In the years after the French/German war of 1870/71, the German navy was looking for ships that could be used to protect the growing numbers of overseas colonies. The existing gunboats were not very useful for this, outgunned by foreign vessels, too small to store the nescessary amount of coal and not seaworth enough to operate on oceans far away from the costal waters of Germany or the North Sea.
Therefore a new class of ships was ordered, the Kreuzer IV. Class of the Bussard
class. Not build after the requirements of naval fleet battles, but specially designed ships for overseas duty. Beside their huge coal capacity, they were equipped with sails to assist the steam engines. Quite unusual for its time, the cruisers were equipped with an electrical system and a huge flashlight on top of the command bridge.
The ships were said to be good seagoing vessels, but because of their gun mountings besides the hull, they lost speed in higher seas.
was was the type ship of this class. It served all its operation time in oversea services until it returned to Germany in 1910.