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She was built in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts at Edmund Hartt's shipyard. Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane, and Levant.

The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname of "Old Ironsides" and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping.

Four chase guns were also positioned, two each at the stern and bow.Constitution was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed.Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.He placed a prize crew aboard Niger and brought her into Norfolk, Virginia.Constitution sailed south again a week later to escort a merchant convoy, but her bowsprit was severely damaged in a gale and she returned to Boston for repairs.

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