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A World History of Transportation, 1810-1910

Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Kim, Dong Hwan
Term Paper, AP World History Class, December 2010

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Definition
II.1 Term 'Transportation'
II.2 Selection Criteria for Transportation
II.3 Selection Results of Transportation
III. Method of Study
III.1 Goal of Study
III.2 Overview of Approach
IV. Transportation in West Europe
IV.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in West Europe
IV.2 Water Transportation
IV.3 Land Transportation
V. Transportation in North Africa
V.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in North Africa
V.2 Water Transportation
V.3 Land Transportation
VI. Transportation in East Asia
VI.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in East Asia
VI.2 Water Transportation
VI.3 Land Transportation
VII. Transportation in South Asia
VII.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in South Asia
VII.2 Water Transportation
VII.3 Land Transportation
VIII. Transportation in North America
VIII.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in North America
VIII.2 Water Transportation
VIII.3 Land Transportation
IX. Overall Judgment on Transportation between Regions
X. Conclusion

I. Introduction
            Human life has evolved along with the development of transportation. Both inside and outside of a certain region, improved transport provides more effective and active exchanges in cultural and economic aspects. Accordingly, major transitions in the field have led significant and various changes in our society. However, not only does it affect human life, it is also greatly influenced by social and cultural events of the region. In this paper, thus, thorough reorganization and examination of transportation in selected regions will be covered, with overall judgment of the topic between the regions.

II. Definition

II.1 Term 'Transportation'
            According to Oxford English dictionary, transport is defined as 'a system or means of conveying people or goods from place to place.' (1) Merriam-Webster's dictionary also provides us a more detailed definition with major purposes of transportation, saying that it is a 'means of conveyance or travel from one place to another and a public conveyance of passengers or goods especially as a commercial enterprise.' (2) Considering these definitions, the term 'transportation' refers to any means of carrying people or products for multiple purposes such as trade and travel, including various types, for instance, railroads, automobile, canal, ship, etc.

II.2 Selection Criteria for Transportation
            Among various types of transportation from resources, those which meet the following four criteria properly have been selected as a focus of this paper.
                A. Time - The means played an important role as a type of transportation in the given period, from 1810 to 1910.
                B. Place - The means was regarded as a major type of transportation in the selected regions for the paper: West Europe, East Europe, East Asia, South Asia, and North America.
                C. Significance - The means shows us its significant impacts of leading social and cultural changes in the time period and the regions of the paper.
                D. Coverage - The means is covered in the resources with sufficient amount of information and details so that it can be used as a focus of the paper.
            The criteria A, B, and C are applied only when a certain means of transportation meets the criterion D. That is, when there is enough information about the topic, then the other criteria evaluating the quality of information are considered.
            Since air transportation was not developed enough compared to other transport systems, and not used by people frequently in the given time period, only land and water transportation will be covered in this paper.

II.3 Selection Results
            After filtering many types of transportation with the criteria above, following transport systems have been selected to be covered in this paper.
                Land Transportation - Railroads, Carriages, Bicycles, and Automobiles
                Water Transportation - Ship Transport including Steamships and Canals
            Due to lack of specific information on the each transportation in the selected regions, a certain region may not have thorough examination of every type of transport system mentioned above. Thus, for those regions, only the available enough will be covered in the paper.
            Even though bicycles had gone through its development until the invention of 'safety bicycles', and were regarded as popular transportation from the late 19th century, they are selected to be covered in this paper. They have met the criteria D and C respectively; enough amount of useful information is available, and its significance in leading social and cultural changes is hard to be neglected.

III Method of Study

III.1 Goal of Study
            This paper attempts to examine history of transportation from 1810 to 1910 in various regions by studying impacts of it towards society and social and cultural influences affecting transport in certain regions. This is also a process of gathering and categorizing previously scattered information on the world history of transportation in the given period, so that it can be easier and more accessible to compare the topic between the selected regions.

