Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Save up to 17% on the price of your tickets!

It's easy... Become a member today! If you are already a member, log in to get your member rate.

The Oyster Wars of the Chesapeake

Evening Program on Zoom

Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1NV067
Tickets
$25 - Member
$30 - Non-Member
Reserving your tickets...

The oyster war in Chesapeake Bay, Harper's Weekly  illustration (Library of Congress) 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Along with the skipjack fishing boat, watermen, and the Bay Bridge, one of the most enduring symbols of the Chesapeake Bay is the oyster. Both a delicacy and a keystone in the health of the bay and rivers, the oyster has long played a critical role in life along the Chesapeake. It’s been a food staple for Native Americans, a key component in aquatic habitats, and helped drive and create many economies in the region. And from the mid-19th century through the 1950s, it was the cause of ongoing skirmishes, fights, and battles that came to be called the Oyster Wars.

This almost-forgotten history is peppered throughout Virginia and Maryland and the waterways that link them. Historian Dakota Springston looks at these sometimes-violent disputes among oyster pirates, legal watermen, and authorities waged with weapons that included Civil War cannons, knives, fists, oyster tongs, and legislation in state houses. Links to the Oyster Wars lie in half-sunken wrecks of Oyster Police boats, cannons used by the “State Oyster Navy”, the remains of oyster villages, and in the legends of communities along the waterways. Springston examines how the war for the oyster led to its near extinction, and eventually, protection for this small but significant emblem of the Chesapeake Bay.

PATRON INFORMATION

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.