• The Titanic sailed out of Southampton, England, on its maiden and only voyage on April 10th, 1912. Construction of the ship began two years earlier in Belfast, Ireland and was completed March 31st, 1912. Days after setting sail, on April 15th, 1912, the Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg.

    Photograph by Joseph H. Bailey

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  • The R.M.S. Titanic departed from Southampton, England, for the first and only time on April 10th, 1912. The Titanic had nine decks with separate areas for first-class, second-class, and third-class passengers. There were close to 2,200 people aboard for the ship's maiden voyage.

    Photograph by F. G. O. Stuart
  • Captain Edward J. Smith was a veteran of the seas. Commanding Titanic's maiden voyage was to be his last mission before retirement. Sadly, Captain Smith went down with the ship.

    Photograph by Bruce Dale
  • The Daily Echo, a newspaper from Halifax, Canada, reports on the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. The paper reports that over 1500 people were lost in the sinking and that 745 survivors are accounted for. Today, many sources agree that there were only 705 survivors of the Titanic disaster. This discrepency reflects the chaos in the aftermath of the sinking.

    Photograph by Joseph H. Bailey
  • A series of commemorative postcards was issued in New Jersey shortly after the sinking of the Titanic. Before it sank, Titanic was heralded as unsinkable--- a claim that sadly proved to be untrue. Some of the many factors that contributed to the Titanic's sinking were choices made by the ship's designers. These decisions were later investigated through British and American inquries.

    Photograph by Joseph H. Bailey
  • While looking for the Titanic, expedition crew members gather in the control room to examine sonar read-outs. Sonar is a method of determining the presence and location of an object using sound waves. The expedition to find Titanic took place in 1985 and was led by Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • The submersible Mir 2 lights expose the bronze telemotor once used to operate the steering gear on the bridge of the R.M.S. Titanic. A telemotor is a hydraulic device that connects the movement of the wheel to other parts of the ship. At its time, Titanic was the biggest ship that had ever been built and was a feat of modern engineering.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • Dr. Robert D. Ballard oversees the progress of the expedition to locate the R.M.S Titanic in 1985. Ballard co-discovered the Titanic while on a secret navy mission to locate the sunken Cold War submarines, Scorpion and Thresher. In his search for the subs, Ballard learned about debris fields and was able to apply this knowledge to his search for the Titanic.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • The rusted prow of the R.M.S. Titanic ocean liner sits in the dark waters of the North Atlantic ocean off the coast of New Foundland. While this is an iconic image of the sunken ship, the boiler of the Titanic plays a more important role in the ship's history. Until its discovery in 1985, the location of the Titanic was a mystery. Robert Ballard, co-discoverer of the ship, said that he and his team knew they had found Titanic when the team spotted its boiler on the ocean floor.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof, National Geographic
  • The Titanic had two four-story-high reciprocating engines, which drove out the board propellers of the ship. These engines propelled the Titanic forward. The top speed of the Titanic was 24 knots (27 miles per hour). The engines now sit silently at the bottom of the North Atlantic ocean, covered in rusticles.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • The propeller of the R.M.S. Titanic is seen from the Mir 2 submersible porthole. Until its discovery in 1985, the location of the sunken Titanic was a mystery. Since then, there have been many expeditions to see the Titanic, some for scavenging, others for research.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • An intact glass pane from the window of Captain Edward J. Smith's cabin hangs open on the sunken Titanic. Titanic lies 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) beneath the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New Foundland. The ship's location was co-discovered by Robert Ballard in 1985.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • A ceramic bowl and other debris from the Titanic litter the floor of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland. The R.M.S. Titanic sank in April 1912 after striking an iceberg. The sunken ship's exact location was unknown until 1985, when Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel co-discovered its resting spot. In recent years, there has been debate on whether or not artifacts should be removed from the Titanic site.

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • On his 1986 trip down to the Titanic, Robert Ballard and his team left a commemorative plaque on the deck of the sunken R.M.S. Titanic. The plaque says "In memory of those souls who perished with the Titanic April 14/15, 1912. Dedicated to William H. Tantum, IV whose dream to find Titanic has been realized by Dr. Robert D. Ballard. The officers and members of the Titanic Historical Society inc. 1986".

    Photograph by Emory Kristof
  • Two Titanic survivors examine Titanic mementos at a museum in Liverpool, England, in 1985. Stories of Titanic survivors have long been a subject of fasciniation. The youngest person aboard the Titanic was a third-class passenger named Millvina Dean. She was three months old when she was loaded into a lifeboat at the time of Titanic's sinking. Millvina died in 2009 and was the last living survivor of the Titanic.

    Photograph by Bruce Dale
  • Tourists examine a scale model of the Titanic at a National Geographic Society exhibit in Washington, D.C. The story of the Titanic continues to captivate people, inspiring films, clubs, museums, websites, and historic reenactments.

    Photograph by Mark Thiessen

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  • 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.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    anniversary Noun

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

    archaeology Noun

    study of human history, based on material remains.

    Encyclopedic Entry: archaeology
    Arctic Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: Arctic
    bathymetry Noun

    measurement of depths of bodies of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: bathymetry
    captivate Verb

    to hold the attention of.

    coast Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: coast
    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.

    field work Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: field work
    iceberg Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: iceberg
    luxurious Adjective

    rich or self-indulgent.

    nautical Adjective

    having to do with oceans and sailing or navigation.

    ocean Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: ocean
    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.