The history of geomagnetism began around the year 1000 with the discovery in China of the magnetic compass. Methodical studies of the Earth's field started in 1600 with William Gilbert's De Magnete [Gilbert, 1600] and continued with the work of (among others) Edmond Halley, Charles Augustin de Coulomb, Carl Friedrich Gauss, and Edward Sabine. The discovery of electromagnetism by Hans Christian Oersted and André-Marie Ampére led Michael Faraday to the notion of fluid dynamos, and the observation of sunspot magnetism by George Ellery Hale led Sir Joseph Larmor in 1919 to the idea that such dynamos could sustain themselves naturally in convecting conducting fluids. From that came modern dynamo theory, of both the solar and terrestrial magnetic fields. Paleomagnetic studies revealed that the Earth's dipole had undergone reversals in the distant past, and these became the critical evidence in establishing plate tectonics. Finally, the recent availability of scientific spacecraft has demonstrated the intricacy of the Earth's distant magnetic field, as well as the existence of magnetic fields associated with other planets and with satellites in our solar system.