The History of Asphalt Dates Back Thousands of Years! – Long Before Places like Canada Had Been Discovered!
Asphalt, which occurred naturally in both asphalt lakes and rocks, goes back in history as far as the ancient world. The earliest recorded applications of asphalt dates back to the Indus Valley in the 5th millennium BC where it was used to line, adhere, and waterproof crop-gathering baskets.
The word asphalt comes from “asphaltos” – the Greek word for ‘secure’. The name was later changed to “asphaltus” by the Romans who used it to seal their aqueducts, reservoirs and baths.
Egyptians used Asphalt as mortar for rocks that were laid along the banks of the Nile river to prevent erosion, and is even said to have been used to waterproof Moses' basket.
Many centuries later, while exploring the New World, Europeans discovered natural deposits of asphalt. In 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote about a lake of asphalt off the coast of Venezuela, on the Island of Trinidad. He used it to re-caulk his battered ships.
In the late 1860s, the first asphalt materials were produced in the USA and used to cover crosswalks, sidewalks and even some roads.
Today, asphalt paving stands as one of the most popular and versatile surface coverings globally due to its ease of installation and durability in changing climates conditions.