The U.S.S. Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the United States Navy (and the oldest commissioned warship in the world). The ship was launched in 1797 as one of the 6 original heavy frigates built by the United States government following the Naval Act of 1794. The ship was first used to protect U.S. merchant vessels during the Quasi War with France, as well as to defeat Muslim pirates off the coast of North Africa during the first Barbary War.
During the War of 1812 the Constitution defeated the British Navy ships HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane and Levant in battle. During the battle with the Guerriere the Constitution earned its nickname “Old Ironsides” after sailors witnessed cannonballs bouncing off her hard oak side.
The ship was built out of southern live oak from Georgia, and was constructed in Boston, MA. The ships copper work was done by Paul Revere, and its name was chosen by George Washington.
The Constitution is now stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston where it is manned by a full U.S. Navy crew.