107 years ago, the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean

107 years ago, on April 15, the luxury cruise liner “Titanic” sank and 1,517 people were killed on board. The Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was one of three “Olympic class” liners ordered by the White Star Shipping Line. Hailed as a marvel of luxury, power and style, she first rolled through the water from the slipway of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast with great fanfare in May 1911. The ship was fitted out during the following year before leaving Belfast and sailing south to the English port of Southampton.

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic sailed from Southampton on its maiden voyage, traveling to New York via Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland. Nicknamed the “Millionaire’s Special”, the ship was commanded by Edward J Smith, known as the “Millionaire’s Captain” due to its popularity with wealthy passengers.

On board were some thirteen hundred passengers, more than half of whom were third class, many hoping to emigrate to America. The first-class passenger list included prominent American businessmen John Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, Macy’s department store co-owner Isidor Straus and White Star Line general manager J. Bruce Ismay.

Four days after the start of its maiden voyage, the liner struck an iceberg late on the night of April 14.

As the ship’s forward compartments filled with water, the bow sank deeper into the ocean, causing water to spill from the ruptured compartments into each subsequent compartment, sealing the fate of the ship.

Less than three hours after hitting the iceberg, the “unsinkable” liner broke in two and sank in the early hours of April 15.

Of about 2,223 passengers and crew on board the ship, some 1,517 died. The third class suffered the greatest loss – of about 710 people on board, only 174 survived. Seventy-six percent of the crew died. The exact number of passengers and crew has become the subject of much debate among historians. About 711 survivors were rescued from the lifeboats by the RMS Carpathia, a transatlantic passenger ship that was the first to arrive at the scene more than an hour after the sinking of the Titanic. Carpathia returned to New York with the survivors, arriving three days later.

For more than seventy years, the wreck of the Titanic has remained undisturbed at the bottom of the ocean. Then, in 1985, advances in deep sea technology led to its discovery by a Franco-American expedition. Eventually, underwater footage showed the ship lying in two pieces with wrecks strewn across miles of seabed.

In addition to having been the subject of numerous books, the ship has inspired several films including the hit film “Titanic” by James Cameron (1997). Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the film grossed over $ 1.8 billion at the global box office.

Interest in the tragedy continued to grow, and memorabilia from the Titanic appear regularly at auctions, with auctions frequently breaking records.

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