One of the world's greatest tragedies was the sinking of the luxury liner Titanic. Although it was a British ship, many Americans were on board during that terrible night of April 15, 1912. The ship was on its maiden voyage on that night when it struck an iceberg in the deep waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The ship was in route to New York City from Southampton, UK when it hit the iceberg, killing more than 1,500 of the 2,224 passengers. The ship was the largest ship ever built to that date, and was thought to be unsinkable.
The ship's passengers varied from some of the richest people in the world at the time, to thousands of immigrant workers who were trying to find work in the United States. The Titanic was equipped with technological safety features like remote control watertight doors, and watertight compartments, but it did not carry enough lifeboats for all passengers. Because of the immense size of the ship, it was thought to be unsinkable, a fact that contributed to the small number of lifeboats carried on the ship. Additionally, many of the lifeboats were not filled to capacity when they were launched, causing more loss of life.
Most of those killed that night were men. The protocol followed by the ship's officers required "women and children first," when loading lifeboats. The accident was met by international shock and grief. Many of today's maritime rules were put into place because of this disaster. Only 705 passengers floating on lifeboats were saved that night. The ship broke into two parts before it went under. It remains more than a mile deep in the North Atlantic. The sinking of the Titanic has been documented in film and literature over the years.