1819 Savannah Crosses the Atlantic

At the end of May 1819, the "Savannah," equipped with a steam engine and paddle wheel, sailed from Savannah, Georgia for Liverpool, England. She arrived in Liverpool on June 20. This would slowly transform America, as both trade and immigrants could arrive more quickly and for less money.


The SS Savannah was built in 1818. It was originally built to be a sailing ship but a steam powered paddle wheel added. The paddle wheel was designed to be used only when there was not enough wind for the sails.  It was designed to be retracted so it could move out of water thus not causing drag, when the ship was under sail.

From the moment it was launched its captain Moses Rogers intended to sail it across the Atlantic.  This goal was met with derision and many called the Savannah a steel coffin.  When President Monroe heard of the plan he voiced his support and promised to take a sail on the ship, which he did on April 14th.

On May 24th the Savannah departed for Liverpool England.  No passengers were willing to travel on the voyage so the ship departed empty.

On June 20th the Savannah arrived in Liverpool England.  Thousands welcomed her.  She had changed history.