Historical Information About the Sinking of the Titanic
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Historical Information About the Sinking of the Titanic

The history of the sinking of the Titanic. What happened the night the Titanic sank.

Back in the late 1800's many people began to travel from  Europe to North America.  Many people wanted to travel to North America to possibly find a new life there.  The only way to travel such a distance back in those days was by ship.  Since the ships would need to travel a tremendous distance they needed to be large and well built. 

There were smaller shipping companies at that time but only two main ones who rivaled against each other.  Cunard and the White Star Line. These two companies fought fiercely against one another to attract the most passengers.  Cunard had succeeded in having the faster ships so White Star Line decided to go in another direction.  They decided that their ships would be the most comfortable and luxurious to travel by and also the largest. 

Prior to building the Titanic White Star Line built the Olympic. The Olympic was still operational after Titanic sank even after incurring some collisions of its own and even some purposeful crashes.  However, after the sinking of the Titanic people refused to board the Olympic until they found a way to add enough life boats for the capacity of the boat.  Since the Olympic had not been built in such a way to hold sufficient life boats they ended up placing additional boats on the decks, the ship was eventually modified to fit the required amount of boats and the bottom of the boat was also reinforced.

Most people know what happened to the Titanic, it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and over 1500 people lost their lives.  Such loss of life was a shame because that could have been prevented had their been enough life boats and had people not been so afraid and so prejudiced as to allow more people to get on those boats or to go back and get more passengers.  Most of the lifeboats that went out were only half full of people.  One fact that is rarely mentioned is that the Titanic was not even at full capacity on its maiden voyage the ship could have accommodated another 1000 people.  Those who designed the ship were so sure that it was unsinkable that they believed the need for more life boats was completely unnecessary. 

The chief designer  who worked for Harland and Wolff, the company that built the Titanic Thomas Andrews was aboard the on the maiden voyage.  He wanted to see that everything was OK and to get an idea of other ways he could improve the Titanic.  Feeling very responsible Andrews chose to go down with the ship.

The captian of the ship was Edward John Smith who was White Star's most experienced captains.  He had worked on the Olympic prior to going to work on the titanic.  He had been captaining ships for 26 years.  He was set to retire after the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  He also chose honorably to go down with the ship. 

The Titanic had over 2200 people on the boat.  Many of the passengers were third class pasengers who were looking to make their fortunes or start new lives in America.  The first class passengers thought little of those 3rd class passengers and many of them were not even given a fair chance at escaping when the ship begain to sink. 

Since the temperature had dropped quite a bit the captain was concerned about ice. The Titanic had two lookouts on that Sunday evening.  They did spot the large ice burg and the engines were reverse and the ship ws steared left this kept the ship from hitting the ice burg head on.  However, the iceburg scraped along the side of the ship cutting long slices into the hull that was below the water line. 

Within 1 hour the first 5 compartments of the ship are filled with water fast which is pulling down the bow of the ship.  Captain Smth calls Mr. Andrews and the two confirm that the ship will sink within a few hours.  They then give the order to release the life boats. Flairs were sent up as distress calls to other ships in the area. 

Just 2 hours and 40 minutes after the ship hit the iceberg the bow is almost compltely submerged causing the stern of the ship to rise.  The ship then breaks in half and the stern of the ship completely rises to where it is standing straight up then it quickly slid out of sight in to the icy cold water.  At this point all of the life boats had already traveled a safe distance from the ship as they quickly rowed away for fear of being sucked under by the sinking ship. 

Only one boat, boat number 14 went back to see if they could rescue people from the freezing water after the ship sunk.  The boat was being steered by a man known as Officer Lowe. He was Fifth Officer Harold Lowe who was 28 years of age. 

The "Unsinkable Molly Brown" was on Lifeboat number 6.  She was the only women to help in rowing the boat that she was on. She was unsuccessful however, at convincing the others on the boat to go back to save other passengers. 

At around 6:30 AM the Carpathia a ship owned by the Cunard company showed up to rescue the survivors of the Titanic. 

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Comments (3)

I sent this one to my stepson. He's an authority on the Titanic. I have taken him to several museums dedicated to the Titanic, and, as a rule, he usually knows more about the various artifacts on display than the people working at the museums. He'll love this piece.

While I was researching this article I found an article about a display in Las Vegas, where they actually replicated the grand stair case and have many artifacts on display. Have you been there? That sounds like an amazing experience.

No, Rae, I (we) haven't been to that one although I recall reading about it in one of the many magazines and journals that I subscribe to. I can't recall which magazine it was in either. It would be a nice trip for me to take my wife and stepson on.Thanks for reminding me.