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American sailors ashore at Rio de Janerio, Brazil

Date: 15 January 1908
Overall: 88 x 137 mm
Medium: Ink, cardboard
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00015079
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    This souvenir postcard was produced to commemorate the American Great White Fleet world tour from 1907 – 1909. The postcard is titled ‘American sailors ashore at Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Jan. 15, 1908’. The postcard features an image of a group of sailors standing beside a horse drawn street car.
    SignificanceThe visit 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 amongst the Australian public. Memorabilia made to coincide with the occasion emphasised the mutual union between the countries and the good will of the Australian nation toward its American ally.
    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 visited Trinidad and the British West Indies before stopping at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 12 January 1908. Over 4000 sailors were given leave to go ashore and the City hosted a large number of receptions and events over the ten day visit. On 22 January the Fleet left Brazil to undertake the complex navigational task of transiting the Magellan Straits. The Fleet anchored overnight in Possession Bay in the Straits from 31 January to 1 February 1908 before arriving at Punta Arenas, Chile later that day. After departing Chile, the Fleet visited Peru and Mexico before sailing up the West Coast of America. On 7 July, the Fleet departed San Francisco, California 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.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: American sailors ashore at Rio de Janerio, Brazil

    Web title: American sailors ashore at Rio de Janerio, Brazil

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