Columbia Rediviva

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Columbia heeling as she approaches a squall. Drawing by George Davidson in 1793, who served as the ship's artist.
United StatesUnited States
OwnerJoseph Barrell
BuilderJames Briggs
Laid down
  • 1773
  • 1787
DecommissionedOctober 15, 1806
RenamedColumbia Rediviva
NotesFirst US ship to circumnavigate the globe
General characteristics
Class and typeFull-rigged ship
Tons burthen213 bm
Length83 ft 6 in (25.45 m) on deck.
Beam24 ft 2 in (7.37 m)
Draught11 ft (3.4 m)
Sail planthree-masted ship (foremast, mainmast, mizzenmast)
Complement16-18 minimum and 30-31 maximum
Armament10 cannons, 2 heavy stern chaser guns, 4 heavy and 4 lighter broadside guns.

Columbia Rediviva (commonly known as Columbia) was a privately owned American ship under the command, first, of John Kendrick, and later Captain Robert Gray, best known for being the first American vessel to circumnavigate the globe, and her expedition to the Pacific Northwest for the maritime fur trade. "Rediviva" (Latin "revived") was added to her name upon a rebuilding in 1787. Since Columbia was privately owned, she did not carry the prefix designation "USS".


Artist sketch of ship on the Columbia River

Early authorities claim the ship was built in 1773 by James Briggs at Hobart's Landing on North River, in Norwell, Massachusetts and named Columbia.[1] Later historians say she was built in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1787. In 1790 she became the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe. During the first part of this voyage, she was accompanied by USS Lady Washington, named for Martha Washington, which served as tender for Columbia. In 1792, Captain Gray entered the Columbia River and named it after the ship. The river and its basin, in turn, lent its name to the surrounding region, and subsequently to the British colony and Canadian province located in part of this region.

The ship was decommissioned and salvaged in 1806. A replica of Lady Washington is homeported at Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Aberdeen, Washington.[2]


  • Simeon Woodruff, under the command of Kendrick, served as first mate from September to November 1787. A former gunner's mate during the final voyage of Captain James Cook, R.N., was the only man in the entire Columbia Expedition leaving Boston on the first voyage to have been to the Pacific.[3]
  • Joseph Ingraham, first mate under the command of Kendrick. In 1790 he was captain of Hope, which competed with Columbia in the fur trade.[4]
  • Robert Haswell, first mate under the command of Gray in 1791–93 during the second voyage to the Pacific Northwest.[3]
  • John Kendrick Jr, served as an officer under the command of his father, John Kendrick, during the first voyage. In 1789 at Nootka Sound left to join the Spanish Navy.[5][6][7]
  • John Boit was fifth officer of Columbia on its second voyage from 1790-1793; he was fifteen years old on the day of its departure. His log of the expedition is the only complete account of the second voyage of Columbia, and only one of two written accounts of the first European Americans to locate what they would call the Columbia River on May 12, 1792.[8]



  1. ^ Jacobs, Melvin C. (1938). Winning Oregon: A Study of An Expansionist Movement. The Caxton Printers, Ltd. 77.
  2. ^ Grays Harbor Historical Seaport
  3. ^ a b Howay, Frederic W. (1941). Voyages of the Columbia to the Northwest Coast 1787-1790 and 1790-1793. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society.
  4. ^ Hittell, Theodore Henry (1885). History of California. Occidental publishing co: v. 3-4.
  5. ^ Howay, F.W. (December 1922). "John Kendrick and his Sons" . Oregon Historical Quarterly. 23 (4). Oregon Historical Society: 279  – via Wikisource. [scan Wikisource link]
  6. ^ Ridley, Scott (2010). Morning of Fire: John Kendrick's Daring American Odyssey in the Pacific. Harper Collins. pp. 133–136. ISBN 978-0-06-202019-2. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Tovell, Freeman M. (2009). At the Far Reaches of Empire: The Life of Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra. University of British Columbia Press. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-7748-5836-6. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  8. ^ Howay, Frederic (1990). Voyages of the "Columbia" to the Northwest Coast 1787-1790 and 1790-1793. Oregon Historical Society Press. pp. xxii. ISBN 978-0875952505.
  9. ^ Shaffer, Joshua C (July 17, 2017). Discovering the Magic Kingdom: An Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Guide - Second Edition. Synergy Book Publishing. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-9991664-0-6. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
  10. ^ "NASA: Space Shuttle Overview: Columbia". Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2007.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

The American flag that circumnavigated the globe with Captain Gray on the Columbia.