The Great White Fleet

The Great White Fleet was the popular nickname for the powerful United States Navy battle fleet that completed a journey around the globe from 16 December 1907, to 22 February 1909, by order of United States President Theodore Roosevelt. Its mission was to make friendly courtesy visits to numerous countries, while displaying America’s new naval power to the world. It consisted of 16 battleships divided into two squadrons, along with various escorts. The Mill Valley Record announced, “Practically all the business men of Mill Valley have reached an agreement to close their places of business the day of the fleet’s arrival, from 9 o’clock in the morning until 6 o’clock in the evening. The only exceptions will be the hotels and restaurants, which must necessarily keep open. Both of the butcher shops will remain closed during the day, so those who wish to get meat for Wednesday’s dinner must do so early in the morning or wait until after six o’clock. Mill Valley, like every town in the county, will be almost completely deserted from noon until nightfall. There will be no one to fight fire and a blaze of any kind might result in incalculable damage.”