The Internet is perhaps today's most influential technological advance. Significant events in history contributing to the development of the Internet can be traced back to as early as 1858. As the Internet expands in the future, it stands to gain control over much of the world.

The earliest event in history leading to the development of the Internet took place in 1858. This was the laying of the Atlantic Cable. It was laid to provide instantaneous communication across the ocean. Although it was seen as a landmark event, it was a technical failure because it only remained in operation for a few days. However, another cable was laid in 1866 and remained in operation for over 100 years.

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The next major event was the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1875. Today, modems provide digital to audio conversions to allow computers to connect to the Internet over the telephone.

Now, on the 20th centuryA?a‚¬A¦.

In 1957 in response to the Soviet Union's successful launch of "Sputnik", President Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This united some of America's most brilliant minds. They managed to come up with the first successful satellite in 18 months. Several years later they began to focus on computer networking and communications technology.

Even though most people are against the concept of war, it can be credited with the beginning of the Internet. ARPA began looking for a way of establishing a communications network that could withstand nuclear destruction.

In 1962 ARPA's new leader Dr. J.C.R. Licklider saw the need for more interactive computers. He made the move to reassign private sector contracts to Universities. This laid the foundation for ARPANET, the first publicly displayed internet.

In early September 1969 BBN delivered an Interface Message Processor. This was a 50 Kbps link between 4 different universities. They were UCLA, The Stanford Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

In October 1972 there was an international conference on computer communications. In the basement of the Washington Hilton Hotel Larry Roberts of the DARPA and Bob Kahn of the BBN had set up the first public demonstration of the ARPANET. The computer was running applications all over the US.

The next year the ARPANET went international, connecting computers all over the world, such as the University of London, and the Royal Radar establishment in Norway. By this time, standard protocols had been established, which are still being used today.

In 1976 e-mail reaches royalty, Queen Elizabeth sends her first e-mail. In the same year UUCP (Unix-to-Unix CoPy) is developed and distributed with UNIX.

By the turn of the decade the number of hosts had broken 100, e-mail had taken off, and news groups were beginning to pop up. The Internet was a reality.

Throughout the 80's and into the 90's the Internet establishes itself and takes root. Significant events are happening on nearly a monthly basis. In 1984 the number of hosts reaches 1,000. Also DNS (Domain Name Server) is introduced to replace numbered servers. There is no charge for registering a domain name at this time.

In 1988 IRC (Internet Relay Chat is invented). Why is this relevant? Up until the recent invasion by ICQ, IRC was the most popular chat software available on the Internet.

By 1990 the number of hosts has surpassed 300,000. The ARPANET has ceased to exist. FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers come into existence. The first commercial Internet provider, The World, is established.

Two significant events took place in 1991. First, the World Wide Web is released by CERN. This is the most important event up to date, as it is the basis for most Internet communications. Second, the search engine is invented. By 1992 the number of hosts has passed one million, and Jean Armour Polly has coined the term "surfing the Internet".

In 1993 the revolution really begun. The US White House and the United Nations comes on-line. The number of servers is over 2 million and there are 600 WWW sights. Mosaic takes the Internet by storm. Why is this relevant? In the beginning it provided a friendly graphical interface for the WWW, but eventually it would be developed into Netscape, the most popular browser to date. In 1995 traditional dial-up services (AOL, Prodigy, and Compuserve) begin to provide Internet access.

In 1996 Microsoft entered the browser war forcing software development to an all time high. New versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer are being released quarterly. US telecommunications companies realize the growing popularity of the Internet and approach US congress to ban Internet communications, which has now been around for decades.

In 1997 the number of hosts had reached 19.8 million and there are millions of WWW sights. What's next? The Internet will and has taken over the world. There's almost nothing that can't be done on the information superhighway. From ordering a pizza to applying for jobs, the Internet had everything. But take a moment to remember none of this would have existed if the Soviet Union hadn't shaken awake the American government with a tiny tin can in the sky, Sputnik.