Panama Cannal The Panama Canal; A Shorter Trade Route. Jo Bob Running head :The Panama Canal; A Shorter Trade Route Abstract For centurys man has used water as way to get from one place to another very quickly. The Panama Canal is no exception. From around the start of the 16th century people have been trying to find a way to cut a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. Many misfortunes and deaths have been sacrificed to obtain this goal.
Finally in 1914 the American had completed one of the greatest feats of all time the Panama Canal, cutting a many months journey to nine hours. The Panama Canal; The Shorter Trade Route. Europeans had wanted of Central American canal as early as the 16thy century; President Ulysses S. Grant sent seven expeditions to study the feasibility of digging the cannel. As travel and trade in the Western Hemisphere increased the need for a canal grew increasingly more important. To sail from the Atlantic to the pacific, ships navigated around the Cape Horn.
This was a long and very dangerous trip especially around the tip of South America. A New York to San Francisco journey measured more than 13000 miles and took months to complete. The canals construction was badly needed. History Of Canals A canal is an artificial waterway built for navigation, crop irrigation, water supply and drainage. Canals are usually connected with natural bodies of water or other canal.
Canals have been used for thousands of years. They started out in early civilization in the middle east as a way to bring water to the city and to water their crops. In the 3rd century the Chinese began building canals, the longest of these early canals was more than 1000 miles long. Making it the longest artificial waterway in the world. (Britannica(no date)) Romans built huge canals mainly for military transport.
By the twelfth century 85% of all Medieval European travel was by waterway.( Britannica(no date)) The greatest invention in canal construction came along 1373. The Dutch developed the pound lock system. The Lock system uses a series of chambers that can be flooded or drained so the ship can change elevation. This allowed canals to be built where elevation made it impossible. This brings us to the modern era of canal building and one of the greatest engineering feats of all time the Panama Canal. The French A French Developer Ferdinand de Lesseps believed that the Panama Canal could make lots of money for investors.
The French cut a broad path through the jungle and on January 20, 1882 they commenced digging. They brought with them tons of modern equipment. They had steam shovels and locomotive and dredges. Their work crews were mostly black and Indian labors. In the first months, the digging proceeded slowly but steadily.
Then the rain began and the French faced many dangers. The crew faced miles upon mile of impassable jungle, and very heavy rain. In the jungle they also faced insects, snakes, swamps, small pox, malaria, yellow fever, and flooding of the charges river. The Charges sakes across the canal route a total of fourteen times. The French dammed the river so they could drudge the canal but every time it would rain the river would swell and break the dams.
It would sweep away workers, destroy equipment, and fill in the canal with sediment. If that wasn’t enough the stagnate water that was formed, breaded large amount of deadly insects. Three out of four men hospitalized at the very modern Ancon hospital died. Finally in 1888 the project was abandoned and lots of French investors lost money. About $287,000,000 had been spent eleven miles of the canal had been dug and 20,000 men lost their lives.(Britannica(no date)) The canal remained unfinished but the dream had not yet died.
Theodore Roosevelt would soon take up the cause. The Americans The strategic necessity and the desire of business men to have access to the Pacific market combined in the late 1890s to convince the president and Congress that a canal linking the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean was vital to Americans. The British government gave up its right to joint construction with The United States in 1901. The French company, which had tried unsuccessfully to dig the canal across the Isthmus of Panama, was eager to sell their rights.
In 1902 Roosevelt struck a deal with the French to buy the rights and equipment for the canal for $40 million dollars.(panama canal (1999)) The only stumble block to construction was the Colombia. To counteract the Colombians President Roosevelt secretly supported a Panamanian revolution in 1903. The battle of Panama lasted only a few hours. Colombian soldiers in Colon were bribed $50 each to lay down their weapons. The U.S.S Nashville was sent down to lend support.
A treaty was quickly signed between the United States and the new republic of Panama, Giving the U.S. complete right to the canal zone and control of the inlets an outlets. Roosevelt ordered army engineers to start digging thousand of workers sweated in the extremely hot Panama sun. They tore down jungles and cut down mountains.
Insects Thrived in muddy, stagnant pools. “Mosquitoes get so thick you get a mouthful with every breath,”(TR’s Legacy ) A worker complained. These mosquitoes also carried yellow fever, and many fell victim to the disease. They also had to face landslides, dynamite accidents, and accident with the giant steam shovels.
In 1904 the first year for the American in panama suffered the same fate as the French. John Findlay Wallace was terrible unorganized. The food was awful, the living conditions were horrible, and disease struck. Three out of four workers packed it up and went home and so did Wallace. John Stevens took over the project.
His previous project was the Great Northern Railroad across the Pacific Northwest. Stevens believed the only way the project could be completed is that he needed a well housed, fed, and disease free work force. Stevens didn’t begin digging he first began cleaning. Stevens and his crew began draining swamps, sweeping drainage ditches, paved roads and installed …