New Bedford or New London: Which Is the Real Whaling City?
Wait, can there really be more than one Whaling City in southern New England?
It is difficult to say with any certainty whether New Bedford or New London first coined the name Whaling City, but when you Google "Whaling City," New Bedford pops up, and New London does not.
New London was founded by John Winthrop in 1646. English settlers bought the land that would eventually be called New Bedford in 1652. The area was first known as Dartmouth. New Bedford was incorporated in 1787.
According to Wikipedia, New Bedford, New London, and Nantucket were the three busiest whaling ports in the world in the early 19th century.
There are differences and similarities between New Bedford and New London.
New Bedford has whale murals by the renowned artist Robert Wyland.
New London has Wyland whale murals, too.
New London has a whale's tail.
New Bedford has a whale's tail, too.
New Bedford has a population of just more than 100,000 people while New London is much smaller with just over 27,000 residents.
New London has the United States Coast Guard Academy and the Coast Guard Station New London. New Bedford has a kick-ass fishing fleet that makes it the most lucrative fishing port in the U.S.
New London has the Coast Guard tall ship Eagle.
New Bedford has the Ernestina.
Both New Bedford and New London have high school sports teams known as Whalers.
Nantucket adopted a unique nickname and is known as "The Little Grey Lady of the Sea." Nantucket's high school sports teams are also known as Whalers.
Nantucket was founded in 1641 by Thomas Mayhew.
While Nantucket has emerged from the whaling era as a successful resort community and home to many well-to-do retirees from the mainland, New Bedford and New London became industrial centers after whaling and have continued to struggle after their industrial base faded away.