Colorized image of three men sewing sails during whaling error.
Building sails in 1800s New Bedford. Image courtesy: NPS/ New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford's uniqueness stems from its growth as a whaling port and the diversity that flourished in the city. Read more below.
Lithograph of Union Army charging forward with flag at Battle of Fort Wagner.
"The Storming of Fort Wagner," 1890 lithograph by Kurz and Allison. Image courtesy: Wiki Commons
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
The 54th Massachusetts was one of the first federally recognized African American regiments that fought in the Civil War. More information.
Men push a canoe over the snow and ice.
Shore whaling (c.1898). Photo courtesy: New Bedford Whaling Museum
Arctic Rescue
In 1897, the Arctic ice closed in around 275 whalemen and left them stranded with limited supplies. An earlier version of the U.S. Coast Guard traveled 1,500 miles overland to bring the men food. More information.
Runaway slaves escape across the river by darkness.
Underground Railroad. Image courtesy: NPS
The Underground Railroad
This secret network helped blacks escape slavery. Many runaways stopped in New Bedford, where progressive views, jobs, and a diverse population helped protect them from re-enslavement. More information.
Men in a rowboat try to harpoon a whale on the open ocean.
Whale hunt. Image courtesy: New Bedford Whaling Museum
Whaling Heritage
When Quaker merchants moved their whaling businesses from Nantucket to New Bedford, they started a 100-year industry that forever shaped New Bedford's maritime culture. More information.

Last updated: March 3, 2020

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