The massive ocean liner Titanic strikes an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sinks. The front of the ship reaches the bottom first, followed by the stern.
Passengers begin to prepare for a lifeboat evacuation. An order is given to load women and children into the boats first. The crewmen will follow later.
1. The Ship’s Launch
The RMS titanic timeline sets sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City. The luxury liner, the largest ever built at the time, is carrying 1,178 passengers and crew, including members of British nobility, American socialites and industrialists, and many poor emigrants seeking a better life in America.
Titanic encounters rough seas and a freezing North Atlantic. Throughout the day, seven iceberg warnings are received. On the bridge, Captain Edward Smith cancels a scheduled lifeboat drill. Wireless operator Jack Phillips receives the first ice warning from the steamship Baltic, reporting large icebergs in an area ahead (42degN, 51deg 31′ W). Smith passes the warning to White Star’s London-based general manager Bruce Ismay.
Around 11:40 pm, lookout Frederick Fleet spots an iceberg directly in front of the ship. He sends a message to the bridge that reads “Iceberg Ahead”. Second Officer Moody responds with a call to turn hard starboard (left). The ship’s right side scrapes the iceberg. Thirty-seven seconds pass between sighting and impact.
The iceberg causes major damage to the ship. Designer Thomas Andrews estimates that the ship can remain afloat for only two hours. He urges Captain Smith to start preparing the lifeboats and gives an order for women and children to board them first. Captain Smith also orders Phillips to send out a distress signal. Although SOS had become the official distress call several years earlier, many still used CQD.
Lifeboat No. 7 on the starboard side is lowered with 28 people, even though it has room for 65. Other lifeboats are launched well below capacity. Many passengers are reluctant to abandon the ship, believing that it is unsinkable.
Captain Smith tries to contact the Carpathia by radio but is unsuccessful. He also fires several distress rockets. At 2:18 am, the Titanic cracks in half and sinks. The rescue ship Carpathia arrives shortly thereafter. It picks up the survivors and returns them to New York. During the rescue operation, hordes of newspaper reporters on small boats gather in the waters off Manhattan to witness the event.
2. The Ship’s Maiden Voyage
On April 14 the Titanic leaves Southampton for her maiden voyage. The ship is full of passengers and crew. The band is playing lively ragtime music. The lookouts see an iceberg dead ahead, towering over the water. Ship’s sixth officer Moody calls down to the bridge, sounds a warning bell and radios the information. First officer Murdoch, reacting instinctively to the danger, orders a hard starboard turn. But the ship scrapes the iceberg and water enters the front part of the vessel.
The Carpathia is only 58 miles away. It hears the distress call and steams full speed to come to the rescue. The first lifeboat, a starboard one that can carry 65 people, is lowered. It leaves with 28 people aboard, including women and children. The others are lowered as soon as possible. The ship must stay afloat for only two hours.
In the meantime, many survivors jump into the water. The ship’s stern is suddenly tilted upward, then becomes more level for a few moments. It then starts to sink slowly. The hull fills with water, and the people in the lifeboats are soon frozen to death.
The Titanic’s story is the story of millions of people who in their search for a better life took that risky and often dangerous crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to a new land. Their lives, like the story of Titanic, are part of the American experience. Today, the story of the Titanic is still a source of fascination for millions of people. It is also a reminder of the sacrifices that so many people made to achieve their dreams and of how fortunate we are to live in this great country of ours. On this page you will find links to other sites with more information on the Titanic. We hope you find them helpful. We also welcome your comments and suggestions for improvements to this page. Please note that we are not able to respond directly to emails sent to us. However, we will read them and use them to improve our service.
3. The Sinking
The sinking of the Titanic is arguably one of the world’s most tragic disasters. The luxury liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank in less than three hours. Over 1500 people lost their lives. Hundreds of others were saved. Among those who survived, there were many stories of joyous reunions and selfless acts. The disaster is also credited with changing maritime regulations, including lifeboat requirements.
The Titanic’s maiden voyage began on April 10, 1912, when it set sail from Southampton for New York City. The ship was the largest passenger vessel afloat at the time.
