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August 27, 2015

The Panama Canal Construction Process through Amazing Vintage Photos

The Panama Canal, a 77.1-kilometre (48 mi) ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean, was began to construct in 1881 by France, but had to stop because of engineering problems and high mortality due to disease. The United States took over the project in 1904, and took a decade to complete the canal, which was officially opened on August 15, 1914.

It's one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan. The shorter, faster, and safer route to the U.S. West Coast and to nations in and around the Pacific Ocean allowed those places to become more integrated with the world economy.

The United States took over the original canal-construction project from the French, 1904

Theodore Roosevelt visiting the Panama Canal construction site, 1904

The railroad in use in the Culebra Cut, December 1904

Steam shovels load rocks blasted away onto twin tracks that remove the earth from the Panama Canal bed, 1908

President Theodore Roosevelt on a steam-powered digging machine during construction of the Panama Canal, 1908

A work crew standing on the tracks by a locomotive while a steam shovel loads a dirt car in the background, 1909

Loading holes with dynamite, June 6, 1909

North approach, Pedro Miguel Lock, Panama Canal, ca. 1910

Panama Canal construction, ca. 1910

View of the Locks under construction, 1912

Panama Canal excavation, 1913

The fifty-mile Panama Canal under construction, 1913

Workers standing near a landslide that destroyed digging machinery, during the construction of the Panama Canal at Culebra Cut in Panama, May 29, 1913

Panama Canal, Gatun Lake spillway, 1914

The Panama Canal opened on Aug. 15, 1914. The first ship through was the U.S. steamer the SS Ancon


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