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Subtle is the Lord by Abraham Pais (1982) chapter III "Relativity, the special theory" mentions that this fact and its importance (we want the laws of physics to look the same on all inertial frames, AKA Lorentz covariance) was first fully relized by poincaré in 1905.
And at that same time poincaré also immediately started to think about the other fundamental force then known: gravity, and off the bat realized that gravitational waves must exist. general relativities is probably just "the simplest way to make gravity Lorentz covariant".