More Maritime history

In 1872, the United States did something remarkable. We set aside one of our greatest natural treasures, Yellowstone National Park , for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. The logic was...
Master carver Douglas Chilton rides at the prow of his creation—the Raven Spirit canoe—at its ceremonial launch in Washington, D.C. The canoe is now on display in the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall...
CREDIT: Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Basque Whalers Background Having already learned to hunt large whales in the Bay of Biscay in the 13th through 15th centuries, Basques began arriving in the...
The Arctic Studies Center's excavation site map of Hare Harbor maps some of the community's excavated structures that archeologists have unearthed. An Inuit house, blacksmith shop, and cookhouse are...
This map shows the route of pirate and naturalist William Dampier’s first voyage around the world. The journey lasted more than 12 years. Learn more about William Dampier , his voyage, and his...
Meet seven of the most fearsome pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy. Like pirates? Read more about William Dampier , a most fearsome pirate -- and naturalist.
When most people think of iconic American landscapes, we think of places on land. Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon—these national parks are household names. But many Americans...
Made from spruce wood and caribou teeth, this mask was worn in ceremonies of thanksgiving. It sits atop a decorative breastplate with images of whaling crews in skin boats called umiaks.
Traveling aboard the Charles W. Morgan , a 173-year-old whaling ship on its 38th Voyage, I’m struck by its paradox: this vessel which spent years chasing and killing whales is now helping us to study...
In 1874, Reverend Moses Harvey of Newfoundland bought a dead giant squid caught by fishermen. More about the giant squid can be found in our Giant Squid featured story .
Roberts dressed in embroidered coats and hats with feathered plumes, like an elegant gentleman. One of the most successful pirates of all, he captured 400 vessels in just three years! Learn about...
This painting of swarthy buccaneers in the midst of a fierce battle was painted by the prolific American marine painter Frederick J. Waugh, and won an award in 1910. The New York Times wrote: “The...
Captain Henry Morgan (1635-1688). On behalf of Jamaica, the ruthless privateer Henry Morgan attacked Spanish cities and ships, killing and torturing prisoners. Morgan became very wealthy and was...
A privateer was a seaman with a license from his country's government to attack enemy ships. The government usually got a share of the profits. Read more about the privateer, pirate and naturalist...
With an abundance of salmon, early hunting and foraging societies were transformed into settled villages with expanding social networks and elaborate festivities. The festivities often included...
Blackbeard’s flag showed a skeleton piercing a heart and toasting the devil. Watch a slideshow about legendary pirates of the Golden Age , and learn more about an unusual pirate: William Dampier ,...
In November 1718 Blackbeard was finally chased down and killed in a fierce battle off Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. He received five bullet wounds and 20 sword cuts before dying. Then his head was...
In 1697, aboard his ship Adventure Galley, Kidd captured his largest prize ever—a richly loaded Moorish ship, The Quedah Merchant. Kidd assumed the ship was a legitimate prize. But when its French...
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