Titanic was the second of three massive ships built by the White Star Line for the transatlantic passenger trade. At 883 feet long and over 46,000 tons she was the largest ship in the world when she embarked in early April 1912 on her maiden voyage to New York.
Just before midnight on 14 April Titanic struck an iceberg, damaging the hull below the waterline. Despite her elaborate system of watertight doors and bulkheads, the ship was doomed. Outdated safety regulations had provided far fewer lifeboats than was necessary to evacuate the 2200 passengers and crew, and most people were still aboard when the ship finally went down at 2:20 a.m. Only about 700 survivors remained when rescue vessels arrived at first light.
News of the sinking caused shock worldwide. Maritime safety rules were immediately improved, including the provision of sufficient lifeboats on ships. In 1985 Titanic's wreck was discovered on the ocean floor, and in recent years several expeditions have visited the decaying remains of the once-great liner. [via currell.net]