by Jason Crawford · September 29, 2021 · 1 min read
“It’s a small world,” they say—but it didn’t feel small to those who lived before the 1800s. Not even the greatest king could travel faster than a galloping horse or a sailing ship, and most people rarely traveled far from their home village. Commerce, too, was local, with rare commodities like spices trading as expensive luxuries. Today, we can get anywhere on the planet in twenty-four hours, and markets everywhere are connected in a network of global trade. How did we shrink the world? In this salon, we’ll look at the developments in vehicle technology, in infrastructure, and in maps and navigation that made this transformation happen. Why was longitude so much harder to determine than latitude, and how was that problem solved? How was the transcontinental railroad built, across 2,000 miles of wilderness, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains? Why did the Wright Brothers succeed where their much better-funded competitor failed? Join us and find out!
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