Ambulances Through History
Ambulances post-date mobile medical units by several hundred years - the first evidence of “mobile hospitals” dates back to the units set up by the Knights Hospitallier during the first Crusades in the 11th century - but they are much more ancient than our current high-tech, specially-equipped vehicles may suggest.
The first consistent military ambulances emerged in the 15th century to transport Spanish troops away from the action, and the first wide-spread civilian ambulance services were developed during the cholera epidemics in 1830s London.
Many of our current ambulance services were developed during the U.S. Civil War, World War I, and World War II.
In recent decades, many ambulance services have expanded into specialty care (cardiovascular, obesity, stroke, and athletic), and in the United States and United Kingdom, almost all municipal fire departments are directly affiliated with a public or private ambulance service.
National Museum of Medicine