BBC on history of passports
Almost 600 years ago, Henry V created the world’s first passports.
They were designed to help prove who you were if you travelled to a foreign land. …
Well, not really:
In the United Kingdom, the origin of the passport is the ‘Safe Conduct’, which was at first little more than a note signed by the king or queen asking that the person who held it be allowed to travel freely. Safe Conducts were issued to people of all nationalities and were mentioned in an Act of Parliament in the reign of King Henry V in 1414.
Can we please stop conflating passports and identity cards?