I had figured IPA's were originally made in India, but that is not the case...
... Indian Pale Ale was created in the 1820’s for the voyages between England and India. The three month voyage would cross the equator twice, and both time and high temperatures are bad for beer. The beers sent to India arrived in very poor condition. But an enterprising Londoner combined his knowledge of two factors in beer to make his fortune. Alcohol is a natural preservative, of course; the higher the alcohol level, the longer beer will survive. So he made his beer with a lot of barley malt, recognizing that the increased starches would become sugars and then ferment into alcohol. The other factor is that hops is the only spice with a natural preservative. Hops is a flowering cone on the hop plant; they make the beer bitter and impart a lovely aroma. The more hops you use, the longer the beer will survive, but it will also become more bitter. The London brewer put these two facts together and developed a beer that could survive the long voyages. Strong, malty, alcoholic, and bitter are ways to describe this style.
The moral of the story... IPA's are also great for traveling!