Why do people love water so much? Is it just part of being human? Maybe. Considering that about 70% of the human body is made up of water and 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, you might say a love of water is just a part of who we are.
Historically, virtually every major city in the world was built next to major bodies of water (either oceans or rivers). Why? Among other reasons, these bodies of water helped provide:
- access to drinking water,
- water for crop irrigation,
- and “liquid highways” for transportation and trade.
Given people’s natural love of water, have you ever wondered about the world’s first boaters and the world’s oldest boat? Who were they? How long have people been boating?
Australia: The Island Continent and Home of the Word's First Boaters?
Given that we’ve been living near water throughout our history, when did people first start boating? While there’s no way to know the answer to this question for certain, there are some interesting hints…
Archaeologists say that people have been living on the Australia continent for 40 – 60,000 years. Today, those people are commonly known as the “aborigines” (no, Crocodile Dundee was not an aborigine, but some of his buddies were).
Have you ever looked at Australia on a world map? Yep, it’s a giant island. How did people cross the water to get there?
Even when much of the earth’s ocean water was tied up in glaciers and the land masses were much larger than they are today, it would still have been impossible for the first Aussies to walk or swim from the Polynesian islands to the Australian continent. The only explanation: people must have used boats to get there.
Australians (or their ancestors) might just be the world’s first boaters.
What Is the World's Oldest Boat?
“Dugouts,” which are large canoes made from logs with an opening carved out for people and cargo to be carried in, are the oldest boats archaeologists have ever found. The oldest dugout ever found is the “Pesse Canoe” in the Netherlands. This canoe dates back about 10,000 years, and was made from a single scotch pine log.
Similar boats dating back many thousands of years have been found around the world, from Africa to the American continent.
People and Boats: A Long History Together
It seems like no matter who they were or where they lived, people have always loved the water and boating. We’re not just made of water, we’re made to be on it.