Early civilizations thrived near rivers or the ocean because of the water. The water was, and still is, the source of life for all living things. You need it for food, transportation, and just simple everyday things. Cities around the world grew and thrived thanks the many man-made innovations and developments that happened in, on, near, and because of the water.
Food and Fishing
Since time immemorial, man needed food to survive. And his most convenient source since the old days has been the rivers and oceans. The open waters are a great source of marine animals such as fish that serve as food. Local communities then and now have learned to adapt to this type of living and even devised their own creative ways for fishing.
Back then, simple lines and hooks, fishing rods made of tree branches, or makeshift fishing nets were already very useful tools. Then came the versatile fishing boats carved out of whole tree trunks, which came in very handy not only in fishing, but transportation as well. Soon, modern marine constructions such as docks, wharfs, and jetties were developed and made the task easier and resulted in more bountiful catches.
Trade and Transportation
With wooden boats on hand, man then decided to venture out into the open waters and see other parts of the world. The oceans and rivers served as a great means of transportation that connected the world. Famous explorations such as that of Christopher Columbus or Ferdinand Magellan’s wouldn’t have happened without the waters and man’s ingenuity and curiosity. The ancient trades like the search for the Spice Island or the famous Silk Road were all possible because of maritime transportation.
Today, international trading is still thriving thanks to all the docks, ports, and other modern marine engineering projects. You wouldn’t have gas and oil for your car, or you won’t receive a package from your family overseas, for example, without the developments in marine transport and engineering.
There’s a reason why man chose to live near the waters back in the days, the same reason why many developed cities like Sydney, New York, or Miami are near the waters. And that’s because the oceans and rivers are always a great help for man, not only for survival, but also in the improvement of their lives.