Who's that suspicious-looking caveman hiding in the bushes? Could he be spying on you? It's quite possible. From what we can tell, spies have been around as long as we've been walking on two feet. We do know they were around in ancient Egypt. Cleopatra wanted to visit Caesar one day, but she knew spies were looking for her. So she rolled herself up in a carpet and had herself carried into the city of Alexandria! People will do crazy things to get what they want, and sometimes that means being sneaky. As long as somebody wants to know his neighbor's business there will be undercover agents.
What spies do is find information that is supposed to be a secret. Then they pass that on to their boss, or the person that hired them. The boss can be anyone from the government to a business to a spouse trying to find out if his or her partner is playing around on the side. Once the bosses have the information, they can do many things with it — like protect their country in times of war, defend themselves from criminals, or take that no-good scoundrel to court with those interesting new photographs.
There are all kinds of ways to spy. Some old techniques look primitive to us now, but they did a great job at the time. Julius Caesar used a special kind of writing that only he and his friends could read. In fact, he used it so much they even named it the Caesar Cipher. In the Middle Ages, spies would shoot secret letters — literally — to their allies, using a bow and arrow. Don't try and catch that message! In our attempts to outsmart our enemies we have even used animals to spy for us — from dolphins to bats to hamsters. Have you ever thanked a pigeon for all the battles they helped us win?
Every culture has its own type of spy — in Japan they are known as ninjas — but they all do pretty much the same thing. Throughout history, kings, queens, prime ministers, and presidents have all hired secret agents. They all want to see what the competition is doing. Sometimes they've had to kill people — these spies were known as assassins. It's a dangerous business!
If you ever thought you would like to spy, you better be good at observing and memorizing. Often documents are destroyed right after reading them so there is no evidence left. Spies in the movies (like James Bond or Austin Powers) are always in danger of getting killed, so the most important thing for them to remember is — don't get caught! Of course gruesome and dramatic ways of putting secret agents to death usually only happen in the fictional world. In real life, assassins are a lot more secretive. History is full of secret agents who have died under suspicious and mysterious conditions.
As technology improves, so do undercover methods. Hot air balloons and horses that were used to get across enemy lines have now given way to computers and cell phones.
People have always been fascinated by the world of spies and espionage. Imagine having your very own secret language! Or working with spy robots defending the border of countries at war.
With The Everything® Kids Spies Puzzle and Activity Book, you can break into the world of secret agents and see what goes on behind the laser beams and night-vision lights. So get your sunglasses and let's go spy!