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Images mark 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic

By: Katherine Butler on April 2, 2012, 1:27 p.m.
Titanic before launch

Photo: Library of Congress

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Just before its only voyage, Southampton, England

The destruction of the Titanic is often held up as a cautionary tale, but at the time, the ship's construction was steeped in pride. Historians point out that its creation was the result of intense competition between The White Star Line and Cunard steamships. Cunard was famous for the 1907 creation of the high-speed Mauretania, the fastest steamship in the world. Eager to beat his rival, White Star Line chief executive J. Bruce Ismay set out to build three new liners. By the summer of 1909, the construction of Titanic was under way. Titanic was launched from the shipyard of Harland & Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on May 31, 1911. Here we see it on April 10, 1912, the day the ship launched on its fateful voyage.