When did land travel become extremely popular?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
When did land travel become extremely popular? For instance, here is a scenario for you--let's say that someone wants to get from Marseille/Marseilles to Dunkirk/Dunkerque (both of which are located in France nowadays). Nowadays the best way to do this would probably be by land--either by car or by train--or, alternatively, by plane/air. 100 years ago, the best way to do this would have probably still been by land--especially considering that air travel doesn't appear to have been an option yet 100 years ago. However, what about 200 years ago or 300 years ago or 400 years ago or 500 years ago? Would one have still traveled on land--either on horseback or by carriage--back then or would one have traveled by sea to get from Marseilles to Dunkirk back then?

Any thoughts on this?

 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,678
Fewer people travelled so it would probably depend quite a bit on the purposes of the travel 200 years ago. For tourism probably more likely by land but with the right introductions going by sea and stopping in some places along the way could be fun- there were already holiday vacations in the late 1700s so it isn't completely impossible but 200 years is just ahead of the age of the steamship and almost 50 years ahead of railways in France so choices would be by carriage/horse or sail for most people travelling that long of a distance.

A person wanting the cheaper way would likely sail from Marseille to Brest then sail again on a different ship to Dunkerque but that could easily take at least 3 weeks to a month or more. Going directly by land is also likely to take around 3 weeks by carriage but that varies quite a bit how hard pushing and if switch carriages each day to travel more than 6-8 hours when during the summer it was safe to travel close to 12 hours (not many carriages would travel in the countryside past dusk). Horses could probably go a bit faster but if we are talking average still more than 2 weeks.

It might be a bit easier to go from Marseilles to La Rochelle then by ship to Brest then Dunkerque with the trip to La Rochelle taking just short of 2 weeks by carriage and week and a half by horse and then by ship for another week. Really it probably quite close in time on average but land allows more leeway in pressing harder actually accomplishing faster journey and less nights spent on the road could lower the overall costs but also raise the scale of difficulty quite high require good horsemanship, health, and determination.

Before there were many roads or decent carriages more people would probably have ridden or walked and the journey would have taken even longer but pilgrims and others did such trips routinely even in medieval eras and much easier in the Roman eras with nicer roads and better accommodations along the way. Maybe a brief period 1500-1700 sailing would have been faster and safer for this specific trip but prior to 1500 it was still many oared boats in the Mediterranean and sea travel was far more risky and slower.
 
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May 2018
856
Michigan
Sea travel went "out of style" when two factors were met:

-Land travel was cheaper
-Land travel was safer

I recall reading in Wellington in India that dispatches were sent by cutter along the coast, even between cities that had fairly good roads. Much of this was due to the banditry factor, and the safety of couriers, as Britain's control over India was, even at the best of times, difficult.

Industries, both passenger and freight, stop doing what the EIC did in Wellington's Era when a cheaper and/or safer option becomes available. I believe railroads had very much to do with this, and would probably use the beginning of the railroad as the beginning of the end of the aforementioned practices of the EIC.

Edit: land travel being cheaper, providing there is not an intolerable variance in the time it takes to reach the destination.
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,753
Australia
Tolls were a major factor. Most roads were privately owned and maintained so every time you left one lord's realm and entered another you were hit with a new toll. If you crossed a bridge, that was a separate toll. With water travel you only paid a toll whenever you disembarked at a major port.
 
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Dec 2014
441
Wales
Land travel has always been the most common way to travel (when, as Ichon says, they did travel) in most countries. Walking was around long before ships or even horses, and the bulk of the population never had the money to indulge in long sea voyages, added to which most of the worlds great cities are much easier to reach by land than sea for the population of that country. Going by ship to Dunkirk from Marseillaise might be safer but how many other than the wealthiest classes could afford it (as far as safety goes - the Barbary pirates might have something to say about that)?


