How many people survived on the Titanic?
The RMS Titanic, a lavish ocean liner, plunged beneath the ocean's surface during the early hours of April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg on its inaugural journey off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. Tragically, over 1,500 lives were lost among the 2,240 passengers and crew aboard. The ill-fated tale of the Titanic has captivated the public's imagination, resulting in numerous books, articles, and films, including the renowned 1997 movie featuring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. This historic event serves as a poignant reminder of the dangers associated with human overconfidence.
The Construction of the RMS Titanic
The development of the Titanic emerged from fierce competition between rival shipping companies in the early 20th century. Particularly, the White Star Line engaged in a fierce rivalry with Cunard, an esteemed British company renowned for its two exceptional vessels, which were considered the epitome of elegance and sophistication during their time.
The Majesty of Cunard's Mauretania and the Tragedy of the Ill-fated Lusitania
Cunard's Mauretania entered service in 1907, swiftly achieving a record-breaking average speed for transatlantic crossings (23.69 knots or 27.26 mph) that remained unchallenged for 22 years , In that same year, Cunard unveiled their other magnificent creation, the Lusitania, which garnered praise for its magnificent interior design. However, the Lusitania met a tragic fate on May 7, 1915, when a German U-boat torpedoed the ship, resulting in the loss of nearly 1,200 lives out of the 1,959 people onboard and leading to the United States' entry into World War I.
The Fatal Weaknesses of the 'Unsinkable' Titanic
Certain theories propose that the Titanic was destined for disaster due to design flaws that were once hailed as cutting-edge. The Olympic-class vessels incorporated a double bottom and 15 watertight compartments separated by bulkheads, equipped with electric watertight doors that could be controlled individually or simultaneously from the bridge ,These watertight bulkheads prompted Shipbuilder magazine, in a special edition dedicated to the Olympic liners, to label them as "virtually unsinkable," thus underscoring their seemingly impregnable nature.
The Passengers Aboard the Titanic
The departure of the Titanic from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912, caused a considerable commotion. Following brief stops in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown (now known as Cobh), Ireland, the grand vessel embarked on its journey to New York, carrying a total of 2,240 passengers and crew—referred to as "souls" in the maritime industry, a term often associated with shipwrecks , As befitting the inaugural transatlantic voyage of the world's most renowned ship, a significant number of these individuals were distinguished officials, affluent industrialists, esteemed diplomats, and renowned personalities. At the forefront was J. Bruce Ismay, the managing director of the White Star Line, accompanied by Thomas Andrews, the ship's architect hailing from Harland and Wolff.