Map, static: Whale Populations 1790-1924

Other Static Maps

Locations of American whaling vessels from 1790-1924, based on a sample of whalers' log books.

whaling populations

Many American whaling vessels kept records of their daily locations and details of their whale catches. Days without any catches are represented with light blue dots. Dark blue dots represent sperm whale catches; red dots represent right whale catches; purple dots represent humpback whale catches; green dots represent bowhead whale catches; orange dots represent gray whale catches; yellow dots represent unspecified whale catches.

For more information see our interview with Tim Smith, with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.


Credit: Smith, Tim D, Judith N Lund, Elizabeth A Josephson, Randall R Reeves. In press. Spatial Dynamics of American Offshore Whaling in the 19th Century: Were sperm whales depleted? Whaling and History III. Kommander Chr. Christensens Hvalfangstmuseum, Sandefjord, Norway.

My American Experience

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Share Your Story

What impact do you think the whaling industry had on America and its economy? How do you think it shaped us as a nation? What do you believe is currently the industry that epitomizes the identity of America?

  • Additional funding for this program was provided by

  • Rosalind P. Walter
  • NEH