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RMS Titanic sea trials April 2, 1912.jpg
The Titanic leaving Belfast for sea trials, 2 April 1912.
Career British Blue Ensign
Owners: White Star Line
Builders: Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast
Captain: Edward John Smith
Laid down: 31 March 1909
Christened: Not christened
Maiden voyage (First Trip): 10 April 1912
Fate: Hit iceberg at 11:40 PM on 14 April 1912. Sank on 15 April 1912, at 2:20 AM; wreck discovered in 1985 by Robert Ballard.
Current Location: 41°43′55″N, 49°56′45″W
General characteristics
Gross tonnage (weight): 46,328 GRT
Displacement: 52,310 Long Tons
Length: 882 foot 9 inches (269 m)
Beam: 92 foot 6 inches (28 m)
Draught: 34 foot 7 inches (10.5 m)
Power: Able to reach speeds of 26 miles per hour
Propulsion (energy): Two bronze triple-blade side propellers. One bronze quadruple-blade central propeller.
Speed: 23 knots (26.5 mph; 42.6 km/h)
Passengers and crew (first voyage): Total 2,228
  • First Class: 324
  • Second Class: 285
  • Third Class: 708
  • Crew: 891
    • Passengers and crew who survived: Unknown precisely but estimates place the figure at just over 700
    • Passengers and crew who died: Unknown precisely but estimates place the figure at about 1,500 casualties.

The Titanic was a British passenger ship. It was built by Harland and Wolff ship builders, in Belfast, for the White Star Line company. She sank during her first trip at sea.

Before she sailed, many people thought it would be almost impossible for ships of this design to sink.


Titanic-New York Herald front page
Titanic-New York Herald front page. Wrong numbers were posted the first days after the accident.

At 11:40 PM on 14 April 1912, during Titanic's maiden voyage, she hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. The iceberg broke the Titanic's hull (bottom), letting water into the ship. The Titanic sank two hours and forty minutes later at 2:20 AM on 15 April.

As she sank, the Titanic split in two. The wreck killed over 1,500 people. Only around 705 people survived. It was one of the worst shipwrecks that was not during a war.

One reason why so many people died was because the ship did not have enough lifeboats for everyone on board. Higher class women and children were allowed on the lifeboats first, and passengers who sailed in first class (which meant that they paid for better rooms on the ship) were allowed on before other passengers. Few of the poorer people who had paid less (called second class and third class passengers) got out safely.

Not many lifeboats were on Titanic, because the Titanic was said to be unsinkable. Everybody thought that, even if the ship wrecked or crashed, she would not sink.

Another reason so few people survived was that the radio was off on the SS Californian, the ship closest to the Titanic. The Californian crew did not hear about the accident. Another ship, the SS Carpathia, did hear about the accident and collected all 705 survivors.

Last survivor

The last survivor of the Titanic disaster to die was a woman named Millvina Dean. She was the youngest passenger on board, as she was then a baby of only nine weeks old. She died in Ashhurst, Hampshire, England on 21 May 2009 aged 97.


The Titanic disaster changed many maritime (ship) laws. Because so many people died, authorities felt that laws should be put into place to make ship travel safer. Changes included requiring all ships to carry enough lifeboats for everyone on the ship, and emergency materials such as flares. Someone must be at the ship's radio all the time.


The wreck was found by a French and American team, led by Robert Ballard, on September 23, 1985 at 1:02 in the morning.

In 1986, Ballard returned to the wreck with a submarine. He took many photos and made lots of films.

In 1987, a French team salvaged 900 objects and took them to the surface.


The story of the sinking has been made into several movies. The most popular film version is a 1997 film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio called Titanic. It won 11 Academy Awards, tying Ben-Hur for the record for the most Academy Awards won by one movie.

Other movie versions of the story include the 1958 film A Night to Remember, the 1953 film Titanic, the 1979 film S.O.S. Titanic and the 1996 film Titanic.

In the 1980 film Raise the Titanic, salvagers raise the shipwreck from the bottom of the ocean to the surface. However, this is impossible to do in reality. The Titanic broke in two, and the wreck is partially stuck in the bottom, buried under more than three feet (1 m) of mud in some spots. The ship has been on the ocean floor for more than 100 years, and would shatter into many more pieces if disturbed. Worms and other animals have eaten away much of the wood and many other parts.

Titanic sisters

Logo of The White Star Line - the company that built the Titanic, the Olympic, and the Britannic ships.

Olympic and Titanic were virtually identical. For Britannic many changes to the design were made, because of the sinking of Titanic.

The three "Olympic- class" ocean liners were made on Belfast Ship Yards in Belfast, Northern Ireland for The White Star Line.

RMS Olympic was the only ship of this line of vessels which had not sunk and which was eventually dismantled in 1935.

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