III.2 Overview of Approach
            This paper is written by following four steps in general, which are
                1. Thorough reading of internet and written text resources on the topic
                2. Deciding major kinds of transportation to cover by the selection criteria above
                3. Organizing the filtered information under the selected regions and examining influence and significance of the transport systems
                4. Creating overall comparison chart of each transportation between the selected regions

IV. Transportation in West Europe

IV.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in West Europe
            19th Western Europe was full of changes in cultural and social aspects, along with the significant changes in political systems.
            The concept of individual freedom in a society had been developed by many scholars and philosophers, and along with the American Revolution and French Revolution in the late 18th century, the idea became internalized by the public much more than before. Also, imperialism emerged not merely as a political system but as an influential social ideology to many nations including Britain and France.
            Especially in the Crimean War, new scientific achievements were applied during the war as a part of tactical military technology.
            Most importantly, regarding the topic of this paper, the Industrial Revolution took place as a major social and cultural movement in West Europe, bringing significant changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transport, and technology. As an extension of the First Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the late 18th century, the Second Industrial Revolution continued to spread throughout Western Europe and North America until the early 20th century.

IV.2 Water Transportation
            Canal system in Western Europe went through important changes during the time period of this paper. In the 18th century, canals were praised as the future of world's transportation, especially because of its great capacity for transporting raw materials and bulk goods. However, they began to be threatened by the emergence of railroads and steam-powered locomotives in the early 19th century. At first, railroad and canal construction went on simultaneously, since there was at least clear distinction between roles of the two; while still underdeveloped railway system was apt for conveying people or small and light products, canal system was mainly effective in bulk products and natural resources required in heavy industry. However, railroad network grew much faster than the network of canals, making the word 'Canal Mania' no longer appropriate for the latter half of the 19th century. While canals such as Manchester Ship Canal were still frequently used, some canal companies were taken over by railroad companies. In the early 20th century, the canal transportation also suffered from the competition with the road construction. However, many notable sea canals were completed in this period, including Suez Canal (2a) and the Kiel Canal.
            Steamships were introduced in Western Europe at about the same time when other steam-powered locomotives were actively studied in order to provide more efficient transportation system. Due to the fact that they require same technology on steam engine, studies on the steamships were also actively practiced along with steam-powered trains. In the late 19th century, especially transatlantic steamships were developed further with its tonnage multiplied more than 100 times than before. These steamships started to replace the original role of massive conveyance by sailing ships, also contributing to much more accessibility to foreign lands, considering imperialism in the period by Western European forces.

IV.3 Land Transportation
            Europeans used carriage transportation far more often and on a much larger scale than anywhere else in the world. (3) Carriages were a popular means of transport for passengers, goods and mail well into the 19th century with different designs and structures. Among various kinds of carriage, 'coaches', large, usually closed, four-wheeled carriages with two or more horses harnessed as a team, controlled by a coachman, were frequently used in the given time period of the paper. Even though studies of new scientific breakthroughs in transport system, such as the study of steam powered vehicles, were active, coaches still remained as one of the most popular transportation in the West Europe for some time. However, in the late 19th century, coaches or carriages started to lose their previous status as major transportation. Due to the improvement of steam engine into a more refined and accessible locomotive force, the traditional animal-powered carriage transportation was exceeded by the new steam-powered vehicles on the criteria of efficiency in conveying people or products within a short time.
            Bicycles had gone through many trials and errors for its development regarding safety, until John Kemp Starley produced the first successful 'safety bicycle,' the 'Rover' in 1885. From the late 19th century, they began to be popularized with mass production, becoming very popular among elites and the middle classes in Europe in the middle and late 1890s. Bicycles were somewhat different from other types of transportation in Western Europe, for rather than being used as a means for conveyance of people or products, they were private transportation used mainly for leisure activities including travel. Thanks to the increased availability of mass production, bicycles could keep their position as major private transportation prior to the automobiles. Furthermore, bicycles had significance in a social context, in that it contributed to the emancipation of women in West Europe in the late 19th century. With the unprecedented increase in mobility and accessibility to outer world from their houses, women were able to enjoy the personal freedom and leisure activities more than before. Bicycles were even called a 'freedom machine' for women in this period.
            One of the most significant and massive changes in transport system in Western Europe in this period was the active construction of railroads. These changes started in Britain first and gradually spread throughout the rest of the Europe and even the United States. Since the late 18th century, iron industry had been developed in a great speed with the help of new technology in mining. Thanks to the lower price of production and the higher quality of iron, the increased productivity in the field led the boom of infrastructure construction in the 19th century. Along with the steam engines and steamships, railroad tracks and steam-powered locomotives demanded a large amount of the metal for their construction. At first, in Britain, the system was originally built as a patchwork of local rail links operated by small private railway companies. (4) However, by the 1840s a railroad boom swept the country and most regions of Europe, achieving the construction of most of today's railway network in Britain. The overall design for the railway network varied between countries in Western Europe. Unlike Britain, which tried to maximize efficiency in the network, France built a centralized system for political and cultural goals, radiating from Paris. These developments in railroad system were also employed in the wars during the time period. For instance, during the Crimean War, the railways were used tactically by military force for the first time. At the same time, locomotive construction was also experiencing boom with the success of George Stephenson's invention of first practical and reliable steam-powered railway locomotive, Rocket. This change in transportation met the demands for efficient exchanges of more goods within more distant markets. Consequently, the development of railways and steam-powered locomotives provided faster movement of both information and goods.

