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USS Nautilus

Six ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Nautilus. A popular ship's name in many languages for centuries, it derives from a Greek language word meaning "sailor" or "ship." The nautilus is also a tropical mollusk having a many-chambered, spiral shell with a pearly interior.

A popular belief maintains that ships named Nautilus are named for the fictional submarine in the 1870 novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. Indeed, the novel may have influenced the decisions to christen various submarines with this centuries-old name, but Captain Nemo's was not the first Nautilus.

The first USS Nautilus, 12, was a schooner that served against the Tripolitan pirates and into the War of 1812.

The second USS Nautilus was a schooner commissioned in 1847 that played a role in the Mexican-American War.

The third USS Nautilus (SS-29), renamed H-2 in 1911, served through World War I.

The fourth USS Nautilus (SP-559) was a Motor Patrol Boat commissioned in 1917 and assigned to patrol and escort duty during World War I (contemporaneously with the third Nautilus).

The submarine O-12 (SS-73) was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1930 and converted for use by Sir Hubert Wilkins's Arctic Expedition of geophysical investigation. The Expedition renamed the decommissioned submarine Nautilus.

The fifth USS Nautilus (SS-168) was one of the largest submarines ever built for the United States Navy, and served during World War II.

The sixth USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the first nuclear-powered submarine in the world.

See also HMS Nautilus.