April 15, 2012, marks the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

The R.M.S. Titanic, an ocean liner commissioned in England in 1910, was one of the most luxurious, state-of-the-art ships of its day. At nearly 269 meters (882 feet) long, the ship was thought to be unsinkable.

However, on April 15, 1912, the unthinkable happened. During the ship's maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, New York, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada and sank, tragically taking the lives of more than 1,500 passengers and crew. It was, and remains, one of the greatest nautical disasters in history.

The Titanic lay undiscovered at the bottom of the ocean for another 73 years, until oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Robert Ballard, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, co-discovered it in 1985. Since then, there have been many expeditions to see the Titanic, some for scavenging, others for research. Some expeditions are conducted by people who simply continue to be fascinated by the ship and its icy fate. The story of the Titanic continues to captivate people, inspiring films, clubs, museums, websites, and historic reenactments.

  • The ocean current that pushed the iceberg into the path of the Titanic is the Labrador Current.
  • There are 150 victims of the Titanic buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, the largest number anywhere in the world.
  • After the Titanic sank, the International Ice Patrol was created to monitor icebergs in the North Atlantic.
  • The Titanic had two sister ships, the Olympic and the Britannic.
anniversary
Noun

remembrance of a past event, usually recognized on the day the event happened every year.

Noun

study of human history, based on material remains.

Noun

region at Earth's extreme north, encompassed by the Arctic Circle.

Noun

measurement of depths of bodies of water.

captivate
Verb

to hold the attention of.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

commission
Verb

to formally order or give permission to work.

disaster
Noun

terrible and damaging event.

expedition
Noun

journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.

Explorer-in-Residence
Noun

pre-eminent explorers and scientists collaborating with the National Geographic Society to make groundbreaking discoveries that generate critical scientific information, conservation-related initiatives and compelling stories.

fascinate
Verb

to cause an interest in.

Noun

scientific studies done outside of a lab, classroom, or office.

Noun

large chunks of ice that break off from glaciers and float in the ocean.

luxurious
Adjective

rich or self-indulgent.

nautical
Adjective

having to do with oceans and sailing or navigation.

Noun

large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.

ocean liner
Noun

large ship used to transport people or goods to and from ocean ports on established routes, or lines.

oceanographer
Noun

person who studies the ocean.

Titanic
Noun

luxury cruise ship that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

voyage
Noun

long journey or trip.