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

As time has progressed, 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.