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The flag of the United States of America - souvenir of the 1908 visit of the Great White Fleet to Australia

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 570 x 586 mm
Medium: Silk
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Visual communication
Object Name: Flag
Object No: 00002780
Related Place:United States,

User Terms

    Description
    The United States of America's official silk flag from 1891 through to 1896 features 44 white stars on a blue canton and thirteen stripes, seven red and six white. This flag was a souvenir of the American Great White Fleet's peace time visit to Australia in 1908. The event generated great public excitement and the production of a range of commemorative souvenirs including postcards, badges, pins and photographs. The American national flag was a common feature of many of these souvenirs which were a celebration of United States' naval strength and world power.
    SignificanceThis flag represents the visit of the Great White Fleet to Australia and other nations in 1908 as part of its peace time world tour.
    HistoryThe first American flag was reported to have been hand sewn by Betsy Ross in May, 1776 following the American civil war. On 14 June 1777 the Continental Congress passed the First Flag Act in an effort to establish an official national American flag. It was to have thirteen stripes in the alternating colours of red and white with thirteen white stars against a blue background.

    Today the American Flag features thirteen horizontal stripes, seven red with six white that represent the 50 states of America. The colours refer to specific virtues including red: hardiness and valour, white: purity and innocence and blue: vigilance, perseverance and justice.

    In 1907 American President Roosevelt ordered the Atlantic Battle Fleet of the US Navy on an ambitious voyage around the world. Led by the flagship CONNECTICUT, the Atlantic Fleet consisted of 16 battleships painted white as all US Navy ships were in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each and visited six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports. It carried 614 officers, 13,504 other crew and consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition. It was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation.

    Many souvenirs were produced to commemorate and mark the occasion of the Great White Fleet tour including postcards, badges, medals, pins and photographs. The American national flag became an important symbol in the production of memorabilia and was commonly depicted on souvenirs.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: The flag of the United States of America - souvenir of the 1908 visit of the Great White Fleet to Australia

    Web title: The flag of the United States of America in 1908

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