Historical Oceanography Subject Library

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Oceanography has always been dependent on technology. Advances in our understanding of the oceans often result from new ways to get at or measure the ocean: better ships, better submersibles, better instruments (including satellites).

Oceanography has historically been driven by either economic needs or military needs. The first peoples of the world took to the ocean to find food or jewelry or other material resources. The oceans have seen many a battle, from European conquests of Latin America to the World Wars. Even today, aircraft carriers and submarines are vitally important to protecting national interests.

Oceanography is largely funded by governments; few commercial applications of oceanography exist. While fisheries and aquaculture show promise as commercial ventures, it is still the world's governments who fund ocean science.

Oceanography requires cooperation among many people with vastly different interests and skills. Besides the obvious divisions between ship's crew and ship's scientists (which may or may not get along), the oceanographers themselves depend on each other for conducting experiments and making observations. As we have already seen, oceanography is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, why-can't-we-all-get-along kind of science.

Historical Oceanography Middens
Historical Oceanography The Chumash Indians
Historical Oceanography Pearl Divers
Historical Oceanography Wayfaring
Historical Oceanography Admiral Zheng
Historical Oceanography The Vikings
Historical Oceanography The Discovery of California
Historical Oceanography Blackbeard the Pirate
Historical Oceanography Captain Cook
Historical Oceanography Charles Darwin
Historical Oceanography The Challenger Oceanographic Expedition
Historical Oceanography Benjamin Franklin and the Gulf Stream
Historical Oceanography Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury
Historical Oceanography Fridtjof Nansen and the Fram
Historical Oceanography W. Sean Chamberlin and Calypso