top of page

1904 - Construction of Panama Canal

History0x_1904_Panama Canal_min.JPG

Title: 1904 - Construction of Panama Canal


About: A massive engineering work is undertaken to create a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.


It had long been a dream to shorten the shipping route from the Pacific to the Atlantic. By the late nineteenth century, technological advances and commercial pressure allowed construction of an ambitious project carved into the narrow strip of land between the oceans in Central America to begin in earnest.


An initial attempt by France to build a sea-level canal failed after a great deal of excavation, but President Roosevelt saw an opportunity to relieve France of its debt and assume responsibility of the the canal. The independence of Panama in 1903 allowed the USA to officially control the land of the canal for the sum of $10 million, plus an annual annuity of $250,000. 

A stratified workforce was responsible for the construction, with high-level skilled jobs going to white Americans, and low-level manual labor jobs given to cheap immigrant workers. The latest machinery was deployed, including 102 railroad-mounted steam shovels, enormous steam-powered cranes, giant hydraulic rock crushers, cement mixers, dredges, and pneumatic power drills. 


The epic construction work dragged on until 1913, when the first ships passed from one ocean to the other via Central America, cutting off 7,800 miles from the important shipping route from New York to San Francisco. The Panama Canal was an extremely important asset to the United States, both strategically and economically. 

Decade: 1900s

Year: 1904

Region: Latin America

Country: Panama + USA

Discovery: Invention

Society: Economic

Politics: Imperialism

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 3

Artist: Anton Sidorenko


Group: Genesis

Number: 04/100

Price: 0.3 ETH


bottom of page