On April 14, two days into the voyage, the ship’s lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg ahead. The ship’s first officer ordered a hard starboard turn. The iceberg scraped the Titanic’s side before going by into the night. Second Officer Charles Lightoller took over the bridge at this point.
He consulted the ship’s engineer, who told him that the Titanic would definitely sink and probably within two hours. He then sent the first radio distress signals.
Soon after, passengers began to board the lifeboats. Women and children occupied the first spots, followed by men. Some men gave up their spots to stay with loved ones or help strangers. Despite the fact that the lifeboats were supposed to hold 1000 people, only 706 passengers and crew members survived the tragedy.
As the boatloads of passengers boarded the lifeboats, Titanic’s musicians continued to play. Speculation swirls around what songs they played, but sources will differ on the exact time. Some say they played until just before the ship sank.
The Titanic sank at 2:20 am. The iceberg had ripped into six of the ship’s compartments and allowed water to pour in at an alarming rate. The resulting pressure forced the back of the ship into the water and the front half sank.
At the same time, the aft section of the ship rose to the surface and flipped over. It stayed upright for a while before collapsing.
A few hours later, the first lifeboat was rescued by the Carpathia. She was about 58 miles away when she heard the initial radio distress calls. At 3:30 am, she was close enough to fire her rockets, which were clearly visible in the dark water. Then, at 4:10 am, the first of the Titanic’s survivors was hauled aboard.
4. The Search
The titanic timeline chronicles the construction and sinking of the world’s largest passenger steam ship. It was meant to revolutionize sea travel but it was destroyed by a collision with an iceberg on its maiden voyage. This tragic event would reshape history and lead to changes in maritime safety and regulations.
April 14: The iceberg hits the Titanic at 11:40 PM. Lookouts immediately report the iceberg to the bridge, sounding a warning bell three times. Sixth Officer Moody immediately relays the message to Second Officer Lightoller, who orders the helmsman to turn engines full astern and to activate the lever to close the watertight doors below the waterline. He also instructs the stokers to stop working.
Lightoller then begins lowering the lifeboats. Boat No. 8 is lowered with 28 people including first-class passengers Lucy Noel Martha, countess of Rothes, and her wife Ida Straus. They are unable to board due to the order of women and children first, and they refuse to disobey orders. Isidor and Millvina Dean, a couple who were nine weeks pregnant, are offered seats in the boat; Isidor refuses to leave her husband, saying “Where you go, I’ll go.” They will both die in the water.
Boat No. 10 is launched. Madeleine Astor, the fifth-richest woman on the ship and heir to the Astor fortune, is escorted into the boat by Second Officer Lightoller. She asks if her husband, John Jacob Astor IV, can join them but Lightoller refuses to break the rules of “women and children first.”
Then boats 12, 10, 14, and collapsible D are lowered. Second-class passenger Thomas Byles is thrown into boat 14 but he manages to jump clear. The crew of the Carpathia, a rescue vessel that has heard Titanic’s distress call, arrive at the scene and begin transferring survivors to it.
In 1985, oceanographer Robert Ballard and his team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution located the wreck of the Titanic. The wreck, which was the largest in the world at the time of its discovery, is an important part of United States maritime history. It serves as a tangible link to the nation’s maritime past and is protected by the U.S. Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
Titanic Timeline Conclusion
The Titanic’s tragic voyage began on April 10, 1912, and ended in disaster when it struck an iceberg and sank on April 15. The disaster claimed the lives of over 1,500 people, making it one of the deadliest maritime tragedies in history. The legacy of the Titanic endures as a reminder of the importance of safety at sea.
- What caused the sinking of the Titanic?
The Titanic’s sinking was primarily caused by the collision with an iceberg, which ruptured multiple compartments and led to flooding. The ship’s inadequate lifeboat capacity and the lack of proper safety measures also contributed to the high casualty count.
- Were there any survivors from the Titanic?
Yes, there were around 705 survivors rescued by nearby ships, like the RMS Carpathia. However, the majority of the passengers and crew did not survive due to the limited number of lifeboats and the freezing water temperatures, making it extremely challenging to evacuate everyone in time.