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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

History of the Internet

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Perhaps one of the greatest inventions of our time is the Internet. Without a doubt, the net has had a profound effect on almost every aspect of our lives. The formation of the Internet has changed the way we do business, communicate, entertain, retrieve information, and even educate ourselves. Nevertheless, the Internet might not have ever materialized if it had not been for some innovative thinkers from the Advanced Research Project Agency, who created "ARPANET." In collaboration with several educational and research institutions, the agency created the packet-switching technologies that form the basis of the Internet today.

The Internet Timeline display illustrates a chronology of notable events that led to the Internet's creation and concludes with the thirtieth anniversary of the ARPANET experiment. The display begins with the arms race of the 1950's and the resultant fears of the Cold War, especially brought on by the Soviet Union's launching of Sputnik I (1957). The events continue into the 1960's with new packet-switching theories and finally the first network connection with UCLA in 1969. The 1970's network expanded overseas and became more advanced with, electronic mail, telnet, and other user systems. Queen Elizabeth II made Internet history with her first email message in 1976, which is included in the timeline display. The late 1970's also included other types of internets using vans equipped with satellites and packet radio systems. During the 1980's the ARPANET project continued to add hosts; however, the network was divided into MILNET, which became integrated into the Defense Data Network. Furthermore, with the advent of supercomputers, the National Science Foundation, a government entity, formed its own network, NSFNET, which had high-speed lines and could handle more traffic than the aging ARPANETsystem.

Finally, in February of 1990, the ARPANET project fulfilled its mission and was formally decommissioned; consequently, the NSFNET was assigned to be the backbone of the system. Realizing the potential for electronic commerce, Congressional legislation allowed the Internet to become commercialized for general public use and access.

The basis of our Internet Timeline derives from Robert H. Zakon's Hobbes' Internet Timeline v. 5.0, recognized by the pioneers of the Internet as the definitive timeline and history.

ARPANET Government Documents

C 60.10: 78-2
Access Area Switching and Signaling: Concepts, Issues, and Alternatives, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Nat'l Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1978
C 60.10: 78-4/v.1 & 2
Digital Communication Performance Parameters for Proposed Federal Standard 1033, Vol., I: Standard Parameters, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Nat'l Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1978

Government Documents Pertaining to the Internet

D 1.2: T 22/8
Technology Transition (January 1997). Defense Advanced Reserach Projects Agency. (DARPA)
PRVP 42.2: AC 2
Access America: Reengineering Through Information Technology, Report of the Nat'l Performance Review and the Government Information Technology Services Board (February 3, 1997)
PRVP 42.2: G 651
Global Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Cooperation (February 1995). GPO

Congressional Hearings Concerning the Internet

Y 4.C 73/8: 106-47
Domain Name System Privatization: Is ICANN Out of Control? Hearing, July 22, 1999. U.S. House Committee on Commerce
Y 4.C 73/8: 105-111
The Marketplace of the 21st Century (April 30, 1998) and The Global Electronic Marketplace (July 29, 1998). U.S. House Committee on Commerce
Y 4.C 73/8: 105-112
New Methods for Making Electronic Purchases (June 4, 1998) and Investing Online (June 18, 1998). U.S.House Committee on Commerce
Y 4.C 73/8: 105-113
Building Tomorrow's Information Infrastructure (May 7, 1998); Doing Business Online (May 21, 1998); The Future of the Domain Name System (June 10, 1998); Consumer Protection in Cyberspace (June 25, 1998); and Privacy in Cyberspace (July 21, 1998). U.S.House Committee on Commerce
Y 4.C 73/8: 105-115
The Promise of Better Health Care Through Telemedicine (June 5, 1998); The Energy Industy in the Electronic Age (July 15, 1998). U.S.House Committee on Commerce
Y 4.J 98/1: 105-115
Collections of Information Antipiracy Act; Vessel Hull Design Protection Act; Trade Dress Protection Act; and Internet Domain Name Trademark Protection, Hearings Oct. 23, 1997 and Feb. 12, 1998, U.S. House Committee on Commerce
Y 4 J 89/1: 105-62
Internet Domain Name Trademark Protection, Hearings, Nov. 5, 1997, U.S. Committee on the Judiciary
Y 4.SCI 2: 104/32
The High Performance Computing and Communications Program Hearings, Oct. 31, 1995, U.S. House Committee on Science
Y 4 SCI 2: 100/0/corr.
Commercialization of Federal Funded R&D: A Guide to Technology Transfer from Federal Laboratories ; Report prepared by the Congressional Research Service Library of Congress, U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, 1998
Y 4.G 74/9: S.HRG. 105-453
Fraud on the Internet: Scams Affecting Consumers, Hearings, Feb. 10, 1998, U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
Y 4. J 89/2: S. HRG. 105-366
The Copyright Infringment Liability of Online and Internet Service Providers, Hearings, Sept. 4, 1997, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
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