The USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat. Her first responsibilities were to provide protection for the American merchant ships during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.
The Constitution is most famous for her actions during the War of 1812 against Great Britain. She captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships, including the HMS Guerriere which earned her the nickname of “Old Ironsides”. She was retired from active service in 1881, and designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1934 she completed a three-year, 90 port tour of the nation. The Constitution sailed under her own power for her 200th birthday in 1997 and again in 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over Guerriere.
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