I caught some of Jan's confidence in the man. 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. The Panama Canal : Documentary on the Construction of the Panama Canal (Full Documentary) By Tom on May 16, 2018 in News from Panama. I hadn't yet seen no part of the operation until after I reached employment then I begun to realize what a stupendous affair this would be. Now a $5 billion expansion project is set to double its capacity, giving a new lease of life to this vital transport artery. And though he'd never wanted them, more than 70 percent were West Indians. By his estimate, the canal project would generate some 20,000 jobs in 1906 alone. The Panama Canal Treaty also authorized the immediate abolishment of the Canal Zone, a 10-mile-wide, 40-mile-long U.S.-controlled area that bisected the Republic of Panama. He understood that the railroad was going to be the heart of the effort. This remarkable documentary tells its entire history. "There is no element of mystery involved in it," Stevens reported to Washington, "the problem is one of magnitude, not miracles.". This film chronicles the remarkable story of what was the largest and most ambitious engineering project in history, in one of the most hostile environments on earth. He said he didn't like Panama. Walter LeFeber, Historian: He saw the canal essentially as the way to protect American interests, particularly American commerce. What the Americans were doing with the canal, said one awed visitor, was "the greatest liberty ever taken with nature." https://www.history.com/topics/landmarks/panama-canal-video And Roosevelt decides that he'll go down to Panama and see what's going on firsthand. Robert A. Wilson, Special Thanks Thelen, Reid, Brown, Raysman, Millstein, and Steiner, Production Accounting Documentary diplomatic history of the Panama Canal by Diógenes A. Arosemena G., 1961 edition, in English No one knows." The United States government was creating an efficient factory workforce for this incredible earth-shifting project on the isthmus of Panama. There was no labor guidelines. This was our life.". Still, Goethals refused to negotiate. Channel 5 websites use cookies. He considered that to be the best. "Tell the boys at home to stay there, even if they get no more than a dollar a day.". A couple a hundred men, a couple a hundred men. With the opening of the American canal, the power in the world had shifted irrevocably and the American century effectively could begin. She spent most of the voyage laid low by seasickness. Theodore Roosevelt Association Films Colleciton/Library of Congress, Legal Services 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. The locks themselves are of uniform length, width, and depth and were built in pairs to permit the simultaneous transit of vessels in either direction. Julie Greene, Historian: Panama was a small province of Colombia. He wanted time -- at least a year, he said -- to experiment with equipment. He says, "Get behind Gorgas and give him the authority and the resources he needs." Julia DeWahl Matthew Parker, Author: The gentlemen of the commission simply didn't believe the mosquito theory. 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. In Panama they call it silver. "Make the dirt fly" was a disastrous approach to the huge engineering challenge that Wallace was facing. The house is an old one at Las Cascadas, the village where I am now working. Narrator: The problems only multiplied. Matthew Parker, Author: It was an impossible situation for him to deal with as Chief Engineer. 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. Gorgas even got a law passed to make it a $5 fine to have a wiggler in your home. Carol R. Byerly, Historian: Lambert appeals to Roosevelt's ego and he says, "This canal is your project and it's your choice." In September, the first trial lockage was made from the Atlantic harbor at Colón all the way up to the lake. History of the Panama Canal . Now, on the threshold of the new century, the brash young country -- barely 100 years in existence -- was poised to become one of the world's great powers. To know History is to know life. Panama Canal Expansion . Canal History . My friend Gilberto Young sent me a copy of this documentary and while it is long, it is very thorough in the story of the Canal. "The house was clean and comfortable," Rose remembered, "just about the type of home a man in the States would try to provide for his family.". Samantha M. Knowles Jan van Hardeveld (Josh Hamilton): I couldn't help thinking of those who worked beside me who lost their lives. The French had relied on West Indians for manual labor. 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. Narrator: As the Barbadians soon learned, everything in the canal zone came down to how you were paid. It's an amazing, beautiful, dramatic experience. To me, they sounded like the howling of demons. Merrell Hambleton, Additional Research 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. Narrator: By the time Sister finally recovered, Rose had been driven to the verge of collapse. The new Panamanian government authorized French businessman Philippe Bunau-Varilla, to negotiate a treaty with the United States. National Archives and Records Administration É o maior e mais importante ponto de penhores de Las Vegas, que já está há três gerações na família Harrison. But he went to Washington, and he talked face to face with Roosevelt and convinced him, convinced the President that a sea level canal would be total madness. 