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Why Whales Not Extinct 100 Years Ago?

Whales were not completely extinct more than 100 years ago, thanks to an oil well

The whaling industry is the world's first globalized industry. The rise of the United States and the prosperity of the entire industrial revolution are inseparable from whales. What is less known is that the United States used to be the country with the most whaling in the world.

Which is the world's globalized industry?

The whaling industry is the world’s first globalized industry,

The rise of the United States and even the prosperity of the entire Industrial Revolution are inseparable from whales.


How does this huge marine life affect human development?

Originally, the land and the sea were separated, and they were safe for tens of millions of years.


But hundreds of years ago, there was a technological explosion in the human world, and whales began to suffer.


Before the advent of the new kerosene lamp, there were two main lighting materials in Western countries: whale oil and gas.


Gas manufacturing costs are high and transportation is inconvenient, so it is only available in the core urban areas of big cities.

Most people choose to use whale oil for lighting.

19th century glass whale oil lamp 

At the beginning of the 19th century, the steam engine was promoted and applied, and manpower was greatly liberated. 

At the same time, technological and industrial knowledge has exploded, people's motivation and motivation to learn have grown simultaneously, and the demand for indoor lighting has risen sharply.


The price of whale oil has risen, and whaling has become a lucrative business.

At that time, many newly industrialized countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, and Norway had participated in large-scale whaling activities.

The Americans came from behind, and the number of whales caught in just a few years has become the world's first.


The period from 1820 to 1860 was the "golden age" of the whaling industry in the United States. The development of the domestic economy and the rise of the industrial revolution in the United States were driving huge demand for whale oil. Smart humans use whales more diversified. 

Whale products include soaps, skin care products, lubricants, women's corsets, etc., which can be described as making the most of them.


At that time, the income of catching a whale for each crew member was equivalent to half a year's salary of a land worker. There are even women who pretend to be men and get on the boat to work, and many girls dream of marrying the captain of a whaling ship. 

Whalers have become the incarnation of light to some extent, and the whaling industry has become the most respected profession.


"In New Bedford, fathers give big whales to their daughters, and a few small whales do dowry for their nieces. You have to go and see New Bedford’s grand wedding; because, it’s said, Everyone has an oil pond, and they light up whale brain candles all night without caring. Description in the famous American book "White Whale".


During the golden age, the whaling ship in the United States was like a factory floating on the sea. 

After the whaling came up, it could continue to hunt whales while boiling the blubber on the ship in a pot. Greatly expand the time and distance of the whaling fleet.


Info-graphics on Whales not Extinct

Around 1846, nearly half of the fishing vessels in the United States were engaged in whaling, and 735 of the 900 whaling vessels in the world were American.

The huge economic benefits drive whalers to resort to all cruel methods to hunt whales.


When they can't catch up with the adult whales, they will first stab the baby whales and drag them in the sea to trap female whales who refuse to leave.


The advent of steam-powered ships and javelins loaded with explosives made whalers even more powerful.

Since then, no whale has ever escaped the hunting of a whaling ship.


In the 20th century alone, humans killed at least 2.8 million whales! (More in the 19th century, but no data)

A giant blue whale caught at the Great Wicken Whaling Station in Antarctica in the early 20th century

The whaling industry became the first globalized industry.


Capitalists investing in the whaling industry have accumulated huge wealth. The powerful whaling capabilities and financial support have enabled the US whaling fleet to shuttle across the oceans. 

The economic and military prototypes that will dominate the world in the future also began to conceive at this time.


The "black ship incident" that knocked on Japan's gates occurred during this period.


At the beginning of the 19th century, whaling ships of European and American countries began to operate offshore Japan, landing from time to time to seek supplies. 

These whaling ships brought tremendous pressure to Japan's coastal defense and robbed the Japanese of whale resources, so they often encountered obstacles.


On July 8, 1853, Matthew Perry, commander of the U.S. East India Fleet, led four warships into Edo Bay, the throat of the Tokugawa Shogunate. 

Under the threat of cannons and guns, the Japanese shogunate made a compromise and accepted the request of the Perry fleet to rescue American crews and fishermen, provide food, fresh water and fuel supplies to American whalers, and open trading ports.


What is Black Ship Incident?

Whales are the overlord of the ocean, and humans are their only natural enemies.

Before the 16th century, when the scale of whaling was not large, there were many whales in the sea.


A whale image

The first whalers who visited the Arctic boasted that there were so many whales that they could land on their backs.


After more than 200 years of crazy hunting by humans, the number of whales has dropped sharply.


Whales generally give birth to one baby in 2 to 3 years, and each baby whale is born.


The speed of reproduction is far behind the speed of hunting, and some species have even reached the point of extinction.


The turning point occurred on August 27, 1859.


American Colonel Drake drilled the first modern industrial oil well in Pennsylvania.


Since then, oil has appeared in people's vision and gradually replaced whale oil in the following century.


Because of an oil well, whales all over the world escaped.


It feels too dangerous to think about it! 

Assuming that just a few years later, the whale may cease to exist.

65 million years ago, a large meteorite hit the Yucatan Peninsula in what is now Mexico, and the dinosaurs disappeared.

The ancestors of whales and humans survived.


50 million years ago, primates learned to climb trees, and human ancestors began to expand their foraging areas into the air.


The ancestors of whales moved from land to sea in order to fill their stomachs.


A sprinkler baby who has been with humans for tens of millions of years, just because humans have been fishing for one or two hundred years, it almost disappeared.

Author: Naval Kishore

The author is an Actuarial expert


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