AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World

Fri, 03/23/2012 - 7:00pm

Pictured: A 19th-century depiction of whaling

Credit: Courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association

For two centuries, American whale oil lit the world - powering the start of the industrial revolution and laying the groundwork for a truly global economy. 

From filmmaker Ric Burns, “Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World,” tells the thrilling and epic story of three centuries of American whaling and the unique relationship between American whalers and the giant creatures they hunted. The hunt for these mysterious, mammoth beings helped fuel the expansion of the American economy — propelled tiny backwater ports like Nantucket and New Bedford to the unrivalled center of the whaling world — and pioneered the first truly global enterprise America ever knew. At the height of the whaling industry, U.S. whaleships encircled the globe, a massive state-of-the-art fleet crewed by highly-skilled mariners whose ever-widening search for whales enabled them to chart the seven seas. The magnificent creatures were slaughtered for the precious oil that filled their massive heads, the high-quality illuminant that lit the drawing rooms of Europe and greased the wheels of the Industrial Revolution. Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World airs Friday, March 23 at 7 p.m. on WXXI World (cable 524/DT21.2).