The Panama Canal El Canal de Panamá

Destin Smith-Norris

Wonder of the Modern World
• The Panama Canal is named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as "one of civil engineering's greatest triumphs" • It is a man made canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans • The canal saves a ship traveling from New York to San Fransisco over 8,000 miles of dangerous navigation around Cape Horn • Treacherous land conditions made overland trade route impossible

Failed Beginnings
• The French under Ferdinand de Lesseps began an all water canal in 1880 • The French did not do an adequate study of the land before starting and the project was doomed from the start • An estimated 22,000 workers died in the 8 year attempt • Most deaths were a result of Malaria and Yellow fever, for which the cause was unknown at the time.

The American Attempt
• After an extensive study, the US Congress created Isthmian Canal Commission recommended a route for the US to build a canal. • The United States and Panama signed the Hay-BunauVarilla treaty • The US was to guarantee the independence of Panama and secure a lease on a 10-mile strip of land. The payment was an initial $10 million and payments of $250,000 annually.

The American Attempt
• After an extensive study, the US Congress created Isthmian Canal Commission recommended a route for the US to build a canal. • The United States and Panama signed the Hay-BunauVarilla treaty, after the US helped the Panamanians gain independence from Columbia

Construction
• The construction began with the French in 1881 and stopped in 1889. Americans took over in 1904 and completed the Canal in 1914. • The ultimate success of the project was greatly in part to the eradication of the disease carrying mosquitoes • The biggest challenges came from the elevation variations and controlling the water

The Completed Canal
• 51 miles from coast to coast, ships must be lifted 85 feet and then dropped back down to sea-level • The Canal generates all the energy it needs and more • The canal can pass ships up to 65,000 tons • New ships are up to 300,000 tons

Economics
• The Panama Canal cost a total of $375,000,000, which was amazingly $23,000,000 below the estimate. • It is vital for the economy of Panama, who regained control of the canal in 1999 • The average toll is $54,000. The lowest paid toll was 36 cents to Richard Halliburton for swimming the canal in 1928

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful