Problems Building the Panama Canal

Topics: Malaria, Yellow fever, Panama Canal Pages: 3 (849 words) Published: February 9, 2011
During the building of the Panama Canal many problems arose making it hard to construct, even on second try. Such problems involved were engineering, sanitation, and organization. Many lives were lost due to some of the hazards that were present at the time, but the canal was eventually finished in 1914.

The concept of a canal near Panama dates back to the early sixteenth century. The reason for construction of the Panama Canal was to trade, it joins the Atlantic and pacific oceans, which makes a huge impact on shipping and trading between them. The French were the first to attempt building the canal beginning in 1880 but they failed, losing 21,900 workers mostly to disease. Later in 1904 the United States tried again succeeding, although having to work through many set backs they completed and opened the canal in 1914.

One of the problems that were faced in building the canal was engineering. A problem within that was that the Atlantic and pacific oceans were at different elevations, because of that a set of locks were needed. A lock is a section of a waterway, usually a canal that is closed off with gates, in which vessels that go through it are raised or lowered by raising or lowering the water level of that section. A plan was devised of a set of three locks, which were massive. Digging through the continental divide was not an easy task either, moving the earth was aided by filling railroad cars and taking the dirt away. The largest earth dam ever built was part of this canal building too. The builders faced fourteen crosses of the Chagros River, which during storms the muddy channel swelled to an intense flood, which drowned excavation sites and machinery....
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