I was trying to read more on how present day border security and administrative framework (passports, visas etc) came into being but to not much avail. E.g. what was the first modern border crossing? What countries first started issued travel documents, passports and visas? What factors lead to the framing of border security as is?

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    What makes you think border security is modern? People have been putting out skulls on stakes for thousands of years. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 21:41
  • i didn't say the concept overall is modern. but the way it is done today (passports, visas etc) is
    – amphibient
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 21:42
  • I'd guess it would be a wartime development.
    – Rajib
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 5:37
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    1920 at the Paris Conference. Is that the answer you want? Obviously it is modified by things like the EU treaty....
    – MCW
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 20:02
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    @Mark C.Wallace It was actually Walpole. Peel wasn't born until 1788! And it was Peel who was responsible for abolishing the Corn Laws (1846).
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


The main point is the difference between political and economical border. While political border didn't imply the economical border, there were usually no serious crossings in old times. On the other hand, any economical borders inside the political bodies immediately created the crossings with guards, checking and so on. At the first moment when a crossing became profitable, it appeared.

Inner and border customs are well known for feudal Europe.

Control in ports could start in Phoenicia, Mesopotamia or Egypt. The old dynasty economic was not a state one, it was based on the private activity and propriety. (according to Herodotus). We don't know for sure, if there was some state control for these traders other than on the market itself. But I would suppose that there was such control - the state simply had to have the possibility at least to be the first customer.

Entrance into a town could be such crossing even before that - Jericho existed 10t. years ago, and while it had a wall (archeologically proved), the entrance had to be controlled (or the wall becomes senseless). I think Jericho gates is really the older crossing that can be known now, for it is the oldest known organized human society.

As for personal control on borders, in Russia it existed and was well developed in the 16 cent. They were introduced by Ivan the Terrible for quarantine against plague epidemia in Western Europe. I have read about quarantine in 10th cent. in Byzanc, too.

As for political control, the most known old border were the walls on the borders of Roman Empire. Adrian one (122 AD) seems to be the oldest of them. I am afraid, nobody knows now how the border control looked like these times.


As for passports, AFAIK, they were introduced first in Russia by Michael I, according to ideas of an early socialist Charles Fourier. These are inner passports.

As for visas, the first, obviously, were visas for going out. For in-visas require existence of the stable system of official representation in almost all neighbour states.

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    -1: You answer to CzBalaszHungary's question (marked as dupplicate to this one), but not to OP's question, which is about the modern security and border crossing bureaucracy.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:43
  • @Bregalad Then the question should be simply closed, as several questions in one (crossing, visa, pass...) and as undefined - for nobody can say what OP means by modern
    – Gangnus
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 13:26
  • Perhaps nobody can define modern, but that certainly does not include Jericho :) Also I believe by "modern" he means "in the format it exists now", as he said in the comments. Perhaps I'll edit the question to make it clearer...
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 13:52
  • @Bregalad Then don't forget to define the contemporary format, please. And this won't help with the multiquestion problem. In such situations I prefer rather than propose the closing, to answer one of the subquestions thinking that somebody else will answer the others.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 14:33
  • @Gangus Your edit comes from good intentions, however you obviously rushed it. Besides it's his question not mine, thus I'm not sure about what he mean with contemporary format either.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 15:16

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