Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Visit of USA Naval Fleet to New Zealand 1908

Date: 1908
Overall: 48 x 35 mm, 1 mm, 0.013 kg
Medium: Brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Medal
Object No: 00031714

User Terms

    This medal commemorates the American Great White Fleet visit to Auckland, New Zealand in 1908. The shield shaped medal features an image of four ships with an anchor and capstan. Many pins, medals and medallions were made as souvenirs of the tour. They were collected by sailors and spectators who came to celebrate the fleet’s arrival at the many ports on its itinerary.
    SignificanceThis medal is representative of the Great White Fleet's visit to New Zealand and Australia in 1908. It is typical of the types of memorabilia produced to celebrate the occasion.
    HistoryIn December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent a 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.

    Australia was not originally on the itinerary route of the Great White Fleet, who only decided to visit after receiving a direct invitation from the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. One quarter of the Australian population, over one million people, saw the Great White Fleet during its three-week visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. Public holidays were declared and enthusiastic crowds flocked to see the ships and parades. Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Visit of USA Naval Fleet to New Zealand 1908

    Web title: Medal commemorating the Great White Fleet visit to Auckland

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.