Travelling through the Gulf Stream has got us thinking about how this waterway has played an important role in much of America’s early history. From Spanish explorers such as Hernando Cortez and Juan Ponce de Leon to the US Coast survey that began in 1845 to today where ships choose their most efficient path for their route.
The coast we have passed also holds a great deal of history. Among its many historic events, Charleston is home to the Hunley. The Hunley was one of the country’s first submersible weapons or as we know it, a submarine. For the time, it was innovative technology created during the Civil war in an effort to defeat a Union blockade on Charleston Harbor. After several attempts, on a cold night in February 1864 the Hunley crew completed their mission to destroy the war ship, USS Housatonic.
One other point of land we will pass are the Dry Tortugas. Lying almost 70-miles west of Key West and composed of coral reefs and sand this land is now part of the United States National Park Service. This area was first named by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and has seen the likes of pirates, migrants, and countless shipwrecks. During the civil war a military prison was constructed and the area became known as Fort Jefferson. One of the most infamous residents at the Fort was Dr. Samual Mudd. After being convicted of conspiracy in the murder of President Lincoln, Dr. Mudd was sentenced to Fort Jefferson where his skills as a medical doctor played a key role in as he single handedly fought an epidemic of yellow fever. Dr. Mudd was later granted a pardon by President Johnson where he moved back to his home state of Maryland.
1. What was the technology used to power the Hunley?
2. What years were the civil war fought?
3. How many square miles is the Dry Tortugas Research Natural Area protecting the islands marine resources?
4. What is the only bird to regularly nest in the areas around the Dry Tortugas?