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Essex (whaleship)

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Categories : Historical

The Essex was an American whaling ship that was sunk by a sperm whale in 1820 and provided the inspiration for the novel Moby-Dick. The vessel was 87 feet long and was hunting in the Pacific Ocean with twenty-one sailors on board when it was sunk. The survivors boarded smaller, open boats and landed on a small, uninhabited island. After one week, they realized they had exhausted their supplies, and all but three men decided to leave the island. Over the next three months, the sailors in the small boats slowly died off as they drifted in the open seas. The survivors drew lots to determine which man would be killed in order for the remaining crew to cannibalize his body.

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