With the first ships built thousands of years ago, technology and innovation have been key factors in the way ships have changed over the years.
A look into the history books indicates the earliest known boats, can be traced back to around 2500 BC. Measuring at 143 feet (44m) long and 20 feet (6m) wide, Egyptians had managed to build wooden boats able to sail oceans.
Viking longboats like the Skuldelev 1 featured came next and were designed to hold up to 60 oarsmen to help row the ship. The long and narrow design allowed them to be used both for open oceans as well as rivers.
With the course of time, the sizes of these ships began to increase and their purpose began to change. Ships such as the Santa Maria (which brought Christopher Columbus to the new world), Victoria & Mayflower were used for exploration, cargo and ultimately for fighting in battles.
In the next chapter in the history books we have the likes of HMS Victory and the USS Constitution. Measuring at around 60 meters in length they were two of the largest wooden warships built.
Technological innovation had an important part to play in the next stage of Maritime History. Going from steamships combining wind power and steam as well as propellers such as the SS Sultana, ships were getting bigger and able to transport more goods as people to allow international trading to increase.
Launched in 1912, the fate of the Titanic is well known around the world. Designed to be a master piece showcasing mankind’s brilliance, the largest and fastest passenger ship of its time sank upon striking an iceberg on its way to New York.
During the two world wars, ships such as the USS Arizona and Bismarck will go down in history as two of the most famous warships in history. Acting as catalysts in victories for their respective nations, the ability to cater for over 2,000-man-crew and great firepower has seen these ships go down in history for their resolve and sacrifice.
It seems that with the inevitability of time passing, such is the inevitability of ships and their sizes and capabilities increasing. Currently the biggest ship in the world (Prelude FLNG) measures at a staggering 488 meters in length, to put this into context, the ship measures longer than the Empire State Building.
What does the future hold? The Freedom Ship, a project proposed in the early 1990’s foresees a 1,317m (0.818 miles)-long integrated city. The complex would circumnavigate the globe continuously.
Mayflower (ship) – britannica.com
Galleon: Victoria – guampedia.com
Mary Celeste – numa.net
Cutty Sark – rmg.co.uk
Maine – spanamwar.com
HMS Victory – royalnavy.mod.uk
HMS Bounty – library.puc.edu
The Kon-Tiki Expedition – kon-tiki.no
History: Ernest Shackelton (1874 – 1922) – bbc.co.uk
Mayflower II Sails Home – blog.ctnews.com
USS Constitution and Charlestown Navy Yard – cityofboston.gov
Cruise line chef: we’re in a better place – cnn.com
The Washington Times – communities.washingtontimes.com
Moai Paro Digital Reconstruction – eisp.org
An Olympic Class Propulsion System – encyclopedia-titanica.org
Christopher Columbus Ships – elizabethan-era.org.uk
Overview at Freedom Ship – freedomship.com
Justin Alvarez: Sir Ernest Shackelton’s Waste Land – guernicamag.com
Mariners Museum – ageofex.marinersmuseum.org
The Bismarck – historylearningsite.co.uk
Bismarck Technical Data – kbismarck.com
Fireboat Alexander Grantham Exhibition Gallery – lcsd.gov.uk
Colonial America: Mayflower Ship – landofthebrave.info
Ferdinand Magellan – libweb5.princeton.edu
Allure Of The Seas Delivered – marinelink.com
Worlds Largest Ships – marintime-connector.com History Of the Mayflower – mayflowerhistory.com
The Unforgettable Maritime Accident of SS Sultana – marineinsight.com
The Mystery of Mary Celeste – mysteriesofcanada.com
Gipsy moth ends repeat world trip – bbc.co.uk
Maine (2nd Class Battleship) – navsource.org
Disaster On The Mississippi – news.nationalgeographic.co.in
Gipsy Moth IV – oxfordreference.com
History of Fabric and Construction – rmg.co.uk
RMS Titanic Learning Center – rmstitanic.net
The World’s Biggest Ship – science.howstuffworks.com
Former office stirs with pride as fireboat rises from water – scmp.com
Famous fireboat makes its final journey – scmp.com
Abandoned Ship: The Mary Celeste – smithsonianmag.com
The world’s biggest ship – tribuneindia.com
USS Arizona Statistics – ussarizona.org
Vikingeskibsmuseet Roskilde – vikingeskibsmuseet.dk
WW2ships.com: Bismarck Class Battleships – ww2ships.com
HMAV Bounty (+1791) – wrecksite.eu