Whaling History Timeline

Seal of the Basque town of Biarritz, 1351, with whaling scene and two-flued harpoon.

For reference, the following basic timeline for whaling may be helpful:

900 - 1600 - Basque whaling; Bay of Biscay, Spitzbergen, Newfoundland.

1610 - England begins Greenland whaling, by the Muscovy Company.

1640 - Massachusettes Bay Colony shore whaling; Germany commenced whaling.

1650 - Long Island, NY shore whaling began.

1600 - 1700 - Cape Cod shore whaling.

1700 - Peak of Dutch whaling.

1715 - Six whaleships sail from Nantucket.

1731 - First swivel guns tried in England.

1750 - Tryworks first used on board the whaleship.

1756 - First known whaling voyage from New Bedford (Dartmouth), Sloop Manufactor.

1789 - First American whaleship to enter the Pacific Ocean, Ship Beaver of Nantucket.

1824 - First recorded use of the single-flue harpoon, Ship Stanton of Fairhaven, Mass.

1837 - Greener gun introduced by William Greener of Birmingham, England.

1835 (ca) - Peak of Nantucket whaling, with 70+ vessels.

1846 - Shoulder guns and bomb lances introduced in American whale fisheries.

1848 - Toggle iron invented by Lewis Temple of New Bedford; whalers entered Bering Sea, Arctic.

1857 - Peak of New Bedford whaling, with a fleet of 329 vessels.

1859 - Oil discovered in Pennsylvania; beginning of the decline of whaling.

1861 - 1864 - Civil War; 35 whalers lost, 40 more as the Stone Fleet in Charleston Harbor.

1864 - Sven Foyn of Norway invented cannon to fire explosive harpoon; beginning of modern whaling.

1865 - Darting guns introduced.

1869 - Last whaling voyage from Nantucket.

1871 - Entire Arctic whaling fleet, 34 vessels, lost in the ice.

1925 - Last sailing whaleship voyage, Schooner John R. Manta; first modern factory ships used.

©: 2000 - 2008Thomas G. Lytle . All rights reserved


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