Panama Canal Research Paper

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The Panama Canal The Panama Canal is a man-made, 48 mile waterway that allows ships to cross between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and has helped over 14,000 ships save time and money crossing between the two largest oceans on Earth. Currently, the Panama Canal belongs to the Republic of Panama, but the history is incredibly complicated and resulted in over 22,000 deaths. The canal is known as “one of the seven wonders of the modern world,” according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, and it surely lives up to that title. The canal is very beneficial and proved, once again, that humans can conquer the mysteries of the planet if they have enough funding and labor. The earliest known…show more content…
They first broke ground in 1880. The rainforest posed a large problem for future construction. It was filled with venomous snakes, poisonous insects, and disease carrying mosquitoes that would prove to be an enormous problem throughout the overall construction timeline. The incredibly unpredictable rainforest also provided many issues for transport and travel on the Isthmus of Panama due to rugged terrain and, of course, rain. The French were unprepared for the rainy season, and the Chagres River immediately flooded the start of the canal. Conditions were being downplayed in Panama to avoid losing funding, but there was only so much the engineers could hide. These disasters led De Lesseps to ask for more money to complete the project. The French are beginning to question De Lesseps’ capabilities. By the year 1889, there is no more money, and the French company declares bankruptcy. After earthquakes, landslides, and a toll of 22,000 deaths, the French cease work on the canal. De Lesseps is convicted for misappropriation of funds, and he is sentenced to five years in…show more content…
Such problems involved were disease, engineering, and natural disasters. The most eminent obstacle both the French and the United States had to face was disease. During the construction of the Panama Canal and the Panama Railway an estimated 34 thousand deaths were recorded, and most of them were from diseases including Malaria and Yellow Fever. In fact, construction on the Panama Railway was delayed because of the lack of healthy workers. A second problem with the Panama Canal is engineering. At first, during the U.S. construction, the engineering crew wanted to build a sea-level canal. There was much controversy over the canal system, but they soon realized, after much debate, that a lock canal would prevent further problems of flooding. The third issue with the construction of the canal was the natural disasters that occurred. During the French work on the canal, there was an earthquake in September of 1882 that caused landslides and very costly damages on the Isthmus of Panama. Other than earthquakes, flooding was a large issue. After experiencing the rain season in Panama, and inducing many floods that slowed progress, engineers had to find another way to prevent further damage. This is what eventually led to the lock system idea. Although the Panama Canal was a great success, it came with large issues that affected many
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