V Transportation in North Africa

V.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in North Africa
            To Northern Africa, 19th century was a period of imperialism and colonization by European powers such as Britain and France. Most regions in Algeria, a country which had been actually independent even though it had been under the control of Ottoman Empire, were colonized by France in 1848. Libya remained part of the Ottoman Empire - although at times virtually autonomous- until Italy invaded in 1911, as the empire was collapsing. (5) Tunisia, which had been ruled by Ottoman Empire, was announced as one of French Protectorates in North Africa in 1881. Countries such as Egypt let the colonial powers come in, since they were not able to pay foreign debts.
            Another important aspect of North Africa in this period is that many countries went through the process of modern reformation. The European powers deprived people in their colonies of independence, however, the accessibility to modernized European culture initiated significant reformation in national economy, military system, constitutional institutions, infrastructure such as transportation, etc. For instance, in the 19th century, Ottoman rulers in Tunisia pursued a broad range of reforms in many fields such as education, government and military. Also in Egypt, many efforts were made to promote education, transportation and the study of medicine under the Muhammad Ali Pasha dynasty.

V.2 Water Transportation
            One of the most revolutionary transportation in North Africa in the 19th century would be Suez Canal, which opened to shipping in 1867. The canal has greatly increased the efficiency in water transportation by shortening the trade routes, and ships did not have to circumnavigate the entire world anymore.
            Away from the newly established canal system, traditional ship transport was also prevalent in the period. Major ports such as Port of Casablanca in Morocco and many other local ports in North Africa still served as crucial places where both people and products are exchanged actively.

V.3 Land Transportation
            Railroad history of Northern Africa started from the 1850s. Especially, the Egyptian railway system is by far the oldest railway network in Africa and the Middle East. (6) The first line between Alexandria and Kafer Eassa was opened in 1854. The railroad system was used as a much more efficient substitute for camel caravans, which was traditional means of transporting goods in North Africa. Also, railroads were regarded as an adjunct to military operations in some countries such as Sudan, where the first line was built in mid-1870s. In the region, European forces' colonialism played an important role in the development of railroad system. 'Cape to Cairo Railway,' though it was never built, shows us Britain's attempts to connect adjacent African possessions of the empire through a continuous line from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt.

VI. Transportation in East Asia

VI.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in East Asia
            East Asia from 1839 to 1910 suffered from intervention of Western European forces and U.S. For instance, China was under Britain's ceaseless interference since 1840; especially East India Company had many complaints on their trade with the country. This disequilibrium led to First Opium War (1839-1842). Until the early 19th century, Japan in Edo period chose to seclude itself from foreign forces. However, after U.S. Commodore Perry made Japan open four ports for international trade in 1854, Japan also signed such treaties with other Western forces, ending its isolation policy which had lasted for more than 200 years. French campaign against Korea in 1866, or Byeong-in yangyo in Korean and U.S.-Korean conflict in 1871 which is called Shinmiyangyo in Korean caused Joseon Korea to reinforce its isolation policy, which lasted until 1876.
            19th century was also a period of internal revolutions for East Asia. These movements can be categorized into two types: those aiming for adoption of Western culture in many aspects including military and political ones, and those to oust any foreign influences from their lands. The first type of revolutions greatly helped East Asian countries to modernize their social systems. For instance, the Qing Dynasty tried to achieve modernization through the Self-Strengthening Movement from 1861 to 1895. After opening country's gate to Western forces, Japan undertook major modernization process of political, economic, and cultural reforms, which is called 'Meiji Restoration' and became a unified and centralized state known as the Empire of Japan. Even though the degree of Japanese influence on Korea is still controversial, Joseon Dynasty Korea pursued the 'Gabo Reform Policy,' from 1894 to 1896, where modern Gregorian solar calendar, postal service, new educational and military system were introduced.

