Cape Hatteras National Seashore was authorized by Congress on August 17, 1937, and established on January 12, 1953. As the nation's first national seashore, it encompasses 30,000 acres and crosses three islands, Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke, for approximately 70 miles. Nearby Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, located within the authorized seashore boundary, is 5,880 acres. Over the centuries, the seashore has witnessed major historic events, including the landing of the first English explorers, the death of Blackbeard the pirate, Civil War battles, German U-boat attacks, hundreds of shipwrecks, and devastating hurricanes. Descended from horses brought over by Spanish explorers, the Ocracoke ponies still roam the landscape. This National Park Service unit also includes the majestic Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Lighthouses. The seashore is a haven for wildlife and recreational beachgoers. Cape Hatteras National Seashore showcases the rich natural and cultural heritage of America's first national seashore.