The Titanic - Why did the Titanic sink?
"We have struck iceberg ... sinking fast ... come to our assistance."
The ship was doomed and it was slowly sliding into its watery grave. But why did the largest, most advanced ship of the century sink?
It was Captain Smith's fault
This was Captain E. J. Smith's retirement trip. All he had to do was get to New York in record time. Captain E. J. Smith said years before the Titanic's voyage, "I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that." Captain Smith ignored seven iceberg warnings from his crew and other ships. If he had called for the ship to slow down then maybe the Titanic disaster would not have happened.
It was the shipbuilder's fault
About three million rivets were used to hold the sections of the Titanic together. Some rivets have been recovered from the wreck and analysed. The findings show that they were made of sub-standard iron. When the ship hit the iceberg, the force of the impact caused the heads of the rivets to break and the sections of the Titanic to come apart. If good quality iron rivets had been used the sections may have stayed together and the ship may not have sunk.
It was Bruce Ismay's fault
Bruce Ismay was the Managing Director of the White Star Line and he was aboard the Titanic. Competition for Atlantic passengers was fierce and the White Star Line wanted to show that they could make a six-day crossing. To meet this schedule the Titanic could not afford to slow down. It is believed that Ismay put pressure on Captain Smith to maintain the speed of the ship.
It was Thomas Andrews' fault
The belief that the ship was unsinkable was, in part, due to the fact that the Titanic had sixteen watertight compartments. However, the compartments did not reach as high as they should have done. The White Star Line did not want them to go all the way up because this would have reduced living space in first class. If Mr Andrews, the ship's architect, had insisted on making them the correct height then maybe the Titanic would not have sunk.
It was Captain Lord's Fault
The final iceberg warning sent to Titanic was from the Californian. Captained by Stanley Lord, she had stopped for the night about 19 miles north of Titanic. At around 11.15, Californian's radio operator turned off the radio and went to bed. Sometime after midnight the crew on watch reported seeing rockets being fired into the sky from a big liner. Captain Lord was informed but it was concluded that the ship was having a party. No action was taken by the Californian. If the Californian had turned on the radio she would have heard the distress messages from Titanic and would have been able to reach the ship in time to save all passengers.
Was Captain Smith past his best?
Was money a key factor in the disaster?
Did laws need to be changed?
Who was to blame for the sinking of the Titanic?
Both America and Britain held inquiries into the disaster. both reached the almost identical conclusions.
The American inquiry concluded that Captain Smith should have slowed the speed of the boat given the icy weather conditions.
The British inquiry, on the other hand, concluded that maintaining speed in icy weather conditions was common practice.
Both inquiries agreed on who was most at fault - Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian. The inquiries stated that if Lord had gone to Titanic's assistance when the first rocket was seen then everyone would have been saved.
Both inquiries made recommendations:
All ships must carry sufficient lifeboats for the number of passengers on board.
Ship radios should be manned 24 hours a day.
Regular lifeboat drills should be held.
Speed should be reduced in ice, fog or any other areas of possible danger.
While medieval European medicine was still mired in superstitions and the rigid Catholic teachings of the Church, the advent of Islam in the 7th century A.D. gave rise to impressive growth and discoveries in many scientific fields, especially medicine. Islamic scholars and doctors translated medical texts from all over the known world, including the Greeks and Romans, Persians and Indians. They not only gathered... Read More
From the 1st century A.D. to the late 19th century, one medical compound reigned supreme over all other remedies: theriac. First concocted by a Greek king worried about poisons, theriac went from being a general antidote to snake bites to an all around panacea, used to treat everything from asthma to warts, including the Black Plague. Famous doctors throughout this long history experimented with the drug and... Read More
If you think, as some do today, that many drugs used as medicines are potentially deadly, consider what people living in medieval times were prescribed as curative agents—from ground up corpses to toxic mercury to crocodile dung. The annals of medieval medical history are full of substances that make us cringe. Yet people believed in these cure-alls and willingly took them when prescribed by a doctor of the... Read More
The Neo-Assyrian Empire used earthen ramps, siege towers and battering rams in sieges; the Greeks and Alexander the Great created destructive new engines known as artillery to further their sieges, and the Romans used every technique to perfection. That is to say, the Romans were not inventors, but they were superb engineers and disciplined, tough soldiers who fought against great odds and won, repeatedly.... Read More
Demetrius I, King of Macedon, invented many siege engines including battering rams and siege towers. For the Siege of Rhodes, he created the Helepolis, the Taker of Cities, a huge armored siege tower containing many heavy catapults.
The island city of Rhodes maintained its neutrality among the warring nations of the time, although it remained friendly to Ptolemy I of Egypt, the enemy of Demetrius of... Read More