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Sea ice is typically viewed as the domain of physical and natural scientists, the oceanographers, marine biologists, climate modelers, and navigators of the world. It is easy to forget another perspective—that of cultural anthropologists...
By Caty Fairclough In centuries past, the ocean was thought to be full of...
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Worldwide, fisheries touch our lives in countless ways. If well maintained,...
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This slideshow features illustrations of some of the plants and animals that...

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This 1890 painting of Charles Darwin is on display at the Turin Museum of Human Anatomy. Darwin brought William Dampier’s books with him on the voyage to South America that led to Darwin’s formulation of the theory of evolution...
On March 1, 1954, the United States military tested nuclear bombs in the...
For many years, shark fin soup has been a popular delicacy at weddings and...

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The ocean holds a lot of history. Warships from World War II have been found on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean through 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...
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...
Pirates capture the imagination of dreamers of all ages. Learn more about a very unusual pirate, William Dampier , in our featured story.
"This World of Ours, Does not feel steady, We keep rotating, Oi! What will happen to us?" This is one of the questions that a group of performers from the Pacific island of Tuvalu is posed to...
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...
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...
[[nid:3622]] The Final Journey…and Long-Awaited Fortune Dampier’s third and last voyage around the globe, in 1708, was also a privateering expedition. On this trip he rescued Alexander Selkirk, a...
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...
By Caty Fairclough In centuries past, the ocean was thought to be full of krakens, sea serpents, sea monsters and other fantastic creatures. They helped to bring the mysterious ocean into the more...
A stormy sea lashes the village of Shismaref, Alaska, where the coastline has eroded 30–90 m (100–300 ft) in the past 30 years.
Whale baleen, the stiff bristly mouthparts that sieve small prey from the water, was strong yet flexible, and was used to provide structure in many human products, including umbrellas, corsets, and...
The Raven Spirit canoe would eventually travel more than 4,828 kilometers (3,000 miles) from Prince of Wales Island to Washington, D.C. More about raven spirit can be found in our Raven Spirit...
People once thought giant squid (right) were Sea Monks, or mermen (left)—mythical creatures that were part fish-like and part human male. Learn more giant squid facts and legend in the Giant Squid...
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...
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...
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...
Charles Darwin: Almost 150 years after Dampier visited the Galapagos Islands, Charles Darwin brought Dampier’s books with him on his famous voyage to South America on The Beagle —the journey that led...
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...
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