How Many People Died in the Lusitania?

February 24, 2024

The RMS Lusitania was a luxury ocean liner that traveled between the United States and Britain carrying both passengers and cargo. On May 7, 1915, the ship was torpedoed without warning by a German U-boat as it approached the Irish coast. In just 18 minutes, she sank and 1,199 people died. This number included 128 Americans.

The attack caused a huge wave of indignation in the United States and fueled public support for American entry into World War I. The deaths also stoked the belief that Germany was waging a war of terror in its efforts to defeat Britain. Allegations that the Lusitania was carrying contraband munitions – such as fine aluminium powder hidden in cheese boxes and guncotton disguised in casks of beef – have never been proven.

After the torpedo struck, the Lusitania immediately began sinking. A series of explosions ripped through the ship, including several boilers which exploded. The ship sank into the Celtic Sea within 20 minutes.

The numbers of passengers and crew killed in the lusitania are often quoted differently. The figures most commonly used are 1,195 and 1,198. The official figure of 1,195 counts stowaways (children and women who were on board but didn’t have tickets) twice, while the number of 1,198 excludes them. Both numbers are based on data from the passenger and crew lists found on this website.


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