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Panama Canal

            History of the Panama Canal dates back to the sixteenth century. It was first suggested to Charles V of Spain to cut Panama in half and make a safer, shorter trip for people delivering gold and other treasures from Peru and Ecuador to Spain. The first plan ever developed was in 1529 but due to wars in Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea, plans were put permanently on hold. The nineteenth century brought about an ideal for a canal again. A man by the name of Alexander von Humboldt, a German scientist, wrote books that interested the Spanish to build the Panama Canal. The California Gold Rush helped to stimulate the project. Surveys were taken from 1850-1875 to find the most suitable place to build a canal; the two possible routes were either across Panama or Nicaragua. An International Company was organized and began digging the project in 1876. The International Company failed. Then again in 1880 the French decided to try and finish the project. Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, also responsible for constructing the Suez Canal in Egypt, organized a team together to construct the massive canal. Ferdinand was not an engineer, but he felt he was capable of making this dream a reality. First he organized an International Congress and worked closely with them to construct the waterway around the world. Ferdinand was the first man to actually make progress with the project. Work value completed by the French was twenty-five million dollars. And just like the previous attempts the French failed. Ferdinand gave up the project for various reasons. First, landslides became a major problem. The French did not have heavy enough equipment to move the landslides. Boulders became another problem. Boulders made most of the work ended up being handwork. Men wanted to return home to their families with the savings they had collected. Mosquitoes were another reason for the abandonment they were carrying diseases, making people sick.

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