Whale hunting, 19th century

Whale hunting, 19th century

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Credit: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Whale hunting, 19th century artwork. Whalers in a rowing boat using a harpoon to attack a right whale (a type of baleen whale). In the background is the whaling ship, with a dead whale being cut up and having its blubber (fat layer) removed. The ship uses both sail and steam power. It was new technologies, such as steam power, that allowed increased hunting of whales in the late 19th century. The whales were hunted for their oil and blubber, which were used to make soaps, cosmetics and other commercial products. The hunting reached a peak in the early 20th century, with up to 40,000 whales killed per year.

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