Titanic: A Modern History (For Those Who Just Discovered Titanic Was Real)

It has come to our attention that many young folks, until recently, did not know that Titanic was a real ship that actually sank in real life… it was not just a movie. Don’t believe me? Check out the Huffington Post’s profile of 21 Movie Fans Who Didn’t Know the Titanic Was Real. Gizmodo scrounged up a few others. Pretty shocking. For those of you just joining the rest of society in this realization, we have a message for you:

A long time ago before the Internet, somebody built a really big ship that looked a lot like a Carnival Cruise ship, just without the water slides, movie theaters and Zumba. It was called the RMS Titanic, and it was pretty awesome.

The Titanic was the biggest ship anyone had ever seen, and many of the most prominent people in the world booked tickets for the maiden voyage. This was back in the day when people wore fancy suits and dresses all the time and used words like “marvelous” to describe things that interested them. The ship boasted a full gymnasium, high-class dining, expansive libraries and luxurious cabins. Plus, they even had a wireless telegraph machine, which was like their version of Twitter (just noisier).

The Titanic represented the epitome of world-class travel. Sadly, it is very far-removed from what you might recognize in the cruise ship industry today. For example, you were likely to dress up in a tuxedo for dinner and discuss politics with prestigious gentlemen. Today, however, you’re likely to do a bunch of Jäger Bombs and enter a belly flop contest at Senior Frog’s.

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic left non-America for New York City, which is located in America. There were about 1,317 passengers and 885 crew members on board, and most of them had English accents. If you’ve never heard an English accent before, it sounds exactly like Austin Powers, except not as funny.

At the time, it was considered standard practice to travel full steam ahead. This probably doesn’t mean a whole lot since none of you know what a steam engine is. There’s no point explaining it, either, because you probably don’t even care. All you really need to know is the ship went really fast.

Nonetheless, Captain Edward Smith received multiple iceberg warnings during the fourth day at sea. Icebergs, like polar bears, will probably not be in your future thanks to global warming, but back in the day they were considered dangerous obstacles that sank many ships. However, Captain Smith refused to take the warnings seriously. Like many others, he considered the Titanic unsinkable.

For those of you who still haven’t seen the movie, I hate to spoil it for you, but the Titanic ends up hitting an iceberg and sinking, and there was nothing Leonardo DiCaprio could do to stop it. A lot of what happened in the movie also happened in real life, like saving the women and children first, a band really played music while the ship sank and hundreds of people actually died.

The sinking of the Titanic shocked the world. Out of the 2,224 people on board, 1,514 were lost at sea never to be seen again. Recently, 20th Century Fox re-released Titanic in 3D to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the tragedy, and also to make more money. If you never knew this event was a real, now’s your chance to re-watch the film with a totally new perspective.

To learn even more about Titanic, tune in to Save the Titanic With Bob Ballard (the dude that discovered Titanic) and Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron (the dude that made the movie about Titanic) tonight starting at 8P et/pt on the National Geographic Channel.


  1. florabel
    April 13, 2012, 10:45 am

    geez, how come those 21 fans didn’t know TITANIC was real?!? so sad… I watched this back in the Philippines and I was on my fifth grade. I became a fan of this movie and had been conducting research about the event itself. anyways, so sad that I can’t watch Titanic 3D here in riyadh. 🙁

  2. Drew
    Los Angeles, CA
    April 14, 2012, 1:23 pm

    I don’t know why James Cameron thinks he can lead a team of academics to study the sinking of the Titanic. He openly disagrees with Naval Engineers when he has no formal training in hydrodynamics. Further, I am not sure why its important to figure out exactly how the Titanic broke apart after it sank and before it hit the ocean floor. Its only important that we know that it broke apart in two and then sank. Why does explaining the damage caused by the hydrodynamic flow over the ship on its way down to the ocean floor change anything?

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  4. Stephanie Montor
    St.Petersburg Florida
    April 21, 2012, 10:21 am

    Wow! I am so thankful to NatGeo for producing the wonderful
    series about building the Titanic. I truly loved learning about
    All of the craftsmen that worked so hard in those days.I truly
    cried when I watched the 20 draft horses bring the anchor down the road. Titanic has always fascinated me and through
    All of your wonderful efforts a new generation can learn about
    her and that time period. Thank you for telling the story of the
    everyday people that helped to build a dream.

  5. Hassana
    July 9, 2012, 1:42 am

    Hm,it amazing tha the almighty titanic sank into the river like a small ship,wel it good that craft of it is been about to produce.

  6. Yugi
    June 1, 2013, 8:44 am

    I became a fan of this movie and had been conducting research about the event itself. anyways, so sad that I can’t watch Titanic 3D here in riyadh. 🙁

  7. raina
    January 12, 2015, 7:29 pm

    i knew the titanic was real…..but there was more to it than just hitting the iceberg.it was also because the titanic was in a location where these certain stars made things seem as something else than you thought it was.when the californian ship saw a ship from a distance they believed it wasn’t the titanic because the stars made the shape a little odd.so they sailed away .if the stars hadn’t made such an illusion ,the californian ship would know it was the titanic and more lives would have been saved.