Historians believe that in about 8000 B.C., our ancestors discovered that they could move on or in the water by clinging to a wooden beam or sitting on a hollow body that would not sink.

The Egyptians built ships out of cedar wood for the deceased Pharaoh to sail on the arc of the sky.

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Replica of Ancient Egyptian Vessel

In our latitudes, the use of rafts and dugout canoes was not uncommon. The making of dugout canoes was laborious: workers hollowed out the logs with stone tools and then carefully burned them out. To transport more goods, longer dugout canoes were built first, and design changes were also made.

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However, boat building did not take the same course of development everywhere. In our latitudes, mainly sedentary hunter-gatherer cultures used the dugout canoe for fishing. Farming communities of the Middle Stone Ages also used boats to catch fish. Nomadic hunters had other needs. The dugout canoe was so heavy that they could not transport it by land. It is assumed that they were fur boats, as we know them from the Inuit kayaks covered with sealskins.

The Phoenicians were successful boat builders and seafarers of antiquity. They equipped their merchant ships, up to 30 meters long, with masts, square sails, and oars. To transport large loads, they built ships with bulbous hulls. With these ships, the Phoenicians undertook extensive trading voyages, during which they founded their first colonies.

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Gradually, other peoples adopted the Phoenicians' boat-building techniques - the Greeks proved to be particularly skilled craftsmen. Depending on how many rowers were on board and in which arrangement they sat, the Greeks divided the ships into different classes. There were up to 170 rowers on board, who accelerated the ship up to nine knots in favorable conditions.

Unlike the Greeks, boatbuilding did not play a prominent role among the Romans at first. This only changed when Rome fought with Cathargo for supremacy in the Mediterranean. At that time, the Romans did not have a significant war fleet. Before the First Punic War (264 to 241 B.C.), they copied a few galleys based on the Greek model.

Alongside the Roman galleys, it was then, above all the ships of the Vikings, that gave new impetus to shipbuilding and shipping in the first millennium AD. The Vikings were exceptionally skilled boat builders who worked the planks for their boats without saws and only with axes and axes - a striking ax used in boat building. With their robust and unusually fast sailing ships, the Vikings undertook extensive voyages, engaging in a mixture of trade, piracy, and colonization.

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In the 12th century, the Hanseatic League was founded. This cooperative of North German merchants owed its economic success primarily to a well-organized and efficient merchant fleet. The merchants used thousands of Hanseatic cogs on the North and Baltic Seas until the 15th century. The Hanseatic cog, which continued the design of the Viking ships, was an ideal freighter and designed to handle the greatly increased volume of cargo in the trade of the Hanseatic cities. Equipped with a mast and square sail, the cog also had devices for rowing.

HANSEKOGGE picture by becks93

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