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American Whaling


            Whaling in the United States of America dates to the 17th century in New England and reaching its peaked in 1846-1852. New Bedford, Massachusetts was the most important port in America.


Why whales were hunted?


            Hunting whales was an exceptionally dangerous business both physically and economically. Injuries and death were very common in almost every voyage. Few individuals, made a fortune from whaling and most those were owners and agents. People went whaling for different reasons but the underlying principle is that hunting a whale produce strong commercial value.  












Life on Whaleship

            The Whaleship was more like an isolated community that roamed the oceans of the world on a trek that lasted for years. The vessel carried about sixteen up to at least thirty-six sailors, depending on the size of the vessel. Men were organized in a firm hierarchy of officers and crew.

            “The captain was absolute master of this strange floating world; * The officers -- three or four mates - were next in rank, each commandimg a whaleboat. * The boatsteerers were the harpooneers and enjoyed more privileges than the rest of the crew; * The blacksmith, carpenter, cook, cooper (caskmaker), and steward also ranked higher than ordinary crewmen. When the crew chased a whale, these men remained behind as shipkeepers; * The foremast hands were the ordinary crewmen” (






The Whale

            Grows to up to 60 feet long, weighs up to 63 tons; * Follows its food supply through the world's oceans - is generally found in colder seas in summer and in temperate and tropical waters in winter; * Feeds on small fish, squid, giant squid: * Dives to depths of at least 3,300 feet -- deeper than any other marine mammal; * Holds its breath while submerged for up to 90 minutes; * Displays enormous teeth on its lower jaw; * Was the principal prey of the nineteenth-century American whale-fishery; * Haunted Captain Ahab in the classic American novel, Moby-Dick (WhalingMuseum.Org).





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