The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were apparently soil mixed in vessels with water, which was lifted by slaves and poured into plumbing that ran through the gardens.
Aztecs planted plants on rafts and set them out on the lakes which were high in minerals washed down from the mountains.
In the 1800 scientists used soil and water to test how plants worked in England.
In 2nd World War the US Army tried to grow vegetables in the sand of Pacific Islands to supplement supply. Unfortunately the Salinity of the sands made the project fail.
In 1970’s the English greenhouse tomato industry was under threat from cheaper European tomatoes, grown in Spain and Italy where the weather is warmer than England and didn’t have the expense of heating the greenhouses. The modern Hydroponic Industry was invented by Dr Cooper (“The ABC of NFT”) who invented a warm nutrient solution running down channels, and the roots warmed by continuous liquid, which was cheaper. The byproduct was that plants increased their yields significantly, and caused the recovery of this industry.
Sidebar: I am still of the opinion that channel (NFT) systems do not suit a warm climate as the nutrient gets too warm, which depletes the available oxygen, and causes root rots, although given the correct conditions, results can be achieved.
Hope that indicates where Hydroponics came from.