The first large scale movements by more common folk - other than say migrations or refugees/armies - would have been the pilgrimages, a significant thing in most faiths, and the pilgrims ways to holy sites were being used constantly during the medieval period, with the fact of walking by foot being a significant part of the pilgrimage. One of the most common was the Camino de Santiago, dating back to the ninth century, although following a much earlier Roman route, and this was a very commonly used route:


The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to St. James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 9th century, in the time of the Kingdom of Asturias and Galicia. The pilgrimage to the shrine became the most renowned medieval pilgrimage, and it became customary for those who returned from Compostela to carry back with them a Galician scallop shell as proof of their completion of the journey. This practice gradually led to the scallop shell becoming the badge of a pilgrim.
The earliest recorded pilgrims from beyond the Pyrenees visited the shrine in the middle of the 11th century, but it seems that it was not until a century later that large numbers of pilgrims from abroad were regularly journeying there. The earliest records of pilgrims that arrived from England belong to the period between 1092 and 1105. However, by the early 12th century the pilgrimage had become a highly organized affair.
One of the great proponents of the pilgrimage in the 12th century was Pope Callixtus II, who started the Compostelan Holy Years. The official guide in those times was the Codex Calixtinus. Published around 1140, the 5th book of the Codex is still considered the definitive source for many modern guidebooks. Four pilgrimage routes listed in the Codex originate in France and converge at Puente la Reina. From there, a well-defined route crosses northern Spain, linking Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, and Compostela.
The daily needs of pilgrims on their way to and from Compostela were met by a series of hospitals and contributed to the development of the idea itself, some Spanish towns still bearing the name, as Hospital de Órbigo. The hospitals were often staffed by Catholic orders and under royal protection. Donations were encouraged but many poorer pilgrims had few clothes and poor health often barely getting to the next hospital.



If you mean for leisure rather than more practical reasons, then although a form of tourism has been around since roman times (think of things such as Spas), the first real tourism as we think of it was probably the Grand Tour, which dates back to the 17th century and involved touring the main countries of Western Europe, again a land based Tour.
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,020
Lorraine tudesque
Land travel has always been the most common way to travel (when, as Ichon says, they did travel) in most countries. Walking was around long before ships or even horses, and the bulk of the population never had the money to indulge in long sea voyages, added to which most of the worlds great cities are much easier to reach by land than sea for the population of that country. Going by ship to Dunkirk from Marseillaise might be safer but how many other than the wealthiest classes could afford it (as far as safety goes - the Barbary pirates might have something to say about that)?


The first large scale movements by more common folk - other than say migrations or refugees/armies - would have been the pilgrimages, a significant thing in most faiths, and the pilgrims ways to holy sites were being used constantly during the medieval period, with the fact of walking by foot being a significant part of the pilgrimage. One of the most common was the Camino de Santiago, dating back to the ninth century, although following a much earlier Roman route, and this was a very commonly used route:


The earliest records of visits paid to the shrine dedicated to St. James at Santiago de Compostela date from the 9th century, in the time of the Kingdom of Asturias and Galicia. The pilgrimage to the shrine became the most renowned medieval pilgrimage, and it became customary for those who returned from Compostela to carry back with them a Galician scallop shell as proof of their completion of the journey. This practice gradually led to the scallop shell becoming the badge of a pilgrim.
The earliest recorded pilgrims from beyond the Pyrenees visited the shrine in the middle of the 11th century, but it seems that it was not until a century later that large numbers of pilgrims from abroad were regularly journeying there. The earliest records of pilgrims that arrived from England belong to the period between 1092 and 1105. However, by the early 12th century the pilgrimage had become a highly organized affair.
One of the great proponents of the pilgrimage in the 12th century was Pope Callixtus II, who started the Compostelan Holy Years. The official guide in those times was the Codex Calixtinus. Published around 1140, the 5th book of the Codex is still considered the definitive source for many modern guidebooks. Four pilgrimage routes listed in the Codex originate in France and converge at Puente la Reina. From there, a well-defined route crosses northern Spain, linking Burgos, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, and Compostela.
The daily needs of pilgrims on their way to and from Compostela were met by a series of hospitals and contributed to the development of the idea itself, some Spanish towns still bearing the name, as Hospital de Órbigo. The hospitals were often staffed by Catholic orders and under royal protection. Donations were encouraged but many poorer pilgrims had few clothes and poor health often barely getting to the next hospital.



If you mean for leisure rather than more practical reasons, then although a form of tourism has been around since roman times (think of things such as Spas), the first real tourism as we think of it was probably the Grand Tour, which dates back to the 17th century and involved touring the main countries of Western Europe, again a land based Tour.
This of course is the right answer.
 
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