“Navigation, in its simplest form, means to find your way to a point and back again.” For much of human history, naval navigation consisted of travelling on rivers and waterways, and when at sea, following the coastline so to not get lost. The compass changed that; sailors could boldly sail into the middle of an Ocean, and know that if they headed west, all they had to do to return was head east. The compass itself is a simple navigational instrument that contains a magnetic component that aligns itself with the Earth’s own magnetic pole, allowing the user to know the directions of North and South, and subsequently East and West. Due to the ease of use, and the efficiency of the compass, it played a major role in the Age of Exploration, and ergo played a major role in the shaping of today’s world. Due to its high importance, the compass was the most significant advancement in the field of navigation before 1350 A.D. Before detailing the reasons for the importance of the compass, it is important to first know about its creation. The Chinese first created a compass-like instrument during the Han dynasty between three hundred and two hundred BC. The Chinese made these rudimentary compasses out of lodestone, whose magnetic properties the Chinese had already discovered by circa 300 B.C. It was then fashioned into a ladle shaped, and laid on a flat bronze plate. While the compass was not primarily used for direction, it was used in such manner as early as four hundred B.C., as evidenced in The Book of the Devil Valley Master where the jade hunters were described as taking a “south pointer” so to not get lost. However, the Chinese only began to use the compass in large scales for naval and terrestrial navigation around the eleventh... ... middle of paper ... ...ers, 2002. Lowrie, William. "Historical Introduction (Page 281)." In Fundamentals of geophysics, . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 Magnet Lab. "Related Electricity & Magnetism Pages." National High Magnetic Field Laboratory: Museum of Electricity and Magnetism. http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/education/tutorials/museum/chinesecompass.html (accessed April 22, 2014). Merrill, Ronald T., and M. W. McElhinny. "Chapter One: History of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism." In The Earth's Magnetic Field Its History, Origin and Planetary Perspective, . London, UK: Academic Press Inc., 1983. Tyson, Peter. "Secrets of Ancient Navigators." PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/secrets-of-ancient-navigators.html (accessed April 27, 2014). US Navy Museum. "Navigation." Navigation. http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/teach/ends/navigation.htm (accessed March 22, 2014).