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. Streamline Films, Inc. So now they have to bring in more men and more men and more men. There were constant explosions. Carol R. Byerly, Historian: The project looks doomed. Narrator: Of all the challenges confronting John Stevens, none was so urgent as the need for workers. Skilled workers -- invariably white -- received their wages in gold; unskilled workers -- who were largely black -- in silver. Com estreias de grandes super-produções e conteúdos originais criados especialmente para si. Bill McLaughlin/CZ Images Forty five years after the U.S. first considered building it, the Panama Canal opened to the public. ", 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. The length of the Panama Canal from shoreline to shoreline is about 40 miles (65 km). Watch full episodes of your favorite HISTORY series, and dive into thousands of historical articles and videos. Here's a quick demonstration. Narrator: As Roosevelt well knew, Panamanian elites had been plotting revolution for years. Ginny van Hardevelt Porrata National Library of Medicine "It's a business trip. They're gonna hold tens of millions of gallons of water. Feel free to watch the whole documentary. Jan put in more hours on the job than he ever had in Wyoming, leaving Rose to cope with the miseries of jungle living all on her own. Balboa’s discovery sparked a search for a natural waterway linking the two oceans. History. Buddy Squires, Voice-over Artists At Gatún, the site where the Chagres would be dammed to form the lake, a foundation of solid rock had to be laid before building could even begin. During the decade-long American effort to build the Panama Canal, the project had three different Chief Engineers. Stevens was totally horrified by this. Take a boat through the Panama canal with this time-lapse video of the locks in action. A month later, the count was down to just seven. Matthew Parker, Author: They were already the best paid people on the isthmus. 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. Directed by Keith Melton. And on one of his postings he caught yellow fever. To speed the relocation along, he seized on an ingenious innovation -- a swinging boom mounted on a flatcar that could lift and move yards of existing track without first having to take it apart. 's trip to Panama tells you a lot about his mastery of new media. And after they get down to a certain depth they fill it with dynamite. It was malaria and dysentery, and a dreary time we had of it. From the multitude came a spontaneous long, loud roar of such joy and relief that I felt sure I would remember the sound all my life. Alger House The construction of the Canal was the epitome of man’s mastery over nature and signaled the beginning of America’s domination of world affairs. Free shipping for many products! The Spanish people realized that a canal would be a great navigation solution which would simplify the movement of goods and people across the isthmus in Central America. In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first European to discover that the Isthmus of Panama was just a slim land bridge separating the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Marco A. Mason, Panamanian Council of New York: It worked exactly like it worked in the United States. Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates. It will unite the two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, and alter the course of the ships that sail upon them. Boy that wasn't an easy day, I tell you, Sunday morning. Jackson Lears, Historian: It was a symbol to Americans. The small waves lapped eagerly at the edge, as though the lake was also waiting to let go some of its overload of water. Jackson Lears, Historian: At this particular moment, there's a lot of positive thinking going on in the United States. Accuracy: History Channel's "Modern Marvels: Panama Canal" provides a nice summary of the history of the Panama Canal, from the dreams of early Spanish explorers, through the work of the … US History: Panama Canal Documentary Video. Matthew Parker, Author: Stevens noticed straightaway that part of the problem was what he called "the idiotic howl" to make dirt fly. He ended up tracking down individual mosquitoes, which is unbelievable in this, this jungle where it essentially never stops raining. What the President needed now was a new story for the nation's front pages. 