Jacques Cousteau was a French conservationist, filmmaker, author, scientist, explorer, and researcher who was born on June 11, 1910 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, Gironde and died on June 25, 1997 in Paris. Famous for his work in marine conservation, Cousteau’s legacy includes the completion of more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members, and his consideration as the most famous undersea explorer of the 20th Century.
Jacques Cousteau has a significant role in the history of ocean exploration. The history of ocean exploration itself began as early as 5000 BC, with the first sailing and diving vessels being built between then and 1 BC. Sailing and diving vessels became more advanced over the years, with explorers discovering new lands and venturing around the world. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, deep diving became possible with the invention of diving suits and helmets, and in the 19th Century, the first scuba was invented. With the 20th Century comes the first images of the ocean floor becoming available, as well as the time period in which Jacques Cousteau’s work made history.
Jacques Cousteau made several contributions to the world of ocean exploration between the 1940s and 70s. In 1948, he and a crew of divers and scientists went on an expedition to look for the wreck of the Roman ship, Mahdia, in the Mediterranean Sea. This expedition would mark the beginning of underwater archaeology. In 1950, Cousteau founded the French Oceonographic Campaign (FOC), and in 1973, he founded the Cousteau Society to help raise awareness of the ecosystems of the oceans and the dangers posed to them by mankind.
The work of Jacques Cousteau helped pave the way for present accomplishments in the world of ocean exploration, which includes amazing discoveries such as the wreck of the Titanic, the discovery of deep sea hydrothermal vents, and the first video of a live giant squid in the ocean.
Image via Christopher.Michel