Passport: The Little Travel Book

The history of passports can be traced back to as early as 450 BC and documented in the Hebrew Bible.  Nehemiah, an official serving King Artaxerxes of Persia, was given a letter allowing him travels to other lands.  Also the King requested to other governments that Nehemiah be granted safe travels.

King Henry V of England is actually credited for creating the first official document acting as a passport.  The King wanted his citizens to have a way to prove their allegiance to England on foreign soil.  In 1783, Benjamin Franklin had the first US passport printed.  The use of passports increased due to the World Wars to ensure security and scrutiny of travelers.  However, it was until 1980 that the International Civil Aviation Organization standardized the passport’s content across all nations.

The word ‘passport’ is derived from medieval document that allowed safe ‘passage’ through ‘portes’.  The red cover is the most common color used by countries.  The “blue book” is the nickname given to the U.S. passport.  Passports are issued by governing bodies (*hint to answering the riddle).  Vatican, the smallest country in the world, has its own passports. Located within Rome, Italy, Vatican however does not have any border immigration.  Therefore, Vatican citizens are free to rome in Italy.