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road,strip of land used for transportation. The history of roads has been related to the centralizing of populations in powerful cities, which the roads have served for military purposes and for trade, the collection of supplies, and tribute. In the Middle East, in N Mesopotamia, scientists have found evidence of a network of roads dating back to perhaps 3000 B.C. In Persia, between 500 and 400 B.C., all the provinces were connected with the capital, Susa, by roads, one of them 1,500 mi (2,400 km) long. The ancient Greeks, cherishing the independence of their city-states and opposing centralization, did relatively little road making.
The Roman roadsRoman roads,
ancient system of highways linking Rome with its provinces. Their primary purpose was military, but they also were of great commercial importance and brought the distant provinces in touch with the capital.
..... Click the link for more information. , however, are famous. In Italy and in every region that the Romans conquered, they built roads so durable that parts of them yet remain serviceable. The Roman roads were generally straight, even over steep grades. The surface, made of large slabs of hard stone, rested on a bed of smaller stones and cement about 3 ft (91 cm) thick.
From the fall of the Roman Empire until the 19th cent., European roads generally were neglected and hard to travel. People usually walked, rode horses, or were carried in sedan chairs. Goods were transported by pack animals. In France, Louis XIV and Napoleon built good roads for military purposes. Elsewhere on the Continent roads were not much improved before the middle of the 19th cent. In Great Britain two Scottish engineers, Thomas TelfordTelford, Thomas,
1757–1834, Scottish civil engineer. He greatly improved road building in England and Scotland. He introduced the use of a base of large stones surfaced with compacted layers of small stones.
..... Click the link for more information. and John L. McAdam, were responsible for the development of the macadam road (see pavementpavement,
the wearing surface of a road, street, or sidewalk. Parts of Babylon and Troy are believed to have been paved; Roman roads were noted for their durable stone paving. Cobblestones were common from late medieval times into the 19th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The expansion of the Industrial Revolution brought this and other road improvements to the Continent, although the emphasis was on railroadrailroad
form of transportation most commonly consisting of steel rails, called tracks, on which trains of freight cars, passenger cars, and other rolling stock are drawn by one locomotive or more.
..... Click the link for more information. construction until after the invention of the automobile.
In the Americas the Inca empire was remarkable for its fine roads. In what is now the United States, however, the waterways were the normal mode of travel for Native Americans, and their trails, though numerous, were often simply footpaths. These were used by white settlers and were eventually widened to make wagon trails. The increasing use of stagecoaches led to some improvement, and the turnpiketurnpike,
road paid for partly or wholly by fees collected from travelers at tollgates. It derives its name from the hinged bar that prevented passage through such a gate until the toll was paid. See also road.
..... Click the link for more information. , or toll road, was introduced at the beginning of the 19th cent. Although the planning and building of road arteries, notably the National RoadNational Road,
U.S. highway built in the early 19th cent. At the time of its construction, the National Road was the most ambitious road-building project ever undertaken in the United States. It finally extended from Cumberland, Md., to St.
..... Click the link for more information. , marked the early years of the century, canalscanal,
an artificial waterway constructed for navigation or for the movement of water. The digging of canals for irrigation probably dates back to the beginnings of agriculture, and traces of canals have been found in the regions of ancient civilizations.
..... Click the link for more information. and then railroads took precedence.
The invention and mass production of the automobile made the road became paramount again. Hard-surfaced highways were stretched across the entire land in a relatively few years. The building of roads became a major branch of engineering, and even the most difficult obstacles were surmounted. Roads have helped greatly to equalize and unify large heterogeneous nations. In the United States the Interstate Highway System consists of 42,793 mi (68,869 km) of roads (all but a few miles of which are completed) connecting every major city. Other well-known road networks which serve to unify large areas include Germany's Autobahn, the Trans-Canada Highway, and the Pan-American Highway. An ambitious, 23-nation agreement to link Asia with a network of highways was signed in 2004.
See G. Hindley, A History of Roads (1972); P. H. Wright et al., Highway Engineering (2004); E. Swift, The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways (2011).
What does it mean when you dream about a road?
Dreams about roads often represent one’s direction or goal in life. If the road is straight and narrow, what has been planned is being successfully carried out. If the road is winding or bumpy, the dreamer’s plans are vague or flexible, or the dreamer is meeting with unexpected change or difficulty. A roadblock may mean the dreamer needs to be more persistent and diligent, or double back and take another route.