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If you want to be technical, databases as we know them today only date back to the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when computers began to keep records and store memories. But the idea of memory storage didn’t just appear 40 years ago – there was a history behind wanting to keep these records.
If you prefer, you can consider the advent of written language to be the first database. Many historians believe the first written language appeared in the 37th century BC, with Egyptian hieroglyphics. The ancient Sumerians, not to be outdone, also created their own written language within a few hundred years.
Of course, the most famous ancient database would have to be the Royal Library of Alexandria, the great collection of records and wisdom in ancient Egypt. It was created by Ptolemy I, and existed from 300 BC through 30 AD, when Julius Caesar effectively erased the hard drives when he accidentally set fire to it. As any programmer knows who has forgotten to hit “save” or has experienced a sudden power outage, thousands of hours of work was lost in a single instant.
Databases existed in very similar conditions up until recently. Cuneiform tablets gave way to papyrus, which led to vellum, and eventually modern paper and the printing press. Someday the databases we rely on so much today will become another chapter in the history of record keeping. Who knows what the databases of tomorrow will look like!
Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)