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. Well, I decided that turning back looked almost as hard as going on, so here I am. In them are the blood and sinew of a great and hopeful nation, the fulfillment of ancient ideals and the promise of larger growth to come.". He was endlessly appearing in the magazines, with his beautiful wife and his lovely children. University of Florida Smathers Libraries Then her youngest, whom the family called "Sister," came down with a fever. Getty Images I couldn't conceive. Narrator: For centuries, yellow fever had been thought to be caused by filth, and efforts to combat the disease had revolved entirely around sanitation. Then it became known that the couple had quietly imported two metal coffins. History of the Panama Canal. I had no recognition of what was going to happen. Library of Congress This is a place where the teacher can post information, ideas, or questions for the class. Narrator: It's been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World -- a manmade waterway, 50 miles long -- that forever altered the face of the earth. Aired: 09/11/17 Expired: 10/01/18 Narrator: Jan van Hardeveld arrived in Panama just as Chief Engineer Wallace was leaving, and for the first few weeks, it was hard not to wonder if he'd made a mistake. But Roosevelt had backed it, and Stevens was confident it could be done. Narrator: Morale in the canal zone was at an all-time low when, at the end of July, 1905, Wallace's replacement as Chief Engineer finally turned up. Narrator: By the time the Bucyrus shovels finally went back to work in July manned by new operators, Goethals had made his point. Narrator: In all, some 5 million bags and barrels of concrete went into the building of the locks, dams and spillways. In May, steam shovels number 222 and 230 dumped their last loads and met in the center of Culebra Cut. Remember, the questions stop at around 55 min, even though the video continues to 1:22:00. Coming from the capital, the closest entry point is the Miraflores Visitor Center. The filmmakers backtrack to America's turn-of-the-century takeover of the Panama Canal--and volatile aftermath--before flashing forward to the reform-minded Carter era. In the deep darkness I seemed to have walked miles, and I never dreamed there could be such unearthly noises. And it worked and it saved thousands of lives, really was a huge part of what made the digging of the canal possible. But most of all, I was remembering how my answer to my own doubts, every time, was my faith in my country. Various surveys were made between 1850 and 1875 showed that only two routes were practical, the one across Panama and another across Nicaragua. Over the course of one year, yellow fever cases there had fallen by more than 95 percent. 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. 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. Kill the mosquitoes, Gorgas argued, and yellow fever would disappear. It rains so much that honest to goodness my hat is getting moldy on my head… I haven't had on a dry pair of shoes in weeks. William P. McLaughlin - Panama Canal Historian It is safe for viewing by all ages. To Jan van Hardeveld, the canal zone now seemed infused with a sense of purpose. We saw Jan and the engineer in charge of the Cut shake hands. By Stevens' estimate, the two rigs would do the labor of 900 men working by hand. Despite the pandemic, Panamanian banana exports grew in 2020, Polaris Infrastructure Extends Memorandum of Understanding for 10 MW Run-of-River Hydro Project in Panama, Panama- OPINION – The Blameless Gentlemen, Suez Canal emerges as Panama alternative for US LNG. Very soon it became known as Hell's Gorge. There was a low rumble, a dull muffled B-O-O-M! Frederick E. Allen, Editor, American Heritage: The idea that Gorgas was able to conquer this problem is still kind of unbelievable to me. Instead, he sent the strikers packing. This was the crucial thing for him. 10. 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. 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. Ten cents an hour was much more than they would make in the Caribbean. Narrator: In November 1904, under pressure from Washington, Wallace ordered excavation to begin at Culebra. Roger Smith Hotel Online Panama Canal History Museum. In December, there were six more. But as their destination neared, she felt a sudden rush of enthusiasm: "This will be our chance," she told her children, "to be among those who make history!". Narrator: "I believe," Stevens later wrote, "[that] I faced about as discouraging a proposition as was ever presented to a construction engineer.". Three days later, the United States formally recognized the new Republic of Panama. The History of the Panama Canal. The year was 1880, and Ferdinand de Lesseps, the legendary builder of the Suez Canal, was looking for a second act. No aspect of the construction compelled such fascination as the gargantuan locks -- the so-called "mighty portals to the Panama Gateway.". Nobody wants to come to the isthmus to work. Narrator: The canal's official opening was scheduled for August 15th, 1914. Narrator: Recruitment proved especially successful on the tiny island of Barbados, where jobs were scarce, pay was low and young men were an easy target for American advertising. 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