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NASA view of the canal looking west
Essential Question: What methods did the U.S. use to establish and expand its empire?
Building the Panama Canal, 1903-1914
from the Office of the Historian, U. S. State Department
A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama
from Digital History
Theodore Roosevelt and the Panama Canal
from PBS American Experience
Panama Canal under construction, 1907
During the Spanish-American War, the battleship Oregon took 68 days to get from the Puget Sound to Cuba, but with a canal it could have been
shortened to 20 days.
As a result of the war, the US decided to build a canal through Panama.
After an unsuccessful attempt by the French in 1860, the US in 1902 gave President Roosevelt authority to move ahead.
In 1903 Secretary of State John Hay tried to sign a canal treaty but
Colombia changed its mind and refused to sign. With help from the French and the US, the Panama revolt occurred on November 3, 1903. On November 6, the US recognized
The greatest obstacle in building the canal was malaria and yellow fever
first 2 years of building involve clearing brush and draining swamps where mosquitoes bred
The canal took 10 years to build
Cost nearly $400 million dollars
Completed in 1914 just as WWI was beginning
The canal is considered one of the greatest engineering feats of all time
Make the Dirt Fly
, an online exhibit on the building of the canal from the Smithsonian Institution.
A short video about the
construction of the Panama Canal
The Building of the Panama Canal
from Seven Wonders of the World series from the BBC
First Transit on the Panama Canal
Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain
(December 10, 1898)
Panama Canal Proposal, 1881
, a letter by Ulysses S. Grant
Roosevelt's Message to Congress, December 17, 1906
from PBS American Experience
The Story of the Panama Cana
l, 1927, a film from the Roosevelt Film Library made available by the Library of Congress
100 Years of the Panama Canal in 10 Photos
The Question of an American Empire
from EDSITEment, National Endowment for the Humanities.
teaches students about U.S. intervention in Latin America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
for teaching materials to accompany PBS's American Experience special on the building of the Panama Canal.
The Canal and Malaria
Spraying kerosene oil to kill mosquitoes, 1912
Special Topic Page on Malaria
The Panama Canal and Malaria
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Yellow Fever and Malaria in the Canal
from American Experience
Mosquitoes, Malaria and the Panama Canal
by David McCullough from his book,
The Path Between the Seas
For more on the Spanish American War and American imperialism
United States History II.6
World History II.16
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