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100th Anniversary of the RMS Titanic Sinking

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R.M.S. Titanic

Encyclopedia Britannica Online Library Edition

R.M.S. Titanic

On April 10, 1912, the R.M.S. Titanic set sail on a five-day journey across the North Atlantic Ocean, from Southampton, England, to New York City, New York. The Titanic was one of the biggest and most state-of-the-art ocean liners of its day. With all of the ship's safety measures, the Titanic was thought to be unsinkable. But on April 15, the Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg, tragically taking the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

The Titanic had 16 watertight compartments, and the ship could stay afloat with up to four of these compartments flooded. After hitting the iceberg, water began flooding the Titanic's forward six compartments. Bulkheads, watertight walls in the compartments meant to keep water from flooding the rest of the ship, were not tall enough to contain the water in the damaged compartments. In just over two and a half hours, the Titanic filled with water and sank.

On the deck, the Titanic's crew helped passengers into the lifeboats. The Titanic had only 20 lifeboats rather than the 48 that would have been necessary to save all the people onboard. (The Titanic's owners and the British Board of Trade thought that having too many lifeboats on deck crowded the deck and would make people believe the ship was unsafe.) Hundreds of people were thrown into the icy cold Atlantic water and died of hypothermia.

While it was sinking, the Titanic radioed to other ships in the area but was only able to reach the R.M.S. Carpathia which was 93 kilometers (58 miles) away. The Carpathia arrived about four hours later, at 4:00 a.m., to rescue the estimated 705 survivors.- education.nationalgeographic.com

Titanic Deconstructed Video

History.com: Titanic: Deconstructed (1:57)

Everyone knows the Titanic was big, and we have the hard numbers to prove it. Discover what made it a supersized ship.

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