The Brief History of Archery

February 14, 2018


Archery is a sport that has been played over many decades, and its purpose has evolved in leaps and bounds. From using a bow in war combat to using a bow as a sport in the Olympics, many people have started learning the art of archery. How did archery come about in the past? Who invented archery?


Archery dates back all the way to the Stone Age (around 20 000BC), but Egyptians were the earliest known people to adopt the bow and arrow, while in China, archery was used during the Shang Dynasty in wars. In the past, bows and arrows were used commonly as a weapon in wars and even hunting. In the 1300s, archery became so important in England that there was a royal decree that made it compulsory for all Englishmen to practice archery on Sundays and public holidays! The development of firearms gradually overtook the bow and arrow as the main choice of weapon in wars, which caused the usage of the bow and arrow to be declined significantly.


However, there were still many who practiced the art of archery, and generations after generations, the skill was passed. There were many people who also started taking up archery as a hobby, and archery was first introduced in the Olympic games in 1900 during the Paris Olympics. It was contested for a few Olympic games after, but it was dropped after the 1920 Olympics due to the large disparity in the rules. Luckily, it was brought back in the 1972 Olympics and has not left since.


Archery has impacted many of our lives both directly and indirectly – many people are taking up this traditional sport, and the media has portrayed archery in many ways. Green Arrow, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games and Robin Hood are a few great examples of archery being portrayed in the media. Many people have been inspired by these characters to pick up archery, especially after The Hunger Games was released in 2012.


Archery is being practiced widely as a recreational and competitive sport and many variations of it are now being played, including combat archery. Nevertheless, archery has evolved over the years since historic times, and it would definitely continue to evolve in the future.

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