VI.2 Water Transportation
            Along with the land transportation, East Asian people mainly used traditional water transport system in the given period. In many regions, sailing ships which had been used frequently kept carrying goods and people in the 19th century, too. For instance, the major type of Chinese sailing vessel 'Junk,' which was developed during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), was also used actively in the period. Steamships started serving as transportation in the region since the late 19th century. In Korea, foreigners who visited the nation for research or tour used ships powered both by sail and steam engine simultaneously.

VI.3 Land Transportation
            Traditional transport systems were frequently used in the 19th century in East Asia, and the modern transportation including railroads and automobile were introduced during the period from the late 19th century to the early 20th century in this region. In China, 'rickshaw', which is a mode of human-powered transport : a runner draws a two-wheeled cart which seats one or two persons, was popular in the given period.(9) This type of human-powered transportation was frequently used in other regions in East Asia including Japan, where rickshaws were used frequently after the mid 19th century. In Korea, it was introduced in 1894 by Japanese merchants. Carriages also served as one of transport systems in this period, however, in most cases, people in high social status frequently used it. For others, they still used horses and cow-carried transportation for carrying goods and people. Bicycles, which are regarded now as major transportation of the Chinese, were not welcomed by people when they were first introduced in 1860.
            Railroads were built in East Asia in the late 19th century, however, rather than serving as transportation for people, they were frequently used to carry goods and natural resources such as coal at first. In china, Woosung Railroad, the first railway in the country, began its service in 1876.

VII. Transportation in South Asia

VII.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in South Asia
            In South Asia from 1810 to 1910, colonialism of European forces, especially British force, dominated the society. Countries in modern regions of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh were under the British rule in this period. Nepal had to cede large parts of the Nepali territories of Terrai and Sikkim, (nearly one third of the country), to the British, in exchange for Nepalese autonomy, according to the Treaty of Sugauli signed in 1816. (10) This colonization process was done mainly by the British East India Company, and later by the British Empire. The British colonialists employed South Asia for various purposes. Sri Lanka, for instance, was very suited for tea, coffee, and rubber cultivation, and from this plantation the British market was able to provide staples such as tea.
            Another significance South Asia has in this period is that many rebellions and freedom movement outburst in the countries. One of the most important rebellions was 'Sepoy Mutiny' or 'Indian Mutiny', which was the first major movement in 1857 against the British Company's high handed rule. Nationalism and search for freedom between the people under the colonialism in the 19th century helped the countries continue the independence movement in the 20th century.

VII.2 Water Transportation
            With the British force actively in charge of developing transportation in South Asia, traditional inland river transport system was undergoing its change into steamboats. River transport system in South Asia was highly influenced by its climate and topography; some countries including Ceylon could not provide all-year-long river transportation service because of its seasonal rivers, and Bengal regarded the inland water transportation significantly, since over half of the land is likely to be flooded. For example, in India, before the regular steamship service was introduced on the Ganges River in 1834, little sailing boats, which are much less effective in its capacity compared to the steamers, were used frequently. Even though steamships went through major developments after its first introduction, many people, mostly merchants, could not access to the service because of its high prices. Moreover, while the railroad network was welcomed by many people for its convenience and efficiency, river transport began to decrease.
            Maritime transportation in South Asia began its modernization into steamships under the influence of the British. Steamships introduced by the colonial force were mainly used for ocean trade, and in order to get profits, the British focused on developing more ports in these countries in South Asia.

