“You might be speaking German if it wasn’t for pigeons”
Originally published May 22, 2013
This post has been re-edited many times and fresh content related to pigeons was added 5/22/18 which can be found below.
An addendum was added on 5/14/19 with a brief overview of other animals in the military.
Pigeons have been used to communicate over distances since the time of Julius Caesar.
The Persians (now Iran), and even the Greeks used homing pigeons to “broadcast” news about who won the Olympics.
Homing pigeons were considered highly prestigious way back in 18th century France until the French Revolution which changed things so anybody who wanted one, could have a pigeon.
During the Franco Prussian war, Parisians used hot air balloons to deploy flocks of homing pigeons out of their city to the countryside and vice versa.
With the advent of microphotography in the 19th-century pigeons could carry as many as 30,000 messages by a single bird.