The Modern Whaling Industry in the Arctic: diffusion and adaptation of a technical system

By Ulf Gustaffson
PhD Student Arctic Centre, University of Groningen

The modern whaling industry was developed and shaped in the latter part of the nineteenth century, in a complex process which involved a multitude of actors and factors. By the turn of the twentieth century the industry had either depleted or severely reduced whale-stocks in several locations across the northern hemisphere, promoting the quest for new and prosperous hunting grounds further north and south. Consequently, the Arctic and Antarctic became intimately incorporated in the whaling companies’ spheres of interest.
What were the driving factors behind this diffusion, and how did the whaling companies adapt technologies, organisational structures and social strategies to these remote regions whose legal status either were no mans land, or at least uncertain? Furthermore, what were the political consequences of their activities for the geo-political map of the European High Arctic?
Willem Barentsz Poolinstituut

Bundeling van kennis, onderzoek en onderwijs over de Noord- en de Zuidpool

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