Motion of the ocean

History of Oceanography

By alie216
  • Period: Jan 1, 1200 to Jan 1, 1300

    Compass Introduced

    13th century, the Chinese introduce the compass to European society. Greatly improves navigational charts.
  • Jan 1, 1450

    Prince Henry the Navigator

    Prince Henry the Navigator
    Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal starts a naval obsservatory to teach navigation and astronomy. This was the first known center for education of topics including oceanography.
  • Jan 1, 1513

    Ninez de Balboa

    Ninez de Balboa
    Ninez de Balboa "found" Pacific Ocean. Other societies had of course come across it, such as the Polynesians, but Balboa was the first European to discover it, opening the society's eyes to just how large their world really was.
  • Period: Jan 1, 1521 to Dec 1, 1522

    Magellan Navigates Around the World

    In reality, only Magellan's crew made it entirely around the world. At a stop in the Phillipines, Mageelan himself was eaten by the inhabitants. This was a huge deal: sailing around the world isn't easy now, even with all the technology we have.
  • Jan 1, 1530

    Gemma Frisius

    Gemma Frisius
    In 1530 Gemma Frisius proposed a relationship between longitude and time. This was the first step towards a drastic improvement/change in the way maps and navigational charts were created.
  • Period: to


    John Harrison built the first chronometer. The chronometer can tell you accurate time while on sea, and can therefore tell you your location east or west-wise. This was a huge discovery, equivalent to the internet today. It allowed explorers to better chart their location as well as keep track of time.
  • HMS Challenger

    HMS Challenger
    In 1872. the HMS Challenger was launched. It was a naval ship borrowed for the first exlusively oceanographic voyage . The ship was backed up by steam power, and captained by Wyville Thomas. It returned from its travels and studies in 1876, with an incredible amount of specimens and new information on the ocean and its inhabitants.
  • Fridtjof Nansen

    Fridtjof Nansen
    In 1893 Nansen launched an arctic expedition to discover how the arctic currents flow by freezing his ship, the Fram, into the ice. Eventually, after being stuck in the ice for three years and an ill-attempted escape, the crew and Nansen were rescued. In 1896 they returned with basic current charts.
  • Period: to

    Commissions Albatross

    Commissions Albatross is the first ship built exclusively for ocean science. It was built by the US. It represents a step the nation was taking towards wanting to understand and the knowledge the we need to understand how the oceans work in order ot understand the rest of the world.
  • Period: to


    It is discovered that with a satellite, CZCS, the productivity of plants in the ocean can be measured. Pictures can be taken by a satellite, and the colors represent the productivity of the plants via the amount of chlorophyll.
  • ICES

    ICES stands for international council for exploration of the seas. It was formed by Germany, Great Britain Holland, Russia, and Scandinavia. It is the first large group of international powers devoted to exploring the oceans.
  • Scripps

    In 1912, the first US intitute of oceanography was founded. It was called Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Scripps for short, and is still in California.
  • Period: to


    German ship the Meteor goes to search for gold floating in the sea. Their search is fruitless, but they do endup learning about the South Atlantic and bringing back more information on the waters there.
  • Woods Hole

    Woods Hole
    In 1930, Massachusetts got its first intitute of oceanography in the form of Woods Hole.
  • NOAA

    In 1970, NOAA, which stands for 'national oceanographic and atmospheric association', as created. Today, weatherpeople nationwide rely on it for reports on the atmosphere and incoming storms on the coast. It monitors various ocean and atmospheric levels (temperature, etc).
  • Theory of Principia

    Theory of Principia
    In 1630, Isaac Newton wrote his Theory of Principia, which described the law of gravity and the process of tides. This book described something that we take for granted now; back then, no one had heard of gravity or taken the time to discover how tides work.