Historical ships

ByElsa Sc S

Doing her graduation from LUMS & a keen researcher


July 8, 2022

Historical ships

Ships have played a pivotal role in human evolution and development. The kinds of events they are associated with have made a permanent mark on historical records overtime. These historical ships are widely rated to be the important milestones in the eventful periods they represented and became immortal due to them.

HMS Victory, 1765
Around 6,000 trees, mostly oak, were used to construct the battleship HMS Victory in 1765. Measuring 186 feet and loaded with 100 guns, her three masts meant she could travel faster than most ships of her size. Around 830 men lived and worked in very cramped and uncomfortable conditions while officers had more luxurious quarters. HMS Victory had many military encounters but the most famous was the Battle of Trafalgar, under the British naval commander Nelson, in 1805. The ship was rescued and today is open to the public at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard,

Hampshire, England.
HMS Bounty, 1784
Built in 1784 to carry coal, HMS Bounty has a dark story. She was refitted by the Royal Navy to transport breadfruit cuttings from Tahiti to the West Indies, to be grown as food for enslaved people. Under Captain Bligh, the expedition reached Tahiti from England but mutiny broke out, led by Fletcher Christian, over Bligh’s harsh rule. Bligh and a group of his crew were set adrift on a small boat but against all odds, survived.

HMS Beagle, 1820
Charles Darwin set sail on HMS Beagle in 1831 from Plymouth, England. He was 22 years old and hired to be the ship’s naturalist on its journey around the globe. Launched in 1820, the Beagle was a two-masted vessel intended for work as a courier and other light duties. Her five-year journey around the world was to investigate measurements of longitude and for Darwin to collect fossils, plant samples and make a record of different animals. The studies gave rise to his thoughts and writings on evolution that still influences scientific thinking today.

Potemkin, 1900
Potemkin was a steam battleship of the Imperial Russian navy launched in 1900. She became famous when the crew mutinied and a movie was subsequently made about the story by Sergey Eisenstein in 1925. Russia was at war with Japan in 1905 and Potemkin was stationed off the coast of Ukraine. When the crew refused to eat the rotten meat provided, the officers threatened to shoot them. Mutineers killed seven officers and took over the ship. The rebellion was a precursor to the 1917 revolution.

Lusitania, 1906
When launched in 1906, the Lusitania was the largest ship in the world at 787 feet long, although she was overtaken by sister ship RMS Mauretania shortly afterwards. What the Lusitania is best known for, however, is her role in the First World War. On 7 May 1915, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat while traveling from New York to Liverpool, England. Some 1,100 of the passengers onboard died and the bombing is believed to have been the first of a series of events that led to the US joining the conflict.

Titanic, 1912
Probably the world’s most famous ship, the Titanic sank in April 1912 on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. The largest ship at the time, she was designed to be the safest vessel ever built, with 16 watertight compartments that meant she could stay afloat even if four of these flooded. However after she hit an iceberg, five compartments were breached and the ship went down taking the lives of 1,500 with her.

QE2, 1969
Built by Cunard to work the transatlantic route from Europe to America, Queen Elizabeth II, known as QE2, bridged the gap between ocean liner and modern-day cruise ship. She made her maiden voyage in 1969 and was one of the fastest liners ever built. Originally steam-powered, she was refurbished in 1986 and fitted with diesel and electric motors. QE2 could carry 2,000 passengers in air-conditioned luxury on her trips between Southampton and New York but she also cruised to destinations around the world, including Sydney. In 2008, after 806 transatlantic crossings, she took her final voyage and now is moored as a floating hotel in Port Rashid, Dubai. TW


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