New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the largest whaling port in the world in the mid 1800s. Whalemen of diverse nationalities traveled from New Bedford around the globe, often working under dangerous conditions, to hunt the earth's largest mammals. Whales yielded sperm oil, spermaceti, and baleen. These were valuable and highly prized products for lamp oil, candle wax, and soaps. The whaling merchants of New Bedford operated a complex and profitable network of finance, shipbuilding, barrel making, insurance, provisioning, and rope and sail making to support the whaling industry.
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