The World Expo (abbreviation of exposition) is an exhibition that invites industry professions from across the globe to a chosen host city, where they can showcase new products and services that they are proud to offer to members of the media, industry and the public.

The first World Expo was held in London in 1861. A temporary Crystal Palace structure was built in Hyde Park for its exhibitions, thus it was also known as the Crystal Palace exhibition. This was a time of the height of the Victorian Era and the British psyche was in full ‘jingoist’ mode. The trade fair was organised to show off the progress of the British Empire in industry and manufacturing; and to emphasise their apparent world domination to other nation’s Britain invited other major powers to exhibit their successes at the expo.

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, as it was officially named was the brainchild of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, so was endorsed by royalty, and organised by stalwart of English commerce, industry and society, Bath born inventor, Henry Cole.

Its reverence was such that Queen Victoria officially opened the Expo, and it was attended by many notable names of the day as well as the royal family, including George Eliot, Lewis Carroll, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Darwin.
Today, an officially registered World Trade Fair is held not less than once every five years; however events that are unregistered with the trade fair governance body, the Brussels based International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE), take place more frequently.

After the success of the initial World Trade Exposition in London, a show was held in Paris in where a similar but permanent structure to the Crystal Palace was built in the form of the Palais de l’Industrie, both however were vastly outdone in 1889 when the Eiffel Tower was built for the French Exposition that year, and became ‘the’ image of a modern and successfully industrialise France.

These Expositions, though still popular today, (the 2010 World Expo was held to hugely popular acclaim in Shanghai) were not an entirely original idea. The first World Fair Exhibition was held in the 1756, in an increasingly wealthy and industrialised London. It was sponsored by the Society of Arts and focused specifically on showcasing arts and artists to the rest of the world. The new Expo’s simply took the idea of showcasing talent, but expressed this across all industry, commerce and manufacturing.

The second and last world fair to be held in London was in 1862, and since then hosting has been dominated by the United States and in more recent years Far Eastern countries such as Korea and Japan. This perhaps represents the shift in manufacturing, industry and business success across the globe.

Although, Britain can still claim that historically it invented the very tool that the rest of the world use to promote their inventions, even if it no longer stands as a major commercial power, and master of industry.

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