More Maritime history

Fish spears and fish weirs—fish traps placed in rivers—are traditional ways of catching salmon on rivers. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit featured story.
Home is where the hull is: Since the dawn of seafaring, humankind has had to deal with pesky creatures, such as barnacles, that “foul” ship hulls and boat propellers like this one. Find out more in...
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...
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...
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 rescued Alexander Selkirk from Juan Fernandez island around 1708. Selkirk's story inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe . Read a story by one of Selkirk's descendants in Smithsonian...
Humans have long been captivated by what we now call the giant squid ( Architeuthis ). This image gallery gives a glimpe into our fascination with the animal. For a long time, people saw mysterious...
Dampier is credited with helping to rescue Alexander Selkirk, the privateer who inspired the Robinson Crusoe story.
During what is known as the Golden Age of Piracy, pirates reaped great rewards—and, if they were caught, faced terrible punishments. Learn about some of the most legendary pirates of that time in the...
Eventually, however, Bartholomew Roberts’ luck came to end. He was killed off the coast of Africa. Following his wishes, his crew threw his body into the sea—finery and all. Then, in the largest...
Pirates capture the imagination of dreamers of all ages. Learn more about a very unusual pirate, William Dampier , in our featured story.
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...
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...
Like many pirates, Stede Bonnett was eventually caught and executed. He was hung along with 30 of his crew in Charleston, South Carolina. See more pictures of pirates of the golden age .
Happy (early) Independence Day! For many of us in the United States, the 4th of July is a time to celebrate and reflect on our national heritage. In many ways, the U.S. grew up on the water and...
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 .
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...
This illustration shows whalers of the early 1800s with their highly profitable catch.
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