- from Titanic
Boats have been around from the time of our earliest ancestors. Boats enabled people to cross wide rivers and fish in deep waters. As people began to explore distant lands, they found better ways to build larger and stronger boats.
Around A.D. 1000, Viking explorers from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark sailed to North America. They used wooden boats no bigger than today’s mobile homes. But crossing the Atlantic was dangerous. Icebergs, storms, poor navigational equipment, and unreliable sail power cost thousands of people their lives. Disease and unsanitary conditions were also problems.
By the late 1800s, transatlantic crossings had become more routine. By then, ships were powered by steam engines. They were built of iron and steel. (Ship is the term used for a large seagoing vessel.) Shipping companies began building giant ocean liners. In the early 1900s, the White Star Line was in a heated race with competitors to build even bigger, more impressive ships. In 1912, after three years under construction, the largest moving object in the world—the Titanic—was unveiled.