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Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet”: Topics in Chronicling America

In December 1907, Theodore Roosevelt dispatched sixteen fleets of battleships on a 14-month world tour. This guide provides access to material related to the "Great White Fleet" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Welcoming of the "Great White Fleet."  April 26, 1908. The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

On the warm, cloudy morning of December 16, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet," a force of sixteen battleships bristling with guns and painted sparkling white, steam out of Hampton Roads, Virginia to begin its 43,000-mile, 14-month circumnavigation of the globe "to demonstrate to the world America's naval prowess." The four-mile-long armada's world tour included 20 port calls on six continents, and is widely considered one of the greatest peacetime achievements of the U.S. Navy. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


July 1907 President Theodore Roosevelt commissions sixteen new battleships from the U.S Atlantic Fleet to make a voyage around the world to the Pacific.
December 16, 1907 The Atlantic Fleet leaves Hampton Roads, VA headed towards South America. The fleet stops in Trinidad, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Mexico before returning to the U.S.
May 7, 1908 The Fleet arrives in San Francisco, CA.
July 7, 1908 The Fleet departs San Francisco bound for eastern Asia. It stops in Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Japan, and China.
December 1, 1908 The Fleet leaves the Philippines, stopping in Ceylon, Egypt, Italy, and Gibraltar before returning to the U.S.
February 22, 1909 The Fleet arrives in Hampton Roads, VA, completing its voyage.