As you dive into reading Fateful by Claudia Gray (now in stores!), you might find yourself wondering a bit about the real-life history of the RMS Titanic, since most of the book takes place on the ship. Here’s a brief look at the history of the Titanic.
Just the Facts
There’s a lot of information out there about the RMS Titanic — some of it fact, some of a resembling fiction more than actual history — but here’s a brief rundown of the basic facts surrounding the ship & its doomed voyage:
* The RMS Titanic was built in Belfast, Ireland for the White Star Line
* It set sail for its first voyage on April 10, 1912 from Southampton, England — bound for New York City, New York.
* 2,224 people were on board
* Four days into the crossing, late on April 14th, the Titanic strunk an iceburg, crippling the ship
* Just a few hours later, early on the morning of April 15th, the Titanic sank into the Atlantic Ocean
* 1,514 people died … only 710 people survived, less than a third of those on board
* Though built to regulation, the Titanic only had enough lifeboats for 1,178 people — and many were not filled to capacity
The “Unsinkable Ship”
Though the Titanic has long been linked to this saying, the White Star Line never actually called the Titanic “unsinkable” before making its doomed voyage. It was only in newspaper reports after the disaster that the phrase “the unsinkable ship” was coined.
Many people have mistakenly believed that the idea that the Titanic was “unsinkable” was the reason many passengers delayed getting into lifeboats. The truth is — many passengers just didn’t think the ship had been damaged that badly, and did not believe it was in any real danger of sinking. Therefore, they prefered the relative safety and comfort of staying on the ship than venturing out onto the frigid waters (in the cold night air) in the lifeboats. As a result, many of the lifeboats were not filled to capacity. The fact that many passengers delayed getting on the lifeboats also lead to a higher death toll.
For the comments: What other stories have you heard about the Titanic? Have you studied it in school?