The Invention of the Compass – Essay Example

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The paper "The Invention of the Compass" is a wonderful example of a history essay.
The compass is an invention that does not figure largely in our lives today. Even when it comes to mapping and direction finding, things such as GPS location and tracking tools may take out all of the guesswork when it comes to navigation on land or the sea. However, just a few hundred years ago the compass was a critical piece of equipment for any long distance traveller and vitally important for navigation at sea (Aczel, 2001). The development of this tool has an interesting history which extends across the world and across time.
This is because the credit for the invention of the compass is shared by both the Chinese and the Europeans who seem to have independently developed the compass as a navigational aid (Aczel, 2001). The Chinese invented the first working compass and the idea for this technology was brought by Arab traders through the Middle East to Europe. However, the Europeans seem to have developed their own compasses since there are significant differences between the European and Chinese compass as well as the applications for which the compass was used in the two regions (Gurney, 2004). As a tool for navigation, it is still used in the world today and is likely to be used for many years to come.
The compass is one of those technologies that we take for granted today but it might have been nothing less than magic for people living a thousand years ago. It does beg the question that what technology that we see to be ‘magical’ today would be considered archaic but individuals living on the planet a thousand years from now?

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