Whale hunting, 1900

Whale hunting, 1900

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Caption: Whale hunting. People standing by dead whales on a beach, following a whale hunt in around 1900. New technologies, such as steam power and explosive harpoons, allowed increased hunting of whales in the late 19th century. The whales were hunted for their oil and blubber (fat layer), which was 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. Photograph published in the USA. The major whale fisheries in the USA in the 19th century were on the Atlantic coast in the state of Massachusetts.

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