Segments in this Video

Speed for Survival (01:20)


Speed has been essential to human existence since hunter gatherers needed to catch fast moving prey. The top human speed is 27 mph; antelopes run up to 61 mph.

Speed and Empire Building (01:35)

Taming horses 5,000 years ago in Central Asia allowed humans to move faster. The Mongols conquered nine million square miles. Warriors covered 100 miles daily and could sleep on horseback.

Speed on Water (01:43)

Longships enabled Vikings to control a vast territory through raiding and trading. These vessels could travel 100 miles per day, operate stealthily, and were maneuverable.

Golden Hind (02:48)

In 1579, Francis Drake's ship chased down the Spanish galleon Cacafuego for its silver cargo. Disabling its mast, he signaled a new piracy age, where the fastest ship takes the spoils. Elizabeth I invested money in a faster navy.

Steam Engine (02:09)

Invented in Britain in 1830, the steam engine revolutionized transportation and industry. It reduced distances, making world travel possible and increaed immigration trends.

Railway Speed (02:41)

The steam locomotive was introduced in the United States in 1830. It played a role in domestic migration patterns and urbanization. Intermingling widened the human gene pool and increased diversity.

Automobile Speed (02:10)

Henry Ford's internal combustion engine and assembly line radically changed society. Cars provided freedom of movement, leading to a highway system and suburban development.

Telegraph Speed (03:18)

By 1840, communication between train stations had to overcome train speed. Telegraph lines paralleled railroads, connecting cities and continents and promoting efficient resource management. Abraham Lincoln used the telegraph to strategic advantage during the Civil War.

Wireless Technology (03:27)

In 1938, one million people listened to a boxing match broadcast live. Radio and television changed our relationship with time. Today, the internet enables us to connect instantly and globally. Humanity's need for speed has revolutionized civilization. (Credits)

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Need for Speed

Part of the Series : Mankind Decoded
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



In this episode of Mankind Decoded, we learn how being the fastest enabled empires to be born and capitalism to thrive—beginning with the horses that facilitated Genghis Khan’s takeover of Central Asia. With his fast ship, Francis Drake captured a silver fortune that helped finance the British Empire. Steam power revolutionized transportation and industry in the 19th century and contributed to immigration and Westward Expansion. The automobile marked an era of mass production and consumerism. Finally, the telegraph was a precursor to the electronic communication revolution that changed our relationship with time and space.

Length: 22 minutes

Item#: BVL130778

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.