10 World’s Most Famous and Historically Significant Ships

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Here’s a list of ships that are famous because of their contribution in exploration, navigation, transportation and in wars or because of disaster.

1. Victoria

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Victoria became famous in history because it was the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world. The voyage was lead by Magellan and was accompanied by four other ships. Of this fleet of five, Victoria was the only ship to complete the voyage. Magellan himself was killed in the Philippines. The four other ships were Trinidad (110 tons, crew 55), San Antonio (120 tons, crew 60), Concepcion (90 tons, crew 45), and Santiago (75 tons, crew 32). Trinidad, Magellan’s flagship, Concepcion, and Santiago were wrecked; San Antonio deserted the expedition before the Strait of Magellan and returned to Europe on her own. Victoria was rated a ship, as were all the others except Trinidad, which was a caravel.

2. Lusitania

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This ship became historically famous and significant because it was sunk by the Germans during the 1st Word War and one of the reasons why the US joined the said war. RMS Lusitania was a British luxury ocean liner. Christened and launched on Thursday, 7 June 1906, Lusitania met a disastrous end as a casualty of the 1st World War when she was torpedoed by the on 7 May 1915. The great ship sank in just 18 minutes, eight miles (15 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, killing 1,198 of the people aboard. The sinking turned public opinion in many countries against Germany.

3. Mayflower

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The Mayflower was famous and of great historical significant ship because it was the ship that transported the English Separatists, better known as the Pilgrims, from England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts (which would become the capital of Plymouth Colony), in 1620. The Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future US. With their religion oppressed by the English Church and government, the small party of religious separatists who comprised about half of the passengers on the ship desired a life where they could practice their religion freely. This symbol of religious freedom resonates in US society and the story of the Mayflower is a staple of any American history textbook. Americans whose roots are traceable back to New England often believe themselves to be descended from Mayflower passengers.

4. Niña

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The Niña was one of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage towards the Indies in 1492. The real name of the Niña was Santa Clara. She was a caravel-type vessel. The other ships of the Columbus expedition were the caravel Pinta and the Santa Maria. The Niña was by far Columbus’ favorite.

5. Titanic

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Probably, the world’s most famous ship is the Titanic which became more sensational through the film “Titanic” which was written, produced and directed by James Cameroon. RMS Titanic was an Olympic-class passenger liner. On the night of 14 April 1912, during her maiden voyage, Titanic hit an iceberg, and sank two hours and forty minutes later, early on 15 April 1912. At the time of her launching in 1912, she was the largest passenger steamship in the world. The sinking resulted in the deaths of 1,517 people, one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history and by far the most famous. The discovery of the wreck in 1985 have made Titanic persistently famous in the years since

6. USS Arizona

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This American battleship became historically significant when it was destroyed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1942. The USS Arizona is best known for her cataclysmic and dramatic sinking, with the loss of 1,177 lives, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the event that brought about U.S. involvement in World War II. The wreck was not salvaged, and continues to lie at the floor of the harbor. It is the site of a memorial to those who perished on that day.

7. USS Constitution

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This ship is famous because it is regarded as the oldest warship still in commission afloat. It is widely cited as the most famous U.S. warship of all time. USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named after the Constitution of the USA by President George Washington, she is the oldest commissioned vessel afloat in the world.

8. Noah’s Ark

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Noah’s Ark, according to the Book of Genesis (chapters 6-9), is the story of a large vessel built at God’s command to save Noah, his family, and stock of all the world’s animals from the Deluge. The legend tells of God, angered at the wickedness and violence of the world, deciding to destroy his creation. Noah, a man “righteous in his generation,” is instructed to build the Ark and take on board his family and representatives of the animals and birds. The flood rises to cover the Earth, but at its height “God remembered Noah”, the waters abate, and dry land appears. The story ends with Noah offering a sacrifice to God and entering into a covenant.

9. Bismarck

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Bismarck, a German battleship, is one of the most famous warships of the 2nd World War. It was named after the 19th century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. It displaced more than 50,000 tons fully loaded and was the largest warship then commissioned. Her chief claim to fame came from the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941 during which the battle cruiser HMS Hood, flagship of the Home Fleet and pride of the Royal Navy, was sunk within several minutes. In response, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued the order to “Sink the Bismarck”, spurring a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy. Two days later, with safer waters almost in reach, Fleet Air Arm aircraft torpedoed Bismarck and jammed her rudder, allowing heavy British units to catch up with her. In the ensuing battle on the morning of May 27, 1941, Bismarck was heavily attacked for nearly three hours before sinking.

10. Yamato

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Yamato, a Japanese battleship, is the world’s largest battleship ever built, also mounting the largest caliber main armament ever built, at 18.1 inches in diameter. Yamato is named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, was a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She and her sister ship the Musashi were the largest, heaviest, and most powerful battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tons at full load, and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 inch) main guns. The ship held special significance for the Empire of Japan as a symbol of the nation’s naval power (Yamato was sometimes used to refer to Japan itself), and its sinking by US aircraft in the final days of the war during the suicide Operation Ten-Go is sometimes considered symbolic of Japan’s defeat itself.

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