VII.3 Land Transportation
            While the British substantially influenced the cultural and social systems in South Asia, people in the region still used traditional transportation frequently. For instance, in India, bullock carts and horse carriages were widely employed, especially the former in rural areas.
            Further development on the both already existing and new road network was introduced thanks to the modernization in South Asia. Especially, The Grand Trunk Road, which is the largest and most important road in the region, was improved by the British rulers of colonial India. This road system was one of major trade routes, also used for travel and postal communication. However, as railroad system was introduced around 1850s, many roads in lowlands were left obsolete because of its relative inefficiency in conveying freight and passengers. Nonetheless, many local road networks built in steep mountain ranges were still used, since the railroad transport could not replace the role of the traditional roads.
            Railroad system was introduced in South Asia around 1850s, and, where available, soon replaced traditional roads as the major form of land transportation, with its superior capability to carry much more goods and passengers. In 1851, the first cargo railway in India was completed, and in 1853 the first passenger railway, connecting Bombay with Thane, was opened. The British were actively engaged in the expansion of railway in India, and its development helped the government deal with internal social issues such as famine more effectively than before. Sri Lanka regarded ¡®Ceylon Government Railways,¡¯ which today is a nation's state-run railway company, as an instrument to develop and unify the country. The main reason why Sri Lanka was also able to encourage the development of railroad system was highly attributed to the growth of its plantation industry.

VIII. Transportation in North America

VIII.1 Background Information : Social and Cultural Information on the Period in North America
            The major development in North America in this period was shown in its industry. In the United States, by the 1840s, the Industrial Revolution was transforming the Northeast, with a dense network of railroads, canals, textile mills, small industrial cities, and growing commercial centers, with hubs in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. (11) The first Industrial Revolution occurred in Great Britain and Europe during the late eighteenth century moved its center to the United States, leading major economic changes to the country. Especially, while undergoing War of 1812 to maintain its independence from Great Britain, the need for more efficient transportation system and independent economy greatly increased.
            Canada, which had been a traditional rural society in pre-industrial revolution period, also went through major development of free-market economy with industrial revolution started from the middle of the 19th century. In the mid-19th century, with the development of means of transportation such as canals and railways and the appearance of the steam engine, the first factories and large businesses appeared in the major urban centers. (12) However, traditional enterprises including small shops were still regarded important.

VIII.2 Water Transportation
            Water transportation in North America in the given period was used for various purposes. Canals were usually employed for carrying freights during trades, whereas steamships were rather for both transporting goods and travel.
            In the United States, along with the third president Thomas Jefferson's wish to discover a waterway that crossed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, water transportation underwent major developments from the early 1800s. In the 1810s steam-powered riverboats made it possible to transport goods and people not only down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, but back upstream to Pittsburgh. (13) These steamships were superior in its capability to transport more goods faster, compared to traditional rafts. Canada also employed steamboats as a major transportation for freight from the early 19th century.
            Canals were also important inland water transportation in North America. In the 1820s the United States saw the completion of the Erie Canal, linking the Hudson River to Lake Erie, and this promoted the growth of linking cities such as New York City and Chicago because of their locations. Especially Chicago was able to grow into a larger city since it has favorable location where the Chicago River meets at a Great Lake. These canals were mainly used by farmers and merchants who needed to transport goods within the country. Canada also employed canals as major transport system for freight, and The Lachine Canal, the first real canal to be finished properly, was built between 1821 and 1825. However, after the railroad system gained much more popularity for its cheaper prices and faster transporting capability, many canals were left obsolete in North America.

