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Perhaps the most famous of all,
I was killed a century ago.
My fate is well known to all:
What bore me, hardened, killed me.

Named for an African province,
And speedy as I could be.
I held the record both ways
For over twenty turns.

Named for another old province,
I was killed a century ago.
My fate is well known to all:
It changed the course of history.

The second of my name,
And the last one still around.
Change one lady's name
To get my predecessor.


Who are we?

Each verse gives a different answer, but they're all connected as indicated by the title.

Edit: "an African province" in the third verse now changed to "another old province". Apologies for the error!

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Nice pun in the title! $\endgroup$ – dennisdeems Aug 24 '15 at 14:51
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You are talking about

Famous ships: all 4 are liners like the question title suggests

Verse 1:

Titanic, most famous ship, destroyed by an iceberg

Verse 2:

Mauretania, holding the blue Ribbon for 20 years, west- and eastbound Atlantic speed record

Verse 3:

Sinking of the Lusitania and attack on Sussex was a turning point in WW1. Lusitania was named after a Roman province located in Portugal and Spain

Verse 4:

Queen Mary 2, famous liner. As far as I know, only active ship referring to a British queen.

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  • $\begingroup$ You beat me there by seconds! Well done $\endgroup$ – LogicianWithAHat Aug 24 '15 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ Re. verse 3, my apologies. I read an article too hastily: seeing that the Lusitania was named after a region just north of Mauretania, I assumed this was still in Africa, not realising that Mauretania wasn't in the same place as the modern country Mauritania. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 24 '15 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yes rand al'thor, i recognized that all the ships are liners^^ $\endgroup$ – kl78 Aug 24 '15 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ The title was supposed to make people think of four-liner riddles rather than four ocean liners :-P Did it work? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 24 '15 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ To be honest, i came to the solution by verse 2. 1 and 4 was easy then, only 3 gave me some trouble so that i needed to do some research (because of the african province ;)). I did not recognize the trick with the title, only some minutes after posting the solution the wordplay liners came into my head. i edited the answer now,very nice riddle. $\endgroup$ – kl78 Aug 24 '15 at 14:51
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I'm pretty sure they're all:

Ships

1(very sure):

The Titanic. Very famous, sank in 1912 (approximately a century ago), and was borne by water, which, hardened, becomes the notorious iceberg

3(unsure):

I want to say the Lusitania, but I can't find a similarly named African province

4(not entirely sure):

The Queen Mary 2, possibly

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  • $\begingroup$ Hm, who was faster?^^ $\endgroup$ – kl78 Aug 24 '15 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @kl78 You, by about 20 seconds $\endgroup$ – LogicianWithAHat Aug 24 '15 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ k, thx, just luck that i was typing faster ;) $\endgroup$ – kl78 Aug 24 '15 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ Re. verse 3, my apologies. I read an article too hastily: seeing that the Lusitania was named after a region just north of Mauretania, I assumed this was still in Africa, not realising that Mauretania wasn't in the same place as the modern country Mauritania. I hope this didn't delay you too long! Both you and @kl78 get +1's, of course :-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 24 '15 at 14:49
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I don't have time to work on the whole thing right now, but here's a contribution:

Wyndham Halswelle was a famous athlete who died in 1915 (a century ago). The circumstances of his death were well documented and he is still remembered.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, better luck next time! $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Aug 24 '15 at 14:42

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