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Estudios atacameños

On-line version ISSN 0718-1043

Abstract

QUIROZ, Daniel. Traditional whaling operations on the South American Shores: characteristics, transformations and continuities. Estud. atacam. [online]. 2020, n.65, pp.47-64. ISSN 0718-1043.  http://dx.doi.org/10.22199/issn.0718-1043-2020-0020.

Historians distinguish two major categories in commercial whaling, with a technological regime specific: traditional and modern whaling. The use of vessels, open boats, manual harpoons and spears defines traditional whaling, and modern whaling by the presence of whale catchers armed with an explosive harpoon gun mounted on its bow. In traditional whaling, two varieties, “Basque” and “Yankee”, which come in South America at different times, operates on pre-existing knowledge and practices in the local coastal communities. The presence of foreign whalers makes it possible to explain the emergence of local operations in Brazil, Chile and Peru, which successfully integrates technological, social and productive elements of the visiting groups with their own in a complex set of transformations and continuities, constituting “local whaling traditions”. Traditional Atlantic and Pacific whaling operations show a lot of technological similarities but some organizational differences, especially in terms of the relevance of private initiative and the role of the State. It has been proven that whaling operations are part of a global enterprise and will be essential to understand these links in the near future.

Keywords : traditional whaling; basque tradition; yankee tradition; South American whaling operations.

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