The Titanic Sank on April 14, 1912

By the time these words rang out on the RMSTitanic, it was too late. The warning came at 11:40 p.m. on the clear, cold night of April 14, 1912. The ship was in the icy seas of the North Atlantic.

Within 40 seconds, its starboard (right) side was ripped open. It had hit the sharp underwater part of an iceberg. Less than three hours later, the Titanic sank. At least 1,523 of its roughly 2,228 passengers and crew were dead or dying.


What if the Titanic had missed the iceberg? It might have been remembered as one of the largest, most luxurious ocean liners of its time. Yet so much went wrong that the ship has become a symbol for disaster. The story of the Titanic is a drama with a little of everything. It has heroism and fear, humility and arrogance, wealth and poverty, and life and death.



Where does the name RMS Titanic come from?


Titanic was a British ship, and the initials RMS stand for Royal Mail Steamship. Titanic means “big,” after the Titans, a group of Greek gods famous for their size and strength. Titanic was also called SS (Steam Ship) Titanic.

Fatal Flaws in the Titanic

Fatal Flaws

Rivets are metal bolts that can be used to join steel plates on a boat’s hull. The rivets on the Titanic contained metallic impurities. So their tops popped off when the ship scraped the iceberg. Once a rivet head popped, the seams between plates opened up. That let water enter the ship.

Crossing the Atlantic

On the night it sank, the Titanic was crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
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