The Fiji Museum - Virtual Museum

The Whalers

From the 1820s through to the early 1860s, British and more often Yankee whale ships formed one of Fiji’s main links with the outside world. Both Sperm and Humpback whales were hunted in and around Fiji waters, with the ships calling at Fijian islands for supplies and to recruit extra crew. Many Fijians and Rotumans were recruited as crewmen, wandering the world aboard the whaling ships.

Whaling in the Pacific declined drastically in the 1860s, due to a growing shortage of whalers, increasing use of petroleum products and the wholesale destruction of the Yankee whaling fleet by the Confederate raiders Alabama and Shenandoah during the American civil war.