#March 15, 1889: the power of nature blows gunboat diplomacy out of the water in Apia Harbour, Western Samoa

Gunboat diplomacy was at its height in 1889 and on this day, March 15, tension was high with an act of war seemingly imminent. Three American warships (the sloop-of-war USS Vandalia, the screw steamer USS Trenton, and the gunboat USS Nipsic) and three from Germany (the gunboats SMS Adler and SMS Eber and the corvette SMS Olga) were jostling for position in a small harbour in the South Pacific, Apia Harbour, Western Samoa, observed by yet another warship from Britain, HMS Calliope. They had been intimidating each other from 1887–1889,…

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