Transportation in early America came mostly in the form of horses and boats. In the 18th century, horses were used as transportation on land and sailing vessels were used for crossing rivers. In those times, most of the population was residing on the Atlantic coast or along the navigable waterways, and the coastal cities were located far away from each other. This raised the need for a reliable transportation system.
- America on the Move: Articles and videos related to the history of American transportation.
- America’s Postal Transportation System: An account of the history of American postal transportation.
- Private Transportation in 19th Century America: An overview of private transportation in America during the 19th century.
Before the advent of steamboats, transportation upstream was very difficult because the Mississippi River had a very strong current .The first steamboat was introduced in the 19th century, and it was used within the Mississippi River system. Steamboats played a major role in the transportation of both passengers and freight.
- History of Transportation on the Mississippi River: An article that provides information about the early settlements and transportation along the Mississippi River.
- Inland Water Transportation in Minnesota: Detailed discussion of the history of Minnesota’s inland water transportation.
In 1673, crude roads were the only form of roads that were available in the country, and one of the most famous crude riding trails was the one that traveled from New York to Boston. This road was mostly used by for the purpose of delivering mail. Later on, turnpikes and bridges were built by private companies to allow easier transportation across the country.
- History of Transportation in American Agriculture: Information about the important milestones of transportation in American agriculture.
- Roads in Virginia: Early development of roads in the state of Virginia.
- American Transportation History: An account of the evolution of transportation in America.
American waterways were inspired by the canal systems of England. George Washington was the one who first expressed the desire to improve the system of waterways, and many manmade canals were used for transportation in the 1800s. The earliest canal was built to improve transportation across Ohio Valley, and an English engineer was hired to supervise the construction of the canal. One of the most popular canals was the Erie Canal, which helped to speed up the transportation of goods among markets in New York. The Panama Canal was built to provide a shortcut between North America and South America.
- Canals in America: Article that discusses the construction of canals in America.
- Story of Water Transportation: A comprehensive summary of the history of water transportation in America.
The use of canals was reduced after railroad transportation was introduced. There was an urgent need for a more efficient system of transportation during the years before the Civil War, and industrialization helped in the development of the transcontinental rail system in 1860. The railroads that were built in the 19th century generated low freights as they traveled through sparsely populated regions.
- Early American Railroads: Information about the development of railroads in America.
- Railroad Timeline History: Significant milestones in American and English railway development.
Today, Americans use a wide range of transportation, such as ships, airplanes, trains, trucks, and others. As transportation becomes more efficient and affordable in the US and around the world, goods and materials can be transported with greater efficiency and lower costs, and this helps many businesses prosper. Also, since there is a wider range of affordable transportation options available, more and more people are traveling to other places in the country for work and vacation.