History Of The Curfew: Etymology, Brief History, And How It Involved Fire

British paratroopers enforce curfew in Tel Aviv after King David Hotel bombing, July 1946. (Hans Pinn/Wikimedia Commons)

In response to the recent civil unrest in many American cities, many mayors are enacting emergency curfews in their communities. Of course, we know that emergency curfews are different from the 10:00 P.M. curfew your mom gave you when you were a teenager or the permanent juvenile curfews that some cities and towns have established to keep delinquents off the streets at night. Still, when we think of the word "curfew," we think of some sort of restriction that prohibits people from leaving their home during specific times. But what is the history of curfews?