Category Archives: History

Why Did the Greenwich Meridian Shift?

Recently, it was reported that the Prime Meridian, as marked at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, is off by 102 meters, over the length of an American football field. The Prime Meridian is the arbitrary line marking 0 degrees … Continue reading

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The Newest Oldest Message in a Bottle

In 2014, we posted about a German fisherman who found a 101 year old message in a bottle. It was then the oldest message ever found in a bottle. Now, a bottle containing a message that was tossed overboard between … Continue reading

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Wreck of the USS Macon — Flying Aircraft Carrier

In Marvel comics and movies, the mobile headquarters of the fictional intelligence/defense agency S.H.I.E.L.D. is a flying aircraft carrier, referred to as a “Helicarrier.”  In the comic books, the flying aircraft carrier first appeared in 1965, which raises the obvious question — … Continue reading

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Pride of the Ladies’ Gunboat Association — CSS Georgia Artifacts Recovered

Navy divers, working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, are attempting to raise what is left of the 250′ long CSS Georgia, an ironclad warship from the Civil War, in preparation for dredging the Savannah River.  The river is … Continue reading

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Spirits of the Passage: Stories of the Transatlantic Slave Trade Opens on the Cutter Lilac

Spirits of the Passage: Stories of the Transatlantic Slave Trade opened yesterday on board the ex-USCG cutter Lilac at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25.  The exhibit explores the transatlantic slave trade through a display of nearly 150 historical objects, many salvaged from sunken … Continue reading

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The Clipper Ship Noonday & the Ships of Badger’s Island

Last year, the wreck of a the clipper ship, Noonday, was located just west of San Francisco. There was no great mystery where the ship sank in 1863, as the submerged rock where she struck has been known as Noonday Rock ever since. … Continue reading

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500 Year Old Sea Monster Figurehead from the Bottom of the Baltic Sea

Divers exploring the wreck of the Gribshunden have recovered a figurehead of a sea monster with ‘lion ears and crocodile-like mouth’ which has lay on the bottom of the Baltic Sea for roughly 500 years off the coast of Ronneby in southern Sweden. … Continue reading

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Washington and Hamilton on the US Coast Guard’s 225th Birthday

Today, on the 225th anniversary of George Washington signing of the legislation establishing the Revenue-Marine, the predecessor to the United States Coast Guard, President George Washington and his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, returned to Federal Hall in New … Continue reading

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Near 300th Anniversary of Terra Firme Fleet Disaster, Divers Find $1MM in Spanish Gold

On July 30, 1715 the Spanish Terra Firme and New Spain fleets, bound from Havana to Spain, were hit by a hurricane off the coast of Florida.  Eleven ships were blown up on to the reefs and sank. Only one ship … Continue reading

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Kick ’em Jenny – Ready to Rock Out From Underwater

Back in 2011, we posted a short quiz: Is Kick’em Jenny a Dutch rockabilly singer, a Dutch Celtic Symfo-Folk band or an active submarine volcano on the floor of the Caribbean Sea? The answer is yes to all three. I am not sure … Continue reading

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Fifty One Years Ago, Trawler Snoopy and Eight Crew Casualties of Torpedo Alley

Fifty one years ago this week, on July 23, 1964, the scallop trawler Snoopy was trawling off Currituck Sound, NC.  During World War II that stretch of the coast earned the grim nickname, Torpedo Alley, when German U-boats sank nearly 400 ships in the … Continue reading

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Annie C. Maguire and the Wreck at Portland Head Light

Was the wreck of three-masted bark, Annie C. Maguire, which very conveniently wrecked at Portland Head Light on Christmas Eve 1886, simply an insurance scam? It is said that the ship wrecked so close to the light that the lighthouse … Continue reading

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Captain John Newton & Amazing Grace — The Story Behind the Myth

A new musical is coming to Broadway this summer, which features a ship’s captain and stage sets with lots of ship’s rigging. It is based on the story of Captain John Newton and the song Amazing Grace.  The musical is described: … Continue reading

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El Galeon Andalusia — Fascinating if Occasionally Anachronistic

Today I went aboard El Galeon Andalusia, at South Street Seaport. The ship is billed as “a 170 foot, 495 ton, authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet.” It is a intriguing ship that has … Continue reading

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Four Hundred Years of Sailing Ships at the South Street Seaport

Last week provided a rare opportunity to glimpse over 400 years of sailing ship history in three ships, tied up almost side by side, at New York’s South Street Seaport. Berthed on the south side of Pier 15, El Galeon Andalucia is a replica of a … Continue reading

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The Ballad of Preserved Fish

Puritans were notorious for weird names.  Some first names are strangely long, such as “If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned” or “Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith”.  Some names were short but just disturbingly odd. Fly-fornication, for example.  In 1766, Preserved Fish was born in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. His first name, Preserved, … Continue reading

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Captain Hansen Gregory & the Birth of the Modern Donut

Some friends of mine think that I am crazy because I seem to find nautical connections in just about everything. (Other friends think I am crazy for other reasons.)  Take for example, the modern donut.  What about a donut could … Continue reading

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HMT Lancastria – A “Secret Sacrifice” No Longer

The tragic loss of an estimated 6,500 men, women and children on the Lancastria was covered up for more than seventy years. It was the greatest loss of life in the sinking of a single British ship, claiming more lives than … Continue reading

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The French Navy Ship Insere and the Statue of Liberty

Today’s “Google Doodle,” the changing graphic that appears at the top of the Google search page, is a whimsical memorial to the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York. “Google is celebrating America’s most famous gift from France … Continue reading

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l’Hermione Greeted by Fireworks at Mount Vernon

The French frigate l‘Hermione was greeted by a dramatic fireworks display on its arrival at Mount Vernon, Virginia, George Washington’s plantation home. In 1780, the original frigate L’Hermione, carried the 23 year old Gilbert du Motier, better known as the Marquis … Continue reading

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