Long Island

A history of Long Island with an emphasis on the growth of the whaling industry.

This paper presents a description of the history of Long Island, New York which spent much of the 19th century developing a name for itself in the whaling industry. It discusses how the whaling industry was a strong provider for the area and evaluates the ups and downs of the industry over the years. It shows how the life was not an easy one and how voyages could take men from their families and their lives for three to five years at a time. The pay was not high and as result of this hard life was that many white sailors left the industry for other professions and the jobs were left to the African Americans and the Native Americans. It examines how it was not long before the whale population began to thin out and stop providing such profits and how many of those who had worked in the industry moved to the kerosene industry instead to support their families. Cotton mills and other industries soon came to the area and Long Island continued to prosper.
“During the peak whaling industry years many ports and harbors in Long Island hosted fleets of whaling vessels including the nine whaling vessels that were harbored and ported at Cold Spring Harbor. Another famous harbor around the time of whaling industry’s boom was Sag Harbor. Sag Harbor was actually the capital of the Long Island whaling industry and at one time it provided safe harbor for over 60 whaling vessels. These ships provided jobs for more than 800 men.”