Ship Number
Vessel Type
Passenger Ship
Slip Number
Launch Date
February 26, 1903
September 12, 1903
Richard Mills & Co.
15378 grt
BP Length
570 feet
67-6 feet
No. of Screws
Speed (approx)
quadruple expansion constructed in Belfast
Official No.

Originally built for the Dominion Line and christened Columbus, she was placed into service between Liverpool and Boston, touching at Queenstown. Accommodations were available for 280 persons in her first cabin and an equal number in her second cabin, while her steerage could hold several hundred passengers. She made her first trip across the Atlantic in October, 1903 and shortly thereafter was transferred to the White Star Line and employed in the Boston-Mediterranean service. At the time of transfer, her name was changed to Republic to correspond in termination (..."IC," e.g. Titanic, Olympic, Oceanic) with all other ships of the White Star Line. Republic spent fall and winter on White Star Line's Mediterranean service, from both Boston and New York in early 1904 and thereafter primarily from New York.
She has been regarded as the finest liner in the White Star Boston-European service, of which she was flagship. Since she took her place in the service she has several times been used in the New York-Mediterranean service in the Winter season.  For several years she held the record for the fastest passages between Boston and Queenstown. She was luxuriously equipped for the saloon passenger trade, and her second-cabin accommodations, which were not used in this trip, compare favourably with the second-cabin equipment of any liner afloat. The finest apartments on the liner were the dining saloon with its seating capacity of 200 diners; the library, the smoking room, and the lounge. The dining saloon was finished in ornamental wood. The upholstery was of rich texture, and the wood carvings were among the finest to be found on any vessel afloat. The great dome that formed the principal decorative feature of the ceiling of the dining saloon was another much admired fixture. The library and smoking rooms were equally well equipped. The Lounge was put on the promenade deck, and was perhaps the most popular apartment, particularly with the women. Suites for saloon passengers and the cabins de luxe were splendidly furnished apartments.
The Republic was a Single funnel ship, 570 feet long, 67.8 feet wide, and 24 feet deep. She had twelve water-tight compartments and a double skin. The largest Single compartment was that amidships, containing the engines. She was built by Harland & Wolff, at Belfast, in 1903, and was commissioned the following year. A previous collision in which the Republic figured was a slight one on Sunday, Feb. 16, 1907. While entering the harbour of Naples the Republic and the Centro America, an Italian Steamer, crashed together. No one was hurt, but the passengers of the Republic were alarmed. Both ships were considerably damaged. On her first trip from Boston to Liverpool the Republic, at that time the Columbus, carried the Honourable Artillery Company of London at the conclusion of their tour of the United States as the guests of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. On her last trip to New York the Republic brought the first refugees from the Sicilian and Calabrian earthquake to land on American shores. After the acquisition of the Dominion Line by the White Star Line the renamed vessel was placed in the newly established Boston-Mediterranean service, together with the Canopic and Romanic, also purchased from the Dominion Line. Later the Republic was transferred to the New York-Mediterranean service
R.M.S. Republic (II) When J. Pierpont Morgan's International Mercantile Marine Company was created in 1902, it acquired the White Star Line and several others. IMM soon decided that White Star was its principal asset, and transferred to White Star the newest and best of the ships then owned by its other companies. One of those was the Dominion Line's Columbus, which had been built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, and put into service on Dominion's Liverpool-Boston route on 1 October 1903. After two roundtrips, Columbus and the Liverpool-Boston route were transferred from Dominion to White Star, and Columbus was renamed Republic. She was the second White Star ship of that name. For the next five years, Republic spent fall and winter on White Star's Mediterranean service, from Boston in early 1904 and thereafter from New York. Spring and summer saw Republic on the Boston Liverpool route. All that ended on 23 January 1909, near Nantucket. On that date, while outbound from New York, Republic was rammed by the Lloyd Italiano liner Florida, which was headed to New York. Water began entering Republic's engine room on the ship's port side. All of Republic's passengers and most of her crew were taken off by Florida. Later, White Star's Baltic (II), summoned by Republic's wireless operator, Jack Binns, arrived on the scene and took all of the passengers from both ships -- some 1,260 in all -- to New York. Florida was also escorted to New York by American Line's New York. Meanwhile, two U.S. Coast Guard vessels, Gresham and Seneca, and Anchor Line's Furnessia attempted to tow Republic to safety. However, at around 8 pm on 24 January, Republic sank in 34 fathoms of water, off Martha's Vineyard. She was the largest liner lost at sea to that time. Remarkably, due in large part to Binns' heroic efforts, only six lives were lost, and those deaths resulted from the initial impact between the two ships. Ironically, on 12 December 1917, Florida was also lost in a collision, with the Italian auxiliary cruiser Caprera, near Armevilla.