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Why are the horse latitudes called by that name?

Find out why the horse latitudes are called by that name.

Certain latitudes in the ocean were once strewn with dead horses. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Certain latitudes in the ocean were once strewn with dead horses.

Why Are the Horse Latitudes Called by That Name

Why are the horse latitudes called by that name is because of a weather phenomenon at that latitude. They are two high-pressure belts characterized by low winds, about 30 degrees north and south of the equator. Dreaded by early sailors, these areas have undependable winds with periods of calm. In the northern hemisphere, particularly near Bermuda, sailing ships carrying horses from Spain to the New World were often becalmed. When water supplies ran low, these animals were the first to be rationed water. Dying from thirst or tossed overboard, the animals were sacrificed to conserve water for the men. Explorers and sailors reported that the seas were strewn with bodies of horses. Supposedly this is why the areas are called the horse latitudes. The term might be rooted in the complaints by sailors who were paid in advance and received no overtime when the ships slowly transversed this area. Supposedly during this time they were working off a dead horse.

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