"I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel." (Captain Edward J. Smith)
Just before midnight on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic, the largest ship in the world, hit an iceberg, starting a chain of events that would ultimately make it history's most famous and notorious ship. In the over 100 years since it sank on its maiden voyage, the Titanic has been the subject of endless fascination, as evidenced by the efforts to find its final resting spot, the museums full of its objects, and the countless books, documentaries, and movies made about the doomed ocean liner. Thanks to the dramatization of the Titanic's sinking and the undying interest in the story, millions of people are familiar with various aspects of the ship's demise and the nearly 1,500 people who died in the North Atlantic in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. The sinking of the ship is still nearly as controversial now as it was over 100 years ago, and the drama is just as compelling.
The Titanic was neither the first nor the last big ship to sink, so it's clear that much of its appeal stems from the nature of the ship itself. Indeed the Titanic stands out not just for its end but for its beginning, specifically the fact that it was the most luxurious passenger ship ever built at the time. In addition to the time it took to come up with the design, the giant ship took a full three years to build, and no effort or cost was spared to outfit the Titanic in the most lavish ways.
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