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Bay History

John Smith's map of Virginia was first published in 1612, but served as a model for many later maps. This map was derived from Smith's map. The original was published in Amsterdam in the 1640s. From Willard Rouse.
John Smith’s map of Virginia was first published in 1612, but served as a model for many later maps. This map was derived from Smith’s map. The original was published in Amsterdam in the 1640s. From Willard Rouse.

Discover the maritime history of the Chesapeake. Explore the culture of the Native American inhabitants who named the Bay “Chesapeake.” Learn why the first English explorers in North America placed their settlements along the shores of the Bay, and how this region later became linked with a new nation’s fight for independence, subsequent growth, and its fracture and reunion at the time of the Civil War.

As time has progressed, you can see how the diverse activities of Bay watermen and boat builders have led to their adaptation of the boats they use to local conditions such as water depth, wind and weather patterns, distance from the fishing grounds, available materials, and harvesting technologies.