RMS Lusitania was a ship which started its maiden voyage in 1907 and made 202 crossings on the Liverpool-New York Route. It created excitement on its launch being the largest passenger ship in the world at the time. It also held the Blue Riband for a while. On May 7, 1915, Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat during the First World War. The disaster was responsible for the death of more than a 1000 people and created a furor. The sinking of Lusitania is considered a major factor in United States joining the First World War against Germany. Know more about the history and sinking of RMS Lusitania through these 10 interesting facts.
1. It was created in response to German ships dominating the Atlantic trade
At the beginning of the twentieth century there was fierce competition between Britain’s Cunard Line and German shipping companies Norddeutscher Lloyd (NDL) and Hamburg America Line (HAPAG) for the transatlantic trade. With the German companies dominating the Atlantic with more luxurious and faster ships, Cunard approached the British government for assistance and was given a loan of £2.6 million to finance two ships on the condition that they would be designed such that they could be converted into Armed Merchant Cruisers (AMCs). This led to the creation of RMS Lusitania and her running mate RMS Mauretania.
2. RMS Lusitania was built by Scottish firm John Brown & Company
RMS Lusitania was designed by Cunard Line’s senior naval architect Leonard Peskett, who also designed RMS Mauretania. The ship’s interiors were designed by Scottish architect James Miller. It was built by Scottish shipbuilding firm John Brown & Company, which is renowned for building many other world famous ships too. The ship was named after the ancient Roman province of Lusitania, which included nearly all of modern Portugal south of the Douro River and part of modern Spain.