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Intro In the 16th century Europeans dreamed of building a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama Spanish kings considered building a canal to carry treasure from their South American colonies back to Spain but no attempt was made Such a project only became possible in the 19th century with the machinery and knowledge produced during the Industrial Revolution the transition from an agricultural to a mechanized economy In the late 1870s a private French company won a concession from Colombia to build a sea-level canal in Panama and soon raised enough money to begin construction Excavation in Panama began in 1882 but the company quickly ran into problems caused work and went into bankruptcy Reorganized a few years later as the New Panama Canal Company it barely managed to keep the concession and prevent the equipment from deteriorating At this point the Panama Canal seems to be giving the illusion of failure but as you will see with the miraculous chain of events this ditch in the middle of Central America will