Story - World Expos

Journey of world expo through the years

The modern advancement and development that we are enjoying in present times has roots somewhere deeper in culmination and development of world expos or trade fairs. The world expos helped in proliferating goods of common usage among masses. The world expos just not reached to this stage in a single day but instead are carrying a tale of exposition and marts along with them.   

First ‘World Expo’ was organized on May 1, 1851, at Hyde Park in the Crystal Palace, London in which countries from all around the world participated to present their innovative inventions and craftsmanship. However, the seeds of exhibitions were shown way back in past when Persia held world’s first exhibition in the 15th century and was in nature like a modern street market.

By the end of 18th century, people developed the idea of exhibitions, similar to mart and started showcasing their products. The products were only showcased not sold. World Expo in modern sense started in the mid of 19th century during the beginning of Industrial Revolution and held for many times after 1851.

The journey of World Expo has evolved through four major stages.

By the mid-19th century, the British Industrial Revolution had achieved world’s surprising achievements after 100 years of development. To showcase its skillfulness to the world, in 1851 the British decided to organize the Great Exhibitions of the Works of Industry of all nations.

To flaunt the glory of her nation through diplomatic means Queen Victoria invited over ten European and American nations to take part in the exhibition, which lasted for 140 days. Many interesting activities were organized during the exhibition, such as appraisal of exhibits, arts and crafts works, etc., but no trading took place.

This exhibition became the framework of further World Expo organized by different countries. The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations presented the achievements of Industrial Revolution as well as advanced industrial exhibits of various participating countries. The exhibition included items such as a 630-ton high-power steam engine, a locomotive, a high-speed steamship, a steam pressure engine, a crane, advanced steel-making techniques, as well as large bridge and tunnel models.

The London World Expo is said to be first modern World Expo because it represented a global shift from simple commodity exchange to the exchange of new production technologies and new life concepts of innovations.

In 1853, second World Trade Expo was held in the United States of America in which it showed its achievement to the world for the first time. After that exhibition become the trend of the market. In 1855, Paris World Expo exhibited concrete, aluminum, and rubber products for the first time in the World’s history. In 1862, at London World Trade Expo, new industrial products, including textile machines, printing presses, and trains, were displayed.

And in 1862, Vienna World Expo gifted the world new power unit (the electric motor). The World Expos during 19th century, become a boon for modernization and witnessed the ‘age of invention’ largely presenting the latest achievements of industrial sector during that period.

In the first half of the 20th century, World Trade Expos were held on basic concept of ‘technocentrism’ of the 19th century, however, various transformation took place too. The World Trade Expo that was started from technological innovations and industrialization moved a step forward and looked beyond technology, and begin to pay heed towards human and cultural conditions. This is the reason why World Expo is equally important in today’s era too.

In 1900, Paris Universal Expo showcased the technical advancement of the West in the 19th century, such as moving sidewalk. As Industrial Revolution was the base during the 19th century, this expo reached heights among all the other World Expos.

However, this was marked as the turning point from which the World Expo faced a gradual decline. And in the first half of the 20th century, no such World Expo with such glory and grandeur was organized.

After the downfall, once again the World Expo successfully established its strong image in World Expo, held in 1915, in San Francisco, U.S.A. It was a significant moment for China as many of its advanced and exotic exhibits were highly praised by the visitors from different countries. The theme of the exhibition was based on agriculture, industry, education, literature, arts, transportation, minerals, food, and horticulture, and the exhibits were displayed in 9 halls. China was the most esteemed participant of the show and the expo organizers specially designated September 23 as China Day. The exhibits from China got 1,211 awarded, of which 57 were medallions, 74 honor awards, 258 gold medals, 337 silver medals, 258 bronze awards, and 227 encouragement awards. China hold the ‘Pride of Place’ among the 31 other participants and ranked 1st.

In Philadelphia World Expo held in 1926, Japan and China were the most prominent country, beside the host country the United States.

In 1993, Chicago World Expo was held in the United States, which celebrated 100th anniversary of founding day of the city. The expo took place when American economy was recovering from the great depression of 1930s. As each expo has a theme the theme of the Chicago World Expo was ‘A century progress.

In Brussels Expo, new technologies were displayed and this event was the ray of hope and peace for all participants, the theme of this expo was ‘Strive for Peace Through Competition.’  The last expo held before World War 2 was San Francisco World Expo, with the theme positive and optimistic theme: ‘The New World of Tomorrow.’ The new products were exhibited in the expo that included - nylon, audio recorders, plastic, and television sets.

Japan was defeated in World War 2. It was focusing on economic development and country revival. In 1964, to boost and encourage the people of nation Japan hosted Tokyo Olympic Games. In 1964 Japan Government decided to participate in 1970 Osaka Expo, and in 1965, it was announced that it had been successful in its bid. A total of 76 countries and four international organizations participated in the Osaka Expo, with footfalls exceeding 634 million, largest visitorship ever in the history on World Expo. This expo promoted transportation facilities, high-grade housing, commercial and tourist infrastructure, as well as places for cultural exchange in Osaka.

After World War 2, countries on global level raise public and government awareness towards threat that human activities pose to the earth’s ecological system. Regarding this the United States organized an international conference in Stockholm in 1972, which was the first meeting that included environmental issues.

In the Expos in 1980’s and 1990’s the theme was ‘horticulture’ and the catchwords were ‘energy’ and ‘water resources.’

In Brisbane, Australia an international expo held in 1998, we a creative and innovative theme of ‘The International Exposition on Leisure.’ The Chinese Government took the expo to another level by the ‘Kunming World Horticulture Expo’, held in 1991.

In the latter half of the 20th century it was the time when people were building their homelands and focusing upon development all the expos put a positive impact on society, focusing on the word “nature,” albeit from different perspectives.  

In 1992 two great even in the world history was held together in Spain. First was the Age of Great Navigation 500 years ago in commemoration of Columbus's discovery of the New Continent of America. And the second was the 25th Olympic Games were held in Barcelona at the same time that the Expo was held. Due to these grand events Spain become the center of world attraction.

The United Nations endorsed 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean. In the Lisbon World Expo was held in Portugal, in 1998 the theme was ‘Oceans—A Heritage for the Future.’



During the early days of the 21st century, the major focus of World Expos `were on economic progress. However, in recent years the focus on economic and technological progress has opened the doors on ‘Sustainable Development’ and many other concepts.

Latest Dubai World Expo (Connecting Minds, Creating Future)

Dubai Expo is another grand World Expos which will begin on October 20, 2020 and end on April 10, 2021. The event will last for 173 days with the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating Future.’  Total 190 countries will participate in the expo to showcase the pride of their nation. Visitors can experience world tour under a single roof.

The sub theme of the expo is ‘Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.’ The expo is going to glorify the amazing beauty of the world by displaying the blend of development, technology, innovation, culture and much more.

This expo is going to show the future to us in 173 days. Dubai Government is using 438 hectares of land to create larger than life experience for their international guests.

Participants will witness something that going to create a new world history.









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