Book Review-‘Shetland and the Greenland Whaling’ by A. Duncan,

By Arthur G. Credland, published October 2020


This impressive volume is a significant addition to our knowledge of the Arctic whaling trade and shows the vital importance of the islanders to its successful prosecution. Equally the income from the hire of seamen, and the money earned each voyage became essential to the local economy. Initially the men, crofters who were part-time farmers and fishermen, were recruited from the ‘proprietors’ or local landowners and so early as 1781 more than 800 were taken aboard the ‘Greenlanders’ in a single season. In the early nineteenth century agents, notably members of the Hay family, began to take over these arrangements. They also supplied provisions and clothes directly to the seamen, the cost docked from the earnings, as well as to the ships slops chest from which they were sold to the crew during the voyage. This system of ‘trucking’ whereby the seamen received little cash at the end of the voyage, and often carried a debt to the next, becoming increasingly contentious…

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Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Twentieth C) | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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