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  • Communication Routes c. 1600

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    In 1555, Medieval ‘Pavage’ grants for the upkeep of roads were replaced by the Statute of Philip and Mary, which required parishes to maintain their local road network through six days annual labour, with Surveyors of the Highways appointed to verify compliance. In the Elizabethan period, faster light carriages began... More
  • Federal Highway System 1925

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    In the late 19th century many of America’s roads were ‘wholly unclassable, almost impassable, scarcely jackassable’. The rapid development of a comprehensive railway network had actually resulted in a deterioration, through neglect, in the standard of the nation’s roads. The progenitor of the movement for a Federal Highway system was... More
  • French Post Roads 1632

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    In 1627 France’s most notable early cartographer, Nicolas Sanson, created his first major cartographical work entitled ‘Postes de France’. Officially published a few years later in 1632, it depicted the main postal courier routes in France. The creation of the map coincided with a law passed in 1627, which for... More
  • Speed of Travel 1800

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    In the 1800s travel across the United States could take weeks. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, implemented a programme of transportation links to facilitate both trade and the movement of people. He constructed waterways and dirt roads, while encouraging the use of steamboats, boats, barges and canoes on the nation’s... More
  • Speed of Travel 1860

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    By 1860 the American Industrial Revolution was fully underway, helped by inland waterways where steamboats used river systems to carry bulk traffic. Some rivers were connected by canals to speed up the movement of people and goods. Railroads were first built in 1825 and by 1860, there were more than... More
  • The Federal Highway System 1925

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    By 1925, millions of Americans owned cars. Prior to the rise of the automobile, most roads outside towns and cities were no more than improved wagon trails. Highways tended to be made of cobblestones and confined to major cities. Profit-making organizations formed to fund and build highways, but a lack... More
  • Trade in the Roman Empire 180 CE

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    Transport within the Roman Empire was based on roads, navigable rivers and sea routes and focused on the Mediterranean basin, drawing on the resources of North Africa, Spain, France and the Middle East to feed and supply the fast-growing capital, whose population reached 1 million people at the peak of... More