The Great White Fleet was a sixteen battleship fleet that sailed on a world voyage from December 16, 1907 - February 22, 1909. Its primary purpose was to showcase American naval power.
The backdrop to the Great White Fleet was in the United States' effort to modernize its naval fleet in the 1880s with modern steel ships.
Dubbed the Great White Fleet because the ships were painted all white
set sail on the morning of December 16, 1907 from Hampton Roads, Virginia on its long voyage around the world.
When Theodore Roosevelt became president, he was determined to build a modern battleship fleet. Two key U.S. naval theorists had a major influence on his thinking. The first was Alfred Thayer Mahan , whose two-volume work 'The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660-1783' argued that naval expansion was essential for empire building. The second was William S. Sims, an experienced naval officer and former aide to Roosevelt, who urged the U.S. to modernize its naval gunnery systems and firepower capabilities.