Water World: Guide to the 7 Seas

For many years sailors and other people who are interested in water have talked about sailing the seven seas. The thought of sailors who sailed the seven seas meant that they were experienced sailors who have traversed all of the different bodies of water throughout the world. The origins of the seven seas have been dated back to around 2300 BC in Mesopotamia. Over the course of time the definition of which bodies of water that constitutes the seven seas have changed.

The water ways which comprises the seven seas, depending on which era, has included the Gulf of Thailand, the Singapore Straits, the Po River, Caspian Sea and the North Sea. Over the course of time, explorers started to discover more major bodies of water which needed to be considered one of the seven seas. With the discovery of America, the seven seas presently are considered to be the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic Oceans, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. These seven are generally considered to be the seven largest bodies of water in the world.

The definitions of the seven seas has changed dramatically over time. The definitions generally were locally based due to limited knowledge of the world's waterways. For example, during the Roman Empire, the seven seas referred to the waterways leading from the Po River to the Adriatic Sea. However, other eras had different definitions such as in medieval Europe where the Bay of Bengal, Persian Gulf, Singapore Strait and the South China Sea are among the water routes that were considered to be the seven seas.

  • Seven Seas in Mesopotamia (PDF) - information on the seven seas during the Mesopotamian time.

  • The Seven Seas - useful information on the seven seas and the water that comprises the seas.

  • Oceans of the World - helpful information about the greatest oceans in the world.

  • World Ocean Map - image listing the major oceans of the world.

  • The World's Oceans - educational resource giving information about the various oceans around the globe.

  • Ocean Information - informative resource from NOAA about the ocean, ocean life and other relevant information.

  • Ocean Resources - helpful collection of educational resources related to the ocean.

As explorers such as Da Gama, Magellan and Columbus began to sail the oceans they also discovered new bodies of water. These large expanses of water turned out to be major routes for exploration and discovery. Because of the importance of these oceans of water in chartering new territories, these began to be considered part of the seven seas of the world.

While the world generally considers the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea to be the seven seas, the world features other large and important bodies of water. Some historians count only oceans in the seven seas description. These oceans would be the seven largest oceans: North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Atlantic, South Pacific, Indian, Southern and Arctic Oceans. Regardless of the exact waterways which make up the seven seas, they have been part of the folklore throughout the world. While the types of sailing vessels have changed over time, the adventure that has come from sailors out sailing the seven seas has become legendary.

  • Oceans of the World - informative compilation of data and facts on the major oceans of the world.

  • World Ocean Map - images displaying the layout and location of the worlds oceans.

  • Atlantic Ocean - useful resource with information and statistics on the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Indian Ocean - maps and information on the Indian Ocean.

  • Arctic Ocean - helpful website containing information on the ocean, surrounding land mass and climate.

  • Pacific Ocean - background information on the history of the Pacific Ocean and where it got its name.

  • Caribbean Sea - information on the currents that are in the Caribbean Ocean.

  • Gulf of Mexico - informative resource containing information on the water, water temperature and other facts about the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Mediterranean Sea (PDF) - informative article containing a wide range of information about the Mediterranean Sea, sea life and other facts.