Surface electromagnetic waves (SEW) known 200 years. The first of them has told mankind monk David Brewster (Brewster's angle). Now they are widely used in optical and investigated at THz frequencies in the area which form the basis of the current status and future development of nanotechnologies (plasmonics). History of the research of electromagnetic waves that are different in nature from spatial Maxwell-Hertz waves and emerging on the boundary of two media with different dielectric properties, developed from universal acceptance in the early XX century the concept of SEW Sommerfeld-Zennek, until her categorical denial by middle-century, the revival of interest in 60-years and an experimental confirmation by the beginning of XXI century. In Russia, intensively developed theory of SEW, were experimental proof of the existence of SEW: waves of ultrahigh frequencies detected and investigated in the laboratory in the magnetized semiconductor ; on salt (ocean) water; gas plasma and metals; were observed in vivo. SEW exist at frequencies up to optical. To date, they are best explored in the ultra high frequency range. Extended field studies in the field of high, low and Ultralow frequencies holds exciting prospects: (OTH) radar, new channels of global telecommunications, monitoring the surface of oceans, weather management, wireless transfer of energy flows on the surface and the bottom edge of the ionosphere from continent to continent. SEW have dramatic past, pragmatic present and a great future.