I can only assume historically, the earliest man must have faced a dilemma when he went off to hunt for food. The wild animals were big, and if you got too close, they could devour you before you got the chance to kill them. There were no guns at this point, so man probably had to put himself in harm's way more times then not, just to increase his chances of catching his prey. I can assume at this point and time, man was thinking of ways to increase his chances of catching his prey, while trying to reduce the potential physical harm to himself. Maybe this is when the idea of the spear began to form in man's mind.The spear, in its most basic form, was a stick that was sharpened at the end.
Soon after the spear, came the bow. The bow was a device used to hurl the spear distances greater then man could throw with his arm. The device used in conjunction with the bow, would later become known as an arrow. Some of the oldest arrowheads were found in Africa, and were dated before 25,000 B.
C. The first composite bow was created by the Egyptians; this occurred sometime around 2800 B.C.For obvious reasons, the bow and arrow became a great tool for hunting food. And over time man even found ways to improve the accuracy of his shooting; he did this by adding feathers to his arrows. The bow and arrow also became a great tool for fighting.
Archery was a weapon for many of the early armies. The Egyptians used archers on the back of chariots, they were highly skilled, and could easily outflank an enemy army with devastating effect. Probably the most famous archers in history were the Mongols. Genghis Khan was the leader of the Mongols who were expert horsemen who could stand high in the stirrups and shoot arrows in all directions. Maybe the most recognized name in archery is William Tell.
Legend has it that William refused to bow in the presence of authority, so he was ordered to shoot an apple off of his son's head.Bows were still being used in battles, until the late 1500s. In 1520 AD the musket was invented. English archers were last used in battle in 1644 AD. With the invention of the firearm, it became apparent that there was no longer any need for archers on the battlefield.Though no longer used for battles, archery skill contests became popular in England, toward the end of the 1600s.
In the US archery was basically a Native American activity until 1828, when the United Bowmen of Philadelphia was formed. The National Archery Association was established in 1879, and the first national tournament was held that year in Chicago. Archery was actually a competition in the second modern Olympic Games in 1900. Unfortunately, because so many countries had different rules on how they judged the sport; the Olympics dropped archery as a competition after 1920. The FITA was formed in 1931, in Paris.
What this organization did was to create standardized rules, for archery in international competition. By 1972, enough countries had affiliated themselves with FITA, that it helped archery to be restored as an Olympic event..Michael Russell.Your Independent guide to Archery.
By: Michael Russell