Hai Chi (1898)

Photograph of Hai Chi in New York by the Bain News Service. Original in the collection of the US Library of Congress.

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Laid Down

Built by Armstrong, Hai Chi was a 4,300 ton cruiser of the Imperial Chinese Navy. Launched in 1898, she spent the next twelve years in China, before heading to the Atlantic again. During 1911, Hai Chi participated in the coronation fleet review for King George V, and took the opportunity to stop by her builders for a refit to her electrical system. She was the first Imperial Chinese warship to visit the United States, arriving at New York City on 11 September, 1911. Hai Chi mounted two 8" (203mm) guns in her main battery, and had a top speed of 24 knots. Between 1917 and 1931, she was caught up in the warlord navies, shifting between several until the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria. For the next six years, Hai Chi served with the Republic of China Navy, moving to Hong Kong and Nanking in 1935. She was scuttled in the Yangtze River as a blockship on 11 or 12 August, 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, to stall the Japanese advance, while her guns were moved ashore to defend Wuhan. Hai Chi's hull was raised and scrapped in 1960.

Bonus Information

Note: The official Chinese Romanization of the ship's name is Hǎi Qí.

Fun Fact: Hai Chi was the first modern Chinese warship to circumnavigate the globe.