Not as easy to build as it looks!
The Panama Canal, one of history’s greatest engineering achievements, was the “moonshot” of its time. For more than 50 years, men, nations and technology were pitted against the climate, diseases and terrain of Panama in a struggle that was as dramatic and costly as any war. The ill-fated attempt by the French in the 1890’s, mired by bankruptcy and decimated by malaria and yellow fever, ended in the selling of their rights and property to the United States.
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America was disinterested until the Spanish-American War of 1898 threw the need for a canal into focus.
The Man Who Can Make Dirt Fly....
Nicaragua, however, had been America’s favored place for a canal, and there was absolutely no desire to follow in the footsteps of the ill-fated French. Extraordinary political maneuvers soon resulted in the birth of Panama as a separate nation as well as in a treaty most favorable to the United States. Thus, in 1904, the stage was set for the successful American construction of the canal at Panama.
Making the Dirt Fly...
It took the Americans ten years to span the Isthmus, and they did so in a dramatic engineering feat unequaled in its time. They had two great advantages over the French: first, medical science had gained the knowledge to combat yellow fever and malaria; and second, the steam shovel brought improved technology to the task. Furthermore, the Americans would soon abandon the impractical concept of a sea level canal in favor of a lake and lock design.
This important event in history is brought to life by hundreds of archival photographs found in Panama during the production of the film, dating from 1850 to 1914. Color maps, live footage and animation interspersed throughout the film bring exciting insight to the unique problems and solutions in the building of the canal at Panama.
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Purchase Panama Canal DVD $150 (Includes classroom screening and closed campus streaming Length: 28 minutes)