VIII.3 Land Transportation
            During the given period, North America experienced the fast development in both traditional transport system such as roads and newly introduced transportation including railway network. In the early 1800s before the transportation revolution started substantially, the only practical way to travel and trade across long distances was along the nation¡¯s natural waterways. By the middle of the 1800s, many dirt roads were built in parts of the nation by adopting France and Great Britain¡¯s road system as a model. In Canada, roads and highways that were both further developed from the traditional form and newly built gave access to regions of Canada that had not been served by railways. These roads made it possible for cheaper domestic transportation of goods.
            Railroad development in North America brought significant improvements not only in transporting goods across the country, but in travel and communication, too. In the United States, by the end of the 1830s, thousands of miles of railroad tracks linked the nation's major cities and many smaller towns in a transportation network, and this framework helped later generation to develop more intricate transport system in the country. However, from the perspective of efficiency in travel, before 1840 only a limited percentage of Americans felt its benefits because of much noise and hygiene problem in railway system. With further developments on the system's efficiency regarding speed and convenience railroad network became America¡¯s dominant mode of transportation. Even though the railroad network underwent significant expansions in the mid-19th-century America, the development was not equally distributed to all regions of the nation. For instance, in the South most railroads in 1860 were connecting local cotton regions with the nearest waterway. Most transport was by boat not rail in the region. The first railway line in Canada was built in 1836, some 10 years after England built its first steam railway line. (14) Most of the early rail construction was done by the British capitalists, who were eager to get profit quickly, and as a result, many railroads were poorly planned and constructed in haste. The development in railroad system greatly increased the mobility of people, and also accelerated the industrial and urban revolutions in North America.
            Other land transport systems were also used by people in North America. In the late 1800s, streetcars were one of popular modes of transportation, and bicycles were employed for communication and recreational purposes. In the early 1900s automobiles started to become common transportation, however, still the rich were much more accessible to them.

IX. Overall Judgment on Transportation between Regions

West Europe
            As its title of pioneer in Industrial Revolution, West Europe from 1810 to 1910 led major developments in transportation based on the greatly increased productivity and steam-powered engine. These significant changes in transport system became a model of modernization in infrastructure to other countries in the world. Especially, the colonial powers in the regions greatly influenced its colonies' transportation development.

North Africa
            Colonial forces such as Great Britain and France greatly influenced the major developments of transportation in the region. Major transport system such as Suez Canal and railroads were constructed by and serving the interests of these Western European colonialists.

East Asia
            In this region, intervention of Western European forces and U.S was actively leading many changes in the countries' social changes. Japan and Qing China organized the establishment of a modern transportation infrastructure. In this given period, however, many traditional transport systems were still employed by majority of common people.

South Asia
            Under the dominating colonialism of the British force, countries in the region experienced major developments in transportation from 1810 to 1910. Inland water transportation and steamships for maritime transport were developed and used for trade, where the British could gain many profits quickly. Modern roads and railway network were constructed to facilitate the communication of goods and people, and the British aimed to colonize the countries with more easiness with the help of the newly developed transportation.

North America
            Along with the Industrial Revolution in the given period, North America saw many significant changes and improvements in transportation. Modern roads and railway system were constructed, and the railway network became highly accessible to people with its cheap prices and greater efficiency. Canals and steamboats were frequently used for inland water transportation, and the cities linked by the transport system were able to grow into larger ones. The developments in transportation also accelerated the Industrial Revolution, leading various economic and social changes in North America.

X. Conclusion
            While examining the transportation history of each region in this paper, we can understand that the transportation continuously interacts with political, economic, and social situations of a certain region. This interactive quality of transport system can be categorized into two following major aspects.
            Firstly, we can realize how important political and social contexts are on the development of transportation. As covered in the West Europe and North America sections, transport systems there were greatly influenced by the major social stream, Industrial Revolution. With preceding fundamental improvements in technology such as the invention of steam-powered engine and mass production in the period, transportation was able to develop into more efficient, accessible and convenient one. Transportation in this period in the other regions such as South Asia shows us that Western colonial forces highly influenced the development of the infrastructure in the regions.
            Next, we can also understand that transportation itself is influencing a certain region¡¯s social and cultural systems, leading major changes in various fields. For instance, transportation in North America was highly influenced by Industrial Revolution. On the other hand, this development also accelerated the revolution; American industry was able to further improve thanks to much easier and more efficient communication of both material and human resources through evolving transportation.
            As examined above, the study of transportation is not merely about technology; it is rather a process of collective analysis on a certain region's political, social, and even cultural aspects.


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2a.      Even though Western European powers were actively participating in the construction of the Suez Canal, examination of the canal will be covered in the next section, 'Transportation in North Africa' because of its geographical location.
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