21 August 2023: Well, here we are: first post of the 11th year of Maritime Maunder. I know many of you (and me included!) never thought we'd make it this far but, sometimes, miracles can happen! Will we make it another year? Stay tuned and find out! I hope we do. And maybe, some of our 153,000 readers do also!
Today's post, while not a biggy or exciting, includes a bit of history and better, history one can visit and see first hand our subject. We have done that, and it is a fun and interesting experience. And right next door, is the Independence Seaport Museum, also a splendid place to spend a day or so if that is your inclination! Oh! And just across the river from Philadelphia is the battleship USS New Jersey, a really worthy place to visit.
The USS Olympia is one of the oldest naval ships preserved today in the United States (the oldest is the USS Constitution which remains commissioned in the Navy). The USS Olympia is a protected cruiser that played an important part in the Spanish-American War in 1898 when she served as a flagship. Today she is a museum in Philadelphia.
While in Philadelphia, visitors can see what's left of the once mighty mothball fleet at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Perhaps the most spectacular naval museum ships in the United States today are the five preserved aircraft carriers.
The USS Olympia served in the Navy from 1895 to 1922 (while being briefly decommissioned between 1899 and 1902). The USS Olympia is best known for her service in the Pacific theater of the Spanish-American War of 1898. At the time, she was a state-of-the-art warship.
The Caribbean theater saw the United States seize Cuba and Puerto Rico, while the Pacific theater saw the United States seize the Philippines from Spain. The war effectively ended Spain as a colonial empire (Spain mostly just had a few small possessions in Africa afterward).
- Type: Protected Cruiser
- Served: 1895 to 1922
- Wars: Spanish-American War, First World War
The USS Olympia was the flagship of Commodore (later Admiral) George Dewey, who led the US fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay. The battle was a decisive American victory, with the whole Spanish naval squadron destroyed. The Spanish domination of the Philippines was shattered, ending over 300 years of Spanish rule of the archipelago. After the battle, the USS Olympia became a national icon appearing on the front page of newspapers across the nation.
During the First World War, she was used as a training ship, as a floating barracks, and for patrolling duties. She again saw service during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in 1919.
Other duties included cruises and delivering aid in the Mediterranean to help ensure peace in the unstable Balkan Peninsula. Finally, she carried the remains of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War to Washington, D.C.