American whaling peaked in 1858, but it still found a place on this 1880 fisheries chart. That year, though whaling was still a lucrative business in Massachusetts, a paltry $408 worth of whaling was done in North Carolina.
The chart also includes a neat world map of whaling grounds.
Some fun facts about whaling:
- Nineteenth century whalers only got paid for their catch (called the "lay") so every voyage was a complete gamble. Ships that returned to port less than full were called "broken voyages."
- Herman Melville was inspired to write Moby Dick by a horrific true story about a ship that was attacked by a sperm whale.
- Whales can live to be really old. In fact, some whales who were alive when this chart was made in 1880 might still be swimming around somewhere.
- The cutting away of a whale's blubber is called "flensing." Try that out the next time you're tempted to use the phrase "trim the fat." Your friends will be impressed.
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