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US Cruiser COLUMBIA

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
88 x 140 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00040664

User Terms

    Description
    This postcard features a black and white photographic image of the United States cruiser COLUMBIA. It was one of a series of cards by Waldon Fawcett who photographed ships of the Spanish American War and vessels that later participated in the Great White Fleet. This series was created before 1908, some as early as 1904. Patriotic postcards such as this were produced to commemorate the Great White Fleet world tour in 1907 - 1909.
    SignificanceThe tour of the American Great White Fleet in 1908 was an event of enormous proportions. Souvenir items such as this postcard demonstrate the excitement the visit generated around the world.
    HistoryIn December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent the US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships on a 14 month goodwill cruise around the world. The fleet was a chance for the Navy to practice seamanship and express America's world power. Roosevelt was also concerned about rising Japanese aggression and their expansionist foreign policy. The cruise would be a political and public relations exercise to build domestic support for more naval construction.

    Led by the flagship, USS CONNECTICUT, the Great White Fleet as it became known, consisted of 16 battleships painted white, as was the practice of all US Navy ships in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each. Early in the voyage the order of the ships was altered to allow the best-looking vessels to be at the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with 614 officers and 13,504 crew. It consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition and was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation of the globe.

    The Great White Fleet began its tour on 16 December 1907 from Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Fleet sailed to Trinidad, the British West Indies, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Mexico before sailing up the West Coast of America. The Fleet landed at San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey and then San Francisco, California. The Fleet departed San Francisco on 7 July 1908 for the third and final legs of its tour, visiting Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippine’s, Japan, Ceylon and Egypt. The Fleet visited Messina, Italy in January 1909 to offer support and assistance following an earthquake, and after departing Messina, the Fleet visited Naples and Gibraltar before returning home to Hampton Roads, Virginia on 22 February 1909.

    Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria generated by the Great White Fleet's world tour. Badges, medallions, pins, postcards and photographs all reflected the enthusiasm surrounding the tour.

    The unarmoured protected cruiser USS COLUMBIA was launched on 26 July 1892 by William Cramp and Sons in Pennsylvania. COLUMBIA received its first commission with the North Atlantic Squadron under the command of Captain George Watson Sumner. In 1895, COLUMBIA represented the United States at the Kiel Canal opening in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1897 the cruiser was placed in reserve until recommissioned in 1898 and sent to the Atlantic coast on patrol duty during the Spanish-American War. In 1899 COLUMBIA was decommissioned again only to be recommissioned in 1902 and assigned to the Atlantic Training Squadron in 1903. COLUMBIA acted as a patrol and escort from 1917 to 1919, when the cruiser became the flagship for Squadron 2 of the Atlantic Fleet's Destroyer Force. USS COLUMBIA was decommissioned on 29 June 1921.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: US Cruiser COLUMBIA

    Web title: US Cruiser COLUMBIA

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