The idea of creating a canal in Central America had been a dream for ambitious politicians for many years. After examining the feasibility of such a project, the French began to work on a manmade waterway under the direction of engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps in late 1879. However, yellow fever and financial troubles cut their efforts short. In the early 20th century, Teddy Roosevelt prioritized making the canal part of the American legacy. After overcoming their own hurdles, including helping Panama declare its independence from Colombia, U.S. construction began in 1903. During this time, Roosevelt became the first American president to travel overseas while in office. Fortunately for this round of workers, physician William Gorgas learned about mosquito transmission of yellow fever from Walter Reed and despite many skeptics, was able to contain it. The Panama Canal opened to the public on August 15, 1914, only a month after World War I broke out. Despite producing a praiseworthy outcome, one that cost millions of dollars and hundreds of lives, the world was occupied by the harsher realities of war. Few people will enjoy this engineering feat with their own eyes, so here’s a taste of it from Ilya Goncharov. This incredible time-lapse was created from more than 8,000 photos during a 12-hour journey.
Time Lapse Footage Reveals How Ships Squeeze Through The Panama Canal. April 1, 2023