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US Battleship VIRGINIA

Date: 1908
Overall: 89 x 140 mm
Medium: Photographic print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00015003

User Terms

    The US battleship VIRGINIA is shown from its starboard side flying an unidentifiable flag at the stern. VIRGINIA was one of the battleships that took part in the American Great White Fleet Tour in 1908 to countries including Australia. Postcards became a popular souvenir of the visit and commonly featured images of the fleet's ships.
    SignificanceAustralia welcomed the United State’s Great White Fleet tour in 1908 through the production of souvenir items such as this postcard, which demonstrate the excitement the visit generated in the Australian public.
    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.

    USS VIRGINIA was commissioned into the United States Navy on 7 May 1906 and conducted its shakedown cruise off Rhode Island. It was involved in operations in Cuba before taking part in the Great White Fleet tour from 1907 to 1909. After the fleet’s world tour VIRGINIA was involved in operations in World War I serving as a training and convoy vessel. VIRGINIA was decommissioned on 13 August 1920 and later used as a target for bombing practice.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: US battleship VIRGINIA

    Primary title: US Battleship VIRGINIA

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