SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom is based on a real-life test site for nuclear weapons

“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”

My anthropology class replied, “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Their thunderous response filled the auditorium.

Nearly 20 years ago, the underwater world of SpongeBob and his quirky, colorful friends debuted as a cartoon. The cultural icon is now a Broadway musical, recently nominated 12 Tony awards.

My follow-up question, however, was met with silence: I asked students what they could tell me about the real Bikini Bottom.

Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob’s fictional home, is based on an actual place in the Pacific Ocean.

But how much do most Americans know of the real-life Bikini Atoll, the location of 23 U.S. nuclear weapons tests during the Cold War era?

Beyond the Bathing Suit

Bikini is the anglicized, or colonial, spelling of Pikinni Atoll, a group of islands within the Marshall Islands that includes a lagoon. The Marshall Islands, a former colony of the United States, is a group of islands that spread across 1 million square miles of ocean just north of the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and Papua New Guinea.

Article Source: Burke Museum