The Panama Canal is a major shipping canal which cuts through the
isthmus of Panama in Central America, connecting the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans. The construction of the canal was one of the largest
and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken; it has had an
enormous impact on shipping, because it removes the need for ships to
travel the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape
Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. Although the concept of
a canal in Panama dates back to the early 1500s, the first attempt to
construct a canal began in 1880, under French leadership. This attempt
collapsed, and the work was finally completed by the United States;
the canal opened in 1914. The building of the 77 kilometre (48 mi)
canal was plagued by problems, including disease (particularly malaria
and yellow fever) and massive landslides. As many as 27,500 workers
are estimated to have died during construction of the canal. Since
opening, the canal has been highly successful and continues to be a
key factor in world shipping.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Johann Gutenberg in Mainz began printing the Gutenberg Bible.
Rudolf Diesel received a patent for the diesel engine.
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba was perpetually leased to the United States.
Joe Rosenthal took the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph Raising the
Flag on Iwo Jima, an image that was later reproduced as the U.S.
Marine Corps War Memorial.
The International Organization for Standardization was founded. It is
responsible for worldwide industrial and commercial ISO standards.
Wikiquote of the day:
"Man is always something more than what he knows of himself. He is
not what he is simply once and for all, but is a process..." -- Karl