How Was The Internet Born?

How Was The Internet Born?

The Internet was born from a military project and today it is an essential part of our daily life

The Internet was born as a military project to secure communications in the event of a nuclear attack, but fortunately, it was never used in that situation and ended up being an essential tool in the lives of hundreds of millions of people. May 17, 2022, is its World Day.

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It is, of course, about the Internet, that service that came into our lives almost 30 years ago and on which we depend to carry out tasks as simple as keeping in touch with friends, finding an apartment to buy or rent, or deciding where to go out for dinner, and whose day is celebrated tomorrow.


Historians have managed to agree that the Internet -or its predecessor- was born in 1969 when in the midst of the Cold War the US Department of Defense decided to create a communications system capable of withstanding a nuclear attack.

The Department of Defense entrusted this task to the Defense Projects Advanced Research Agency, which created a file and message exchange system called Arpanet.

In 1978 the members of this rudimentary network had the dubious honor of receiving the first unwanted advertising message, an invitation from the DEC firm to demonstrate a new product: junk mail or "spam" was born.

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Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

But it was not until 1983 and the creation of the TCP/IP protocol by Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn that this network was able to make the leap to the general public and begin to have commercial applications.

This protocol - in which computers communicate with each other- made it possible to integrate many more computers into the network, which then had only about 1,000 users.

The next great milestone in the history of the network came in November 1990 with the launch of the conceptual link created by the British scientist Tim Berners-Lee.

Thus was born the World Wide Web (www) the Internet as we know it. On April 30, 1993, the European Center for Nuclear Research opened the use of the network to the whole world and in November of that year, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications of the USA launched the first browser that allowed access to the great public.

The Internet then experienced unstoppable growth and experienced its first years of glory at the end of the 1990s with the “boom” of the dot-com firms.

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In the year 2000, 98 percent of the English dictionary was registered as an Internet domain and the rest were words that no company would want to have as its web address. Shortly after, the collapse came, because most of these companies were mere portals without a business plan behind them. Hundreds of companies closed and the Nasdaq plummeted to 1,300 points, its value in 1996, due to the fall in the stock market of these firms.

Many thought that the Internet would never be what it was, but the network was reborn a few years later with what is known as the second generation of the web or Web 2.0.

This term, used for the first time in 2004 by Tim O'Reilly, describes a network based on user communities and services such as social networks, blogs, or wikis, in which it is the Internet user and not the company behind the portal that provides the content.

On January 3, 2006, the Internet reached a record of 100 million connected users.

Many of those born after 1985 find it hard to imagine a world in which people wrote letters and not emails, called instead of connecting to Messenger, or reached for the yellow pages (paper) or the newspaper if they needed a plumber or wanted to go to the cinemas.

Some experts believe that reliance on the Internet is excessive and reduces our ability to communicate in person. Some US companies have even introduced email-free days to encourage human communication among their employees.

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The Intel group, for example, encourages its employees to do without email on Fridays and return to that practice of getting up from the chair - remember? - to say something to a colleague instead of sending him/her a digital email/message.

However, for hundreds of millions of people, the Internet is still a great unknown or an invention closer to science fiction than to everyday life.

The so-called technological gap does not only exist between the First and Third Worlds, but also within some of the most developed countries.

According to a Park Associates survey released a couple of years ago, 20 million US households, 18 percent of the total, do not have access to the Internet and 21 percent of household heads have never looked online for information in the network or received an email. Interesting isn't it?



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