Navigational Track Chart for the German Nitrate Ship Pampa, 1904

By the mid-1870s, the Pacific guano trade had mined all the available bird guano from the South American and remote Pacific Ocean islands. Fortunately for international agricultural interests, nitrate and phosphate mines had recently been discovered inland in Peru and Chile to fill the gap, and big sailing ships from Europe and the United States exchanged the avian excrement for chemicals that could be mined and blended for fertilizers and other products.
This track chart measured daily progress for the German steel-hulled full-rigged ship Pampa from Hamburg, Germany to "The West Coast" (South America) on a 1904 voyage. Built at Rostock for the Flying P line of nitrate clippers, Pampa measured 295 ft. 5 in. long and 1777 tons (gross); the long-lived ship was an extremely fast sailer and set several records in its day. Pampa was dismasted in 1922 in a storm, sold by F. Laeisz (owners of the Flying P Line) and sent to British ship breakers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 11 1/2 in x 14 3/8 in; 29.21 cm x 36.5125 cm
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
Measuring & Mapping
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Capt. J. Ferrell Colton

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