Jacques Cousteau: Underwater Explorer

Biography by Belle, age 8 Artwork by Lola, age 10

The Museum of Very Interesting People features Jacques Cousteau, famous marine explorer and environmentalist.
Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau

Lived: 1910 - 1997

Claim to Fame: Underwater explorer extraordinaire and conservationist.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was born in Saint-Andre-de-Cubzac, France in 1910. Jacques learned to swim when he was four!

In 1920 Jacques family moved to New York City in the USA. He didn’t like school. When he was in highschool he broke 17 windows as an ‘experiment’, got expelled and was sent to a strict boarding school! After he finished school, Jaques joined the French Navy and got to travel around the world as part of his job.

When Jacques was 26, he went to a party of his friend Henri Melchior. He started talking to Henri’s daughter Simone at the party and they fell in love and got married.

Jacques was fascinated with the world underneath the sea. He wanted to stay longer under there and also film what he saw. He invented lots of different things to help him do both of those things.

In 1950, Jacques bought a boat called the Calypso and he and his family started living on it!

Jacques was an undersea explorer, conservationist, inventor, scientist, photographer, film-maker and author! He loved the world under the sea, and he wanted to share his discoveries with the world so he created a society named the Cousteau society. He was the director and his youngest son was the Vice President. One of Jacques goals for his life was to show the public how amazing the undersea world was and that humans had to protect the fragile underwater ecosystems.

When he was in his 80s, he met with world leaders and collected millions of signatures from people around the world to stop oil companies from mining in Antarctica. He said, ‘may this continent, the last explored by humankind, be the first one to be spared by humankind.’

Jacques died of a heart attack in 1997 when he was 87.