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Today In History – April 15 – “Unsinkable” Titanic Sinks





1783: Congress ratifies peace with Great Britain: On this day in 1783, the Continental Congress of the United States officially ratifies the preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain that was signed in November 1782. The congressional move brings the nascent nation one step closer to the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. More here

1865: President Lincoln dies: At 7:22 a.m President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies from an assassin’s bullet. Shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington the night before, Lincoln lived for nine hours before succumbing to the severe head wound he sustained. More here, here, here and here

1912: “Unsinkable” Titanic sinks: At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before.

On April 10, the RMS Titanic, one of the largest and most luxurious ocean liners ever built, departed Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The Titanic was designed by the Irish shipbuilder William Pirrie and built in Belfast, and was thought to be the world’s fastest ship. It spanned 883 feet from stern to bow, and its hull was divided into 16 compartments that were presumed to be watertight. Because four of these compartments could be flooded without causing a critical loss of buoyancy, the Titanic was considered unsinkable. While leaving port, the ship came within a couple of feet of the steamer New York but passed safely by, causing a general sigh of relief from the passengers massed on the Titanic’s decks. On its first journey across the highly competitive Atlantic ferry route, the ship carried some 2,200 passengers and crew. More here,  here, here and here

1947: Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier: On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson’s groundbreaking career was honored and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig in a ceremony attended by over 50,000 fans at New York City’s Shea Stadium. Robinson’s was the first-ever number retired by all teams in the league. More here

1989: Hillsborough disaster: The Hillsborough disaster was a human crush that occurred on 15 April 1989 at Hillsborough, a football stadium, the home of Sheffield Wednesday F.C. in Sheffield, England, resulting in the deaths of 96 people, and 766 being injured, all fans of Liverpool F.C. It remains the deadliest stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the worst ever international football accidents.It was the second of two stadium-related disasters involving Liverpool supporters, the other being the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985.

The match, an FA Cup semi-final tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, was abandoned six minutes into the game.

The inquiry into the disaster, the Taylor Report, named the cause as failure of police control, and resulted in the conversion of many football stadiums in the United Kingdom to all-seater and the removal of barriers at the front of stands. More here

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