More Maritime history

Boats Connect Us to the Ocean More than any other objects, boats symbolize human connection to the ocean. As you look through the center of the Ocean Hall, past the model right whale , you can see a...
Excavations between 2002 through 2011 at Hare Harbor have shown that this site was a whaling and fishing station occupied by Basque and Inuit assistants ca. 1680-1730. Archaeologists have uncovered a...
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...
Captain Kidd had a license from Lord Bellomont, the governor of New England and New York, and King William III of England to hunt down pirates and capture French ships. Read about more pirates in the...
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 the 19th century, "whalebone" was an important fashion tool—however, it wasn't made out of bone, but whale baleen . Dried baleen was flexible yet strong, and used to create structure in clothing,...
Morgan’s most daring exploit was the capture and destruction of Panama City after a grueling march through the Central American jungle with 2,000 buccaneers. To survive, some of the buccaneers ate...
This illustration shows whalers of the early 1800s with their highly profitable catch.
The arrows show the direction of ocean currents recorded by William Dampier while crossing “La Grande Mer du Sud”—the Pacific Ocean. The map appeared in Dampier’s second book, Voyages and...
Two divers, one in an atmospheric dive suit (left) and the other in standard dive gear (right), prepare to explore the Lusitania shipwreck in 1935. Over the decades, diving gear has evolved and...
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...
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...
Pirate Captain Keitt was famous for capturing the ship known as the Sun of the East . He took the precious Ruby of Kishmoor, hid it from his shipmates and never told a soul where it was buried.
Crafted from the skins of salmon, these mittens are naturally waterproof. They kept hands dry while paddling or working with fish nets. Learn more about Northwest Pacific cultures and marine life in...
Join marine archeologists as they trace the history of the Trouvadore , a slave ship bound for Cuba that wrecked in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, and the ship’s passengers unusual path to...
Dampier is credited with helping to rescue Alexander Selkirk, the privateer who inspired the Robinson Crusoe story.
Pirates capture the imagination of dreamers of all ages. Learn more about a very unusual pirate, William Dampier , in our featured story.
Dampier explored this area of Western Australia and named it Shark Bay because of the "abundance" of sharks in the waters. It is now a World Heritage site. Learn more about Dampier's voyages around...
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