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The use of the compass in China vs. Europe

Essay #7 History of Inventions

Hello in today’s lesson I will be talking about the use of the compass in China and Europe.

Do you ever wonder how people sailed the vast and open seas without a compass or a GPS? Well, before the compass, sailors relied on the wind, the stars, the waves, and landmarks. For example the Polynesians used the stars and the waves to navigate the seas. Europeans used landmarks, stars and the familiar winds. They even gave names to the winds based on the direction they blew. Europeans also created the knot system which helped them measure the speed and the distance they traveled. They were limited to how far they could go because if, let’s say, it was cloudy, such as in the winter, they couldn’t see the stars, therefore they couldn’t go across the ocean without getting lost.

It turns out the compass was invented by Chinese between 200 BC and 100 AD during the Han dynasty. But the Chinese, didn’t use the compass for navigation, they used it to maximize the Chi.

Chi, you may ask, but what is chi? Chinese believe that chi is a universal energy that we all have, plants, animals, and humans, and also objects. Do you know “The Force” in Star Wars? Well it’s kind of like that. Chinese like Chi because it gives them power. The Chinese also found out that if they can find “north” they can maximize the Chi. Acupuncture uses Chi, the energy of life to help the body heal. Feng Shui, uses the Chi to create harmony between the people and their environment.

Chinese figured out that if you magnetize a needle and put it on a pivot point it will always turn north, and north is where you can maximize your Chi. And that’s how they invented the compass.

For over 1000 years Chinese used the compass to maximize Chi, and only after that they began to use it in navigation. On the other hand, when the Europeans got a hold of the compass in the 12th century, they immediately used it for navigation. That made possible sailing farther across the ocean, and eventually Columbus discovered the Americas.

OK, internet friends, thank you for reading my blog. Did you know that this is how the compass was discovered and used? Leave a comment below. By!


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