How Was A Compass Discovered?

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Sudipa Sarkar answered
The most common formation of a compass is a magnetic needle supported on a pivot so that it is free to swing in all directions. The earth's magnetic pole is generally pointed "north" by the needle of such compass. If the location of this north magnetic pole is known all land and areas are charted or mapped in relation to it and in this way a compass can guide a traveller as far as direction anywhere in the world.

How and when this theory was used nobody knows, but the Chinese were among the very first people to know the principle of the compass. Once it was believed that Chinese had discovered it about 4500 years ago, but it is now disputed. Arab traders introduced the compass to Europe and during 12th century the compass was quite well-known in Europe. The earliest type of compass wasn't very well-equipped. At the time the compass was becoming improved to use a needle pivoted on a pin rising from bottom of the bowl. Now it is known that the north magnetic pole and geographical North Pole aren't the same. The north magnetic pole is situated at the northernmost point of the Arctic coast of north America at a place called Boothia peninsula and all compass needles in the northern Hemisphere point toward this point. But ancient people didn't know the difference. The sailors of later days noticed the difference and were greatly puzzled. After that this kind of puzzle came to the point and the difference between north geographical pole and north magnetic pole was considered and treated differently.

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