Hotel Sol Melia He'd overseen the construction of thousands of buildings, hired thousands of men, spent thousands upon thousands on new equipment and supplies. The building of the Panama Canal would be no exception. Two weeks passed, then four. Matthew Parker, Author: Everything had been scrubbed and white washed, and made ready for his visit. Take a boat through the Panama canal with this time-lapse video of the locks in action. And Roosevelt buys it. Mountains were moved. He'd fought wolves and Indians. And his express mission was that everything was subservient to getting the canal made. Then her youngest, whom the family called "Sister," came down with a fever. And then the more extensive effort is to find mosquito larvae in all of the water sources in town and kill the larvae. Matthew Parker, Author: In order to get to this lake, the ship would be raised by a series of locks. And he recovered and thereafter he was immune. Frederick E. Allen, Editor, American Heritage: The idea that Gorgas was able to conquer this problem is still kind of unbelievable to me. Matthew Parker, Author: The whole operation was powered by electricity. With the building of the Panama Canal, the realization of a dream became an expression of the power, the strength, the might of a growing nation. All four walls had bunk beds, three layers of bunk beds. Julie Greene, Historian: Newspaper reporters are doing stories on exactly what his stateroom looks like on the ship, where he's going to stop along the way. And this electricity was generated nearby by water from the spillway, by hydroelectric, and this powered all of the systems that made the locks work. Nearly all of the victims were West Indians. In the Canal zone, skilled positions were reserved for white workers while a predominantly West Indian workforce did the backbreaking manual labor, cutting brush, digging ditches and loading and unloading equipment and supplies. Matthew Parker, Author: Roosevelt wanted American power to be projected outside of the North American continent really for the first time. Tim Werenko, Stills Animation by He decided he was going to gradually recruit strikebreakers. And on one of his postings he caught yellow fever. With the national treasury footing the bill for the project, the Commission was determined that not a single penny be misspent. 's trip to Panama tells you a lot about his mastery of new media. Narrator: Hiring new crews would take time. And there was a feeling that something that had made the United States different, that had made it better than the other great powers, had been lost. What man can endure with pick and shovel to dig the canal. And that's what he got in Goethals. That is why, since you have made no objection, I have made my decision to stay, and I am happy to be able to tell you that the quartermaster has at last assigned me to married quarters. It recounts the long history … His name was John Stevens -- and his reputation preceded him. There was no labor guidelines. Narrator: It had taken 10 years of ceaseless, grinding toil, an outlay of more than $350 million -- the largest single federal expenditure in history to that time -- and the loss of more than 5,000 lives. Panama Canal Museum He had snuck away from his boat and was poking around in the hospitals, and in the barrack rooms. Matthew Parker, Author: He was called "Le Grand Francais." Carol R. Byerly, Historian: Gorgas put a proposal together to implement a plan similar to that which he had done in Havana. 10. Just weeks into the digging at Culebra, three men on the isthmus contracted yellow fever. Frederick E. Allen, Editor, American Heritage: Wallace had worn out and quit. Aided by the well-timed appearance of an American gunboat in the harbor at Colón, their revolution was over by sundown -- its sole casualties a foreign-born shopkeeper and a luckless donkey. There were choirs lined up, there were balls and parties but even before the welcoming party started up their, their songs, he was already on the isthmus. "It's a business trip. Narrator: On May 4th, 1904, the American effort in Panama officially got underway. "In America," he liked to say, "anything is possible." Matthew Parker, Author: They were already the best paid people on the isthmus. You nose forward into this space and then 26 million gallons of water pour by gravity through underground culverts into that lock and raise you up 30 feet or so. In 1914, the Panama Canal connected the world’s two largest oceans. With Goethals in charge, the Culebra Cut would become a round-the-clock operation, with as many as 6,000 men at work at any given time. He had essentially been driven insane by the whole experience in Panama. First, to control the Chagres, a massive dam would be built at Gatún -- creating an artificial lake, some 85 feet above sea level, roughly in the middle of the canal's planned route. Rose van Hardeveld (Carolyn McCormick): Her round face was pale, and the cold sweat stood out in beads all over her body. Well, I decided that turning back looked almost as hard as going on, so here I am. And when you begin to look at the world in those terms, then what you begin to think about was, how do you get from New York to the markets of Asia? All the time I was becoming lower and lower in spirits and less able to cope…. Jackson Lears, Historian: At this particular moment, there's a lot of positive thinking going on in the United States. Jay Fialkov In the local stores, she remembered, "not one edible thing looked familiar," and she wound up feeding her children a steady diet of fruit, beans and soggy crackers. There were headlines saying, "Might makes right." Matthew Parker, Author: It all occurred at such a pivotal moment in our history. And though he'd never wanted them, more than 70 percent were West Indians. The idea for a canal through narrow Central … But today, it is too small. The project comes to a standstill and Theodore Roosevelt goes nuts. Matthew Parker, Author: Everywhere he went he would make impromptu speeches, urging the workforce to be men, and to fight for this fantastic achievement that would cover the United States with glory. June 2014 But there were not enough trains to haul the spoil away, and what trains there were kept running off the tracks. Matthew Parker, Author: Stevens, when he'd done all his railway building in the United States, had mainly used Chinese labor. Matthew Parker, Author: When the news of the Panama revolution came through, it was immediately apparent that it carried out with the connivance and with the support of the United States. And then, there was Cut itself. Directed by Keith Melton. James Kendrick And all the other guys in the plantation take a look and say, 'boy I better go down to Panama and get mine too.'. Narrator: The problems only multiplied. Marco A. Mason, Panamanian Council of New York: They created what was called the Panama Man, which was to get someone that went to Panama and bring him back and he will be the advertiser. "I am thoroughly sick of this country and everything to do with the canal," one American wrote his mother. A month later, the steam shovel men -- the backbone of the entire excavation effort -- went out on strike, demanding a wage increase of more than 40 percent. Julie Greene, Historian: Panama was a small province of Colombia. And perhaps worst of all you've got the Chagres River, which is one of the most volatile rivers in the world. The construction of the Panama Canal, from the first failed attempt by the French through the successful completion by the United States under the stewardship of President Teddy Roosevelt, was one of the most amazing engineering feats of the last several hundred years. The Panama Canal : Documentary on the Construction of the Panama Canal (Full Documentary) By Tom on May 16, 2018 in News from Panama. Over the course of one year, yellow fever cases there had fallen by more than 95 percent. "We drew together in a sort of a compact clique," Rose recalled. Samantha Chan And really it was about just doing everything much bigger. Corbis The ship climbing a mountain. Joy Conley Julie Greene, Historian: The horror that maybe death is stalking us the same way it stalked the French. It was a daily situation that today, this morning, you have breakfast, and somebody at that table having breakfast may not be there for that evening so it is that type of situation. This site also provides you with a lot of learning material about ancient history. From Washington, Theodore Roosevelt was watching. Aired: 09/11/17 Expired: 10/01/18 To dig the canal there, the Americans would have to bore down as much as 300 feet through rock, gravel, clay and earth along a corridor some nine miles in length. DIGGERS: A Roman J. I couldn't conceive. Narrator: The Presidential vessel dropped anchor at Limon Bay on November 14th, 1906, an entire day ahead of schedule. Walter LaFeber, Historian: He's got a very big PR problem. Narrator: By the time the Bucyrus shovels finally went back to work in July manned by new operators, Goethals had made his point. Give them pride of what they were doing for the United States. He had enough experience to realize that on a project of this enormous, unprecedented scale he would have to spend a very great amount of time just getting the whole thing ready. Panama Canal is one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever accomplished, and the channel … A very Long video, but an excellent presentation, showing the history of the PANAMA CANAL … Carolyn McCormick, Prouction Assistant -- Panama More than once, she recalled, their commitment to the project had wavered. We will make Panama into a new independent country. They spent the next eight and a half years locked in a losing battle against the jungle. His project was a lot bigger, though, because in Havana he just had to clean up one city, but in Panama he had to clean up two urban areas separated by 500 square miles of swamp and jungle. Narrator: In early July 1905, an American steamship made its way toward the isthmus of Panama -- the narrow ribbon of land between North and South America, and the two largest oceans in the world. This is a place where the teacher can post information, ideas, or questions for the class. The Panama Canal is an artificial 77 km (48 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. Life for workers in the Canal Zone was filled with hardships: constant rain, backbreaking work, racial tension, and the constant fear of yellow fever or malaria. You know, there are these glowing journalistic accounts of it -- the workers are happy, everyone is well fed, contented. They will sign us off this track of land, and then we will have a canal and they will have a nation. Office of Medical History, U.S. Army Medical Department Library of Congress Mr. Roosevelt flashed us one of his well-known toothy smiles and waved his hat at the children as though he wanted to come up the hill and say 'Hello!' In 1534 a Spanish bureaucrat suggested a canal route close to that of the now present canal & shortly abandoned its interest in the canal. As time passed, there were other improvements as well: ice boxes and electricity and YMCA clubhouses -- built by the government and outfitted with card rooms, pool tables and libraries. Helen R. DuBois, Post Production Read President Theodore Roosevelt's message to Congress after returning from the Canal Zone in Panama. And Goethals basically pulled the plug on it. Matthew Parker, Author: The idea of building a Panama Canal seized the imagination of the American public. The failure of the French effort was very much the sort of the dying gasp of the Victorian age that had been dominated by Europe. Matthew Parker, Author: He had this amazing energy. The key to the successful excavation of the canal was about moving the spoil that was dug away from the site, otherwise everything would stop. Maybe this ditch will get dug after all, I thought. ... Big fellow man him dig big fellow hole in country him name Panama. If you back Gorgas, you will get your canal.". ", Narrator: It was late winter, 1906, when Rose packed up her belongings, said her goodbyes to Wyoming, and set off with her children for Panama. Wallace had only 3,500 men at his disposal: some 1,500 of them new recruits from the U.S., the rest West Indians left over from the French effort. He'd been in Panama talking to the workforces, that they were all martial soldiers, they must stick to their tasks. Jackson Lears, Historian: T.R. Narrator: For nearly 400 years, people had dreamed of building a canal that would slice through the slender isthmus of Panama and make the world's great oceans meet. So he had an option. An expedition to South America kept him from attending the canal's official opening, and he never again visited the isthmus. Ovidio Diaz Espino, Writer: After 500 years of people dreaming, now it was done. The very worst was the wailing for the dead that came from the labor camp below us. By summer's end, there was only one remaining dry span in the channel -- the nine-mile stretch of Culebra Cut, and that was to be flooded on Monday, October 10th. By June 1905, nearly three-quarters of the American labor force had fled the isthmus. Using an extraordinary archive of photographs and footage, rare interviews with canal workers, and firsthand accounts of life in the Canal zone, Panama Canal unravels the remarkable story of one of the world's most daring and significant technological achievements. Of all the Americans who had been employed on the isthmus, Jan was one of the very few who had been there since the beginning, and, as Rose remembered, the award he'd earned for long service, the Roosevelt medal, was always in his pocket. Corbis National Archives and Records Administration Now in order to fit the worlds' growing fleet of super ships, the Panama Canal … "I believe it was the consciousness of what would happen to the children," she wrote, "that kept me from going to pieces." Paul Taylor, Additional Cinematography Narrator: In the West Indies, Stevens had found exactly what he needed -- a seemingly inexhaustible supply of men willing to endure harsh treatment and heavy physical labor in exchange for as little as 10 cents an hour. He'd put more than 2,000 miles between himself and his family -- left his wife Rose alone with the children -- and all for a project that was floundering. There were constant explosions. Ten cents an hour was much more than they would make in the Caribbean. Jackson Lears, Historian: It was a symbol to Americans. Ginny van Hardevelt Porrata Narrator: For nearly a hundred years, the Panama Canal has stood for the triumph of technology over nature. The locks were the mechanical marvel of the canal. This item: Modern Marvels: Panama Canal (The History Channel) by Panama Canal DVD $24.95 Only 1 left in stock - order soon. All rights reserved. Shop with confidence on eBay! American Experience: Panama Canal DVD,On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world's two largest oceans and signaling America's emergence as a global superpower. But the U.S. paid a price for victory: a decade of ceaseless, grinding toil, an outlay of more than 350 million dollars — the largest single federal expenditure in history to that time — and the loss of more than 5,000 lives. Maria Beatriz Barletta There was a huge amount of corruption. This is the first time in American history where we start to think globally. At Gamboa, the clock struck two. Marco A. Mason, Panamanian Council of New York: What it was, was to set up a series of steps, hydraulically elevate the ship where the boats will go up a step, come across. Walter LeFeber, Historian: He saw the canal essentially as the way to protect American interests, particularly American commerce. He got his look early on the second day. They had to screen gutters. The British were arrogant, the Germans were arrogant. There were dances on Saturday nights and baseball games on Sunday, more than three dozen churches, and scores of clubs and fraternal organizations -- the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and the Odd Fellows, Sojourner's Lodge and the Knights of Pythias. Narrator: By the time Goethals took over, the Americans had been in Panama for three years, and the bulk of the work still lay ahead. This meant that when the empty spoil trains came into the Cut they would be climbing up to the shovels and when they were full, they would have the benefit of the gradient to take away their enormous loads. Documentary diplomatic history of the Panama Canal by Diógenes A. Arosemena G., 1961 edition, in English He is at war against the mosquitoes. He never wanted the job in the first place. This item: Modern Marvels: Panama Canal (The History Channel) by Panama Canal DVD $24.95 Only 1 left in stock - order soon. Los Cuatro Tulipanes American ingenuity and innovation had succeeded where the French had failed disastrously, but the U.S. paid a price for … Julie Greene, Historian: The canal project increasingly became looked upon by Americans as kind of a utopian representation of the United States. Don't go down to that project because you may not come back. And he was endlessly touring the country where he'd pull in huge crowds to come and see this, the hero of Suez. So of course Wallace had to start digging the minute he got there. The history of the construction of the Panama Canal is the saga of human ingenuity and courage: years of sacrifice, crushing defeat, and final victory. But after a few months on the isthmus, at the height of the rainy season, Stevens began to realize that the Chagres was an obstacle every bit as daunting. John T. Sughrue When he got to Panama, he saw that the workforce was mainly West Indian, and he didn't like or trust the West Indians at all. Overwhelmed and suffering from nervous strain, Wallace soon resigned his post. I thought of the many times when I nearly gave in to doubts that the Canal could ever be completed, that it was ever meant to be. Pay car and all was in the explosion. Narrator: By 1911, the Americans were finally making real progress on the canal -- and headlines all over the world. Stevens and the rest of American engineers would need to find a new way to do it. Panama Canal - Panama Canal - Locks: The canal locks operate by gravity flow of water from Gatún, Alajuela, and Miraflores lakes, which are fed by the Chagres and other rivers. 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