PBS American Experience - Panama Canal

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. Many of the construction workers and their families who had decided to leave their country for the Isthmus of Panama, went through a nightmare of mud slides and yellow fever.

The Culebra mountain range defeated three heroic engineers that went into the jungle for success - 18 years after construction had begun under French command, a fourth (once more American) roughneck finally drilled his way through the narrowest part of the continent.

The cut measured approximately 100 meters when the canal opened in 1914, and in the 1960s it was broadened to about 165 meters in order to allow for uninterrupted 2-way traffic along the waterway.


Live at the Panama Canal

More than 13.000 boats pass the Panama Canal every year. Chances are you will see one passing before one's eyes online.

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