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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Gunboat Diplomacy: 1905

Gunboat Diplomacy: 1905

Venezuela circa 1900-1905. "American fleet at La Guaira." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Great White Fleet

They went out with fuel for one way! TR told Congress that if they didn't cough up the money for fuel they wouldn't be home for Christmas! TR started the US Navy League after this cruise and we are still here!

Another I did not know that.

I did not know the Brooklyn made a trip to South America. My grandfather served on the USS Brooklyn in the Pacific circa 1917-18.They made port in the Philippines, China, Japan and Russia. I have several photographs and postcards he brought back.

Service Elsewhere

The USS Brooklyn was sent to Vladivostok prior to and during the Russian Revolution as part of an eight nation coalition to keep law and order. My grandfather served on the Brooklyn circa 1917-1918.

It might be

That the Navy has to go back to Venezuela again with that nitwit Chavez running things there.


I am often impressed by the knowledge and resourcefulness of Shorpy commenters. To be able to start with a little information and expand it to the point of identification of the vessels and the reason they were there is beyond cool.

Imagine what could be accomplished if there was a way to electronically link the resources of the world through autonomous data access devices!


The two 2-stackers on the left are the USS Raleigh and Cincinnati (built 1894, 11x5 inch guns), the 2-stacker farthest away from the camera is the USS Newark (1891, 12x6 guns), and the single-stacker is the USS Texas (1895, 2x12 cannons). The Raleigh was in the Battle of Manila Bay, and the Texas and Brooklyn were in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba.

The Quiet American

Isn't Teddy Roosevelt the guy that said "Walk softly, but carry a big stick"?

[T.R. was a firm believer in crepe soles! - Dave]

He sent the Fleet into Venezuela because the Brits and the Germans had set up a blockade of the country for, among other things, unpaid debts. He made sure that the Europeans left the region. Would that we had Teddy Roosevelt today.

Ship Identification

Well, I spent a little time shifting through a few websites to try to ID the various US warships in the harbor.

The ones I feel are positive about are the two three stackers. The one to the right is the USS Brooklyn. The one centered is the USS New York. These are both armored cruisers.

I would love to figure out what the two same class two stackers are to the left. There is another two stacker and a one stacker above the New York and are different classes.

Any guesses anyone??

Steel Navy

It looks almost like Admiral George Dewey's Pacific Squadron from 1898, except a couple of the three-stackers appear to be battleships, or what passed for battleships back then. This photo was taken in Teddy Roosevelt's administration, and he certainly was not one to do things quietly.

White Fleet

it's easy to see where the term Great White Fleet would come from a couple of years later, when T.R. sent the navy around the world to show off America's newly established sea presence.

I wonder, how impressed were the Venezuelans to see these ships off the coast?

President Teddy Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet.”

This appears to be a photo of America’s Great White Fleet during its around-the-world tour of 1907-1909. A voyage initiated by President Roosevelt to defuse the tensions of a near-war atmosphere between Japan and the US.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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