What Were the Forms of Transportation Used in the Early 1800s?

Steamboats, railroads and horse-drawn carriages were the main forms of transportation used during the early 1800s. Transportation experienced its greatest period of growth during the first half of the 19th century.

Before the year 1800, the primary forms of transportation were by horse or water. For this reason the majority of settlements during the 18th century were within miles of a coast or a major river system. This changed, however, with the invention of the locomotive by George Stephenson and the introduction of the railroad system in 1830. Coupled with this was the short-lived canal system in the United States that moved people and goods across otherwise inaccessible territory. Cargo was pulled by mules along the banks of man-made trenches filled with water .

The canal era quickly ended due to the rise of the first commercial steamboat, "The New Orleans," made by Robert Fulton in 1816. This greatly impacted transportation during the early 1800s as it fueled the Industrial Revolution both in Europe and in the United States by allowing people and products to be transported greater distances.

The early 1800s was a great period of immigration across the world, as Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship and American settlers crossed the North American continent by covered wagon.