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The Panama Canal


Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt was born October 27, 1858 in New York. ... Part of Roosevelt's dream of making America a world global power was realized ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Panama Canal

The Panama Canal
  • By Tamara De Hart

Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps
  • Born on November 19, 1805 in Versailles, France,
    to a family distinguished in the French
    diplomatic service.
  • The mastermind behind construction of the Suez
    Canal and a hero presented with many decorations.
    Later his success was not carried on when he took
    up command at Panama.
  • On the first day of the new year of 1880, de
    Lesseps young daughter Fernanda dug the first
    shovel of sand into a champagne box, and the
    construction of the Panama Canal had symbolically
  • Ferdinand de Lesseps died in France in 1894.

French Canal Builders
  • The French began construction in 1881, but nine
    years and 20,000 lives later they realized their
    plans were flawed, ran out of money, and
    abandoned the project.
  • They faced a wilderness that was as dangerous as
    it was beautiful. There was saw grass that could
    shred skin like a razor, smothering heat day
    after endless day, and mud and swamp. Days and
    nights were made a living hell by ticks,
    chiggers, spiders, ants, mosquitoes, and flies.
    The men worked in constant fear of poisonous
    snakes. The comforts of home were precious few.
  • French equipment was often too light or
    ill-suited for the rugged inland terrain.
  • Men died for many different reasons but most of
    all they died from malaria and yellow fever.

Waging War On Mosquitoes
  • The picture on the right shows a 1905 fumigation
    car eradicatingthe mosquitoes, the Stegomyia
    fasciata, responsible for Yellow Fever and
  • The tropical diseases that killed thousands of
    workers during the French years threatened to
    derail the American effort before it even got
  • To wipe out the probability of a Yellow Fever
    epidemic, thousands of sanitary workers went
    through the Canal Zone and using techniques that
    were developed in Havana by William Gorgas who
    had battled yellow fever after the
    Spanish-American War. Workers fumigated
    buildings, removed standing water, installed door
    and window screens, and cut grass.

Theodore Roosevelt
  • Theodore Roosevelt was born October 27, 1858 in
    New York.
  • With the assassination of President McKinley, he
    became the youngest President in the Nation's
  • Part of Roosevelt's dream of making America a
    world global power was realized through the
    Panama Canal.
  • In 1904, the U.S. embarked on the largest civil
    engineering project in history. Roosevelt set the
    work in motion by urging the engineers to start

The United States
Because of the nineteenth-century developments in
machinery, the construction of the Panama Canal
was now possible. Americans arrived in 1904,
abandoned railroad and excavating equipment
littered the jungles.
  • Engineers easily adapted to the equipment that
    had been originally developed for the railroad
  • Workers used air-driven rock drills to bore holes
    for dynamite charges. After the blasts,
    rail-mounted steam shovels scooped up the spoil
    and dumped it onto nearby railroad cars.

The Panama Canal Opened In 1914
  • Repeated earth slides, usually after heavy rains,
    plagued the work, burying equipment and
    destroying months of progress.
  • However, by August 15, 1914 the Panama Canal was
    officially opened. At that time, no other
    exertion in American history had been so dear a
    price in dollars or in human life. It is
    estimated that over 80,000 persons took part in
    the construction and that over 30,000 lives were
    lost in both French and American efforts.
  • The American expenditures from 1904 to 1914
    totaled 352,000,000. The French and American
    costs combined totaled 639,000,000.

The Engineering Marvel Of The Age
  • The Panama Canal is approximately 80 kilometers
    long between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and
    was cut through the isthmus that joins North and
    South America.
  • The Canal uses a system of compartments with
    entrance and exit gates called locks that
    function as water lifts. They raise ships from
    sea level to the level of Gatun Lake ships then
    sail the channel through the Continental Divide.

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