From 1880 onwards Colonel (afterward General) Gallieni took a leading part in the operations on the upper river, where in 1883 a small gunboat, the Niger, was launched for the protection of the newly established French posts.
In 1887 the gunboat made a more extended voyage, reaching the port of Timbuktu, and correcting the mapping of the river down to that point.
Hubbard of the United States gunboat " Nashville " at Colon forbade the transportation of Colombian troops across the Isthmus, and landed 42 marines to prevent the occupation of Colon by the Colombian force; the diplomatic excuse for his action was that by the treaty of 1846 the United States had promised to keep the Isthmus open, and that a civil war would have closed it.
The navy in 1906 consisted of only three small cruisers on the Caribbean coast, and two cruisers, two gunboats, one troopship and two steam launches on the Pacific. There was also one small gunboat on the Magdalena.
The Portuguese navy in 1910 consisted of 1 armoured vessel, 5 protected cruisers, 2 third-class cruisers, 19 gunboats, I torpedo gunboat, 4 torpedo boats, 16 river gunboats, 4 transports and 3 training ships.