Panama Canal

About the Show

A documentary recalling the history of the Panama Canal which, at the time of its construction, was the costliest undertaking in human history. Creating a shipping channel to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meant breaking the back of the great mountain range that connects North and South America. The French began the canal in 1880 but were ultimately defeated by the enormity of the task and the virulence of the endemic tropical diseases. They left behind not only a partially completed canal, but also an immense financial debacle. The successful completion by the Americans in 1914, just months before the start of World War I, marked the end of the Victorian age and the beginning of 'the American Century'.