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Cunard Line poster. "For safety and comfort take the old reliable Cunard Line. Established 1840. Sailing 4 times a week. For all European points. Between New York and Liverpool. P.H. Du Vernet, General Western Agent, North West Corner Clark and Randolph Streets, Chicago." Cunard Line is an American owned, British operated shipping company. It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic for over a century. In 1839, Canadian-born Samuel Cunard was awarded the first British transatlantic steamship mail contract, and the next year formed the British and North American Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company to operate the line's four pioneer paddle steamers on the Liverpool–Halifax–Boston route. For most of the next 30 years, Cunard held the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic voyage. However, in the 1870s Cunard fell behind its rivals, the White Star Line and the Inman Line. To meet this competition, in 1879 the firm was reorganized as Cunard Steamship Company, Ltd to raise capital.
White Star joined the American-owned International Mercantile Marine Co. in 1902. The British Government provided Cunard with substantial loans and a subsidy to build the two superliners needed to retain its competitive position. Mauretania held the Blue Riband from 1909 to 1929. The sinking of her sister ship Lusitania in 1915 was one of the causes of the United States' entering the First World War. In the late 1920s, Cunard faced new competition when the Germans, Italians and French built large prestige liners. Cunard was forced to suspend construction on its own new superliner because of the Great Depression. In 1934 the British Government offered Cunard loans to finish the Queen Mary and to build a second ship, the Queen Elizabeth, on the condition that Cunard merged with the then-ailing White Star line to form Cunard White-Star Ltd. Cunard owned two-thirds of the new company. Cunard purchased White Star's share in 1947; the name reverted to the Cunard Line in 1950. Winston Churchill estimated that the two Queens helped to shorten the Second World War by at least a year.? Upon the end of the war, Cunard regained its position as the largest Atlantic passenger line. By the mid-1950s, it operated 12 ships to the United States and Canada. After 1958, transatlantic passenger ships became increasingly unprofitable because of the introduction of jet airliners. Cunard withdrew from its year-round service in 1968 to concentrate on cruising and summer transatlantic voyages for vacationers. The Queens were replaced by the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), which was designed for the dual role. In 1998 Cunard was acquired by the Carnival Corporation and five years later QE2 was replaced on the Transatlantic runs by the Queen Mary 2 (QM2). The line also operates the Queen Victoria (QV) and the forthcoming Queen Elizabeth (QE), due for entry into service in 2010. Sir Samuel Cunard, 1st Baronet (21 November 1787 – 28 April 1865) was a Canadian-born British shipping magnate who founded the Cunard Line. Cunard's business skills were evident at an early age and by age 17 he was managing his own general store. He later joined his father in the family timber business, which he expanded into coal, iron, shipping and whaling.
During the War of 1812, Cunard volunteered for service in the 2nd Battalion of the Halifax Regiment of militia and rose to the rank of captain. He held many public offices such as lighthouse commissioner and maintained a reputation as not only a shrewd businessman but also an honest and generous citizen.
Cunard was a highly successful entrepreneur in Halifax shipping and one of a group of twelve individuals who dominated the affairs of Nova Scotia. Early investments in steam included co-founding the steam ferry company in Halifax harbour and an investment in the pioneering steamship Royal William. Cunard went to the United Kingdom, where he set up a company with several other businessmen to bid for the rights to run a transatlantic mail service between the UK and North America. It was successful in its bid, the company later becoming Cunard Steamships Limited.
In 1840 the company's first steamship, the Britannia, sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia and on to Boston, Massachusetts, with Cunard and 63 other passengers on board, marking the beginning of regular passenger and cargo service. Establishing a long unblemished reputation for speed and safety, Cunard's company made ocean liners a success in the face of many potential rivals who lost ships and fortunes. The prosperous company eventually absorbed many others such as the Canadian Northern Steamships Limited, and its principal competition, the White Star Line, owners of the ill-fated Titanic. After that, Cunard dominated the Atlantic passenger trade with some of the world's most famous liners such as the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth. His name lives on today in the Cunard Line, now a prestigious branch of the Carnival Line cruise empire.
Cunard owned a number of companies in Canada. His coal company, which he bought to fuel his liners, is still one of Nova Scotia's major fuel companies, although today owned by the Irving Family of New Brunswick. He also controlled logging ventures and at one point owned a seventh of Prince Edward Island. A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is secondary to the carriage of freight. The type does however include many classes of ships designed to transport substantial numbers of passengers as well as freight. Indeed, until recently virtually all ocean liners were able to transport mail, package freight and express, and other cargo in addition to passenger luggage, and were equipped with cargo holds and derricks, kingposts, or other cargo-handling gear for that purpose. Only in more recent ocean liners and in virtually all cruise ships has this cargo capacity been eliminated.
While typically passenger ships are part of the merchant marine, passenger ships have also been used as troopships and often are commissioned as naval ships when used as for that purpose. Description Source Wikipedia