Map, static: Whaling Ports of the 1850s

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By the 1850s, America's busiest ports were in New England, many with dozens of whale ships embarking on hunting expeditions every week.

East cost map

America's west coast was also home to hundreds of whale ships. Pacific voyages departed from San Francisco, California and Honolulu and Lahaina, Hawaii with the greatest regularity.

Source: The Whalemen's Shipping List, published by the National Marine Digital Library.

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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