Page 4. " the steamer Governor Higginson, of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Company "


Taking the Pilot (500 * 387)

 The shiplist  website gives details on the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Company. It lists the Governor Higginson as  a 599 tons ship built in 1856.

Page 5. " Now the largest whales, those which frequent those parts of the sea round the Aleutian, Kulammak, and Umgullich islands, have never exceeded the length of sixty yards "

Blue Wale Size
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike

Blue Wale Size

 The Aleutian Island and Alaska are prime Wale watching territory. A possible canditate for the monster could have been the Blue Wale, the largest animal ever known to have existed .

Page 8. " for of three thousand ships whose loss was annually recorded at Lloyd's, "

Lloyds Subscription Room
Public Domain
Lloyds Subscription Room Lloyd's, also known as Lloyd's of London, is a British insurance and reinsurance market.
Page 10. " . And in these disastrous times, when the ingenuity of man has multiplied the power of weapons of war, it was possible that, without the knowledge of others, a State might try to work such a formidable engine. But the idea of a war machine fell before the declaration of Governments. "

The  disastrous time is 1866, just 1 year after the end of the American Civil war (1861-1865).  It places the action in the middle of the second industrial revolution. Mass production, the railroad and telegraph, aerial observation and the even more terrible weapons made the Civil War the first modern war . The Henry and Spencer repeating rifles replacing the the smoothbore musket - fast to load, but inaccurate , reduced the classic infantry attacks to suicide missions.

Page 11. " The common narwhal, or unicorn of the sea "

The narwhal  is a medium-sized toothed whale that lives year-round in the Arctic. Narwhal males are distinguished by a characteristic long, straight, helical tusk extending from their upper left jaw.

Page 13. " A frigate of great speed, the Abraham Lincoln, was put in commission as soon as possible. "

A frigate  is a warship. In the 18th century, the term referred to ships that were  square-rigged on all three masts (full rigged), but were faster and with lighter armament, used for patrolling and escort.

Page 20. " a certain sum of two thousand dollars, set apart for whoever should first sight the monster "

Today 2 000 Dollar does not sound much as a revard.  The question is how much is it as a relative value for the time period. The measuring worth website is answering this question. When using the unskilled wage as an indicator  $2,000.00 from 1866 is worth $236,000.00 today. 

Page 23. " Precisely, Ned: so that at 32 feet beneath the surface of the sea you would undergo a pressure of 97,500 lb. "

Every 33 feet (10 m)  of water the pressure increases 1 ATM atmosphere of pressure . 1 ATM is equivalent to 14.696 pounds per square inch. Professor Aronnax is calculating for Ned Land the pressure he would undergo at 320 feet (100 m).















Page 25. " . The 3rd of July we were at the opening of the Straits of Magellan, level with Cape Vierges. But Commander Farragut would not take a tortuous passage, but doubled Cape Horn. "


Cape Horn is widely considered to be the most southerly point of South America. Dutch sailors named it after their hometown  the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands. It marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage.  For many years it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. However, the waters around the cape are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors' graveyard.

  The need for ships to round the Cape Horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.