The RMS Titanic was a British ocean liner that was, at her time, the largest ship ever built, alongside her sister ships. Constructed in Belfast, Ireland, the Titanic was designed to carry mail and passengers between
the British Isles and North America. Famously, she floundered on her maiden voyage in April 1912, killing 1500 people.
The Titanic was originally conceived in a meeting between the heads of Harland Wolff Shipyards (who would be destined to build her) and White Star Line, a British shipping company. They decided they would build the largest passenger and cargo ships in the world, sacrificing speed for safety, comfort, and capacity. Additionally, they realized that building such enormous vessels would practically sell themselves by attracting famous millionaire passengers and newspaper attention. But the growing middle class, the men realized, would sustain the ships and allow them to rake in money for the White Star Line company. The Titanic was the second of three equally large and lavish vessels, the first being the RMS Olympic and the third being the RMS Britannic. While the Olympic would have a long career, the Britannic was destined to sink in the first world war in 1916.
The Titanic took her maiden voyage on April 10th of 1912, and all was well for four days. Near midnight on the 14th of April, she struck an iceberg and would sink in less than three hours. There are many theories as to why the ship struck the iceberg, high among them that radioed warnings of icebergs were not given to the bridge, and that she was traveling too quickly. Once struck, various deficiencies in her design, such as cheap iron rivets and undersized water tight compartments, led her to sink from the glancing blow. There were insufficient lifeboats for the 2227 passengers, as well as a lack of planning for evacuation. Despite there being more than two hours before the vessel sank, the panic and discord left hundreds to die while lifeboats under capacity rowed away. To compound the problem the nearby SS Californian had turned off her radio for the night, and dismissed the distant distress flares as the fireworks of a party.