the late 1960s.
Lee developed “software capable of creating links between all the linked files on a computer, and before long he was able to establish links between computers, so that users could share files without a database” according to National Geographic.
In 1991, Lee made the software public, and since then, more than 3 billion people have used the Internet.
14. Regenerative medicine
The first big step toward regenerating damaged organs or amputated limbs came in 1999, when Wake Forest doctors were able to grow a new bladder in a patient.
Since then, researchers have developed more complex techniques.
“Even the brain, once considered out of reach for this kind of tissue regeneration, done with stem cells from liver and bone, is now in the spotlight. Neural stem cell research, which alone is already capable of restoring neurons lost by a stroke patient, could lead to technical innovations in treating diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”
Regenerative medicine also offers hope for war veterans returning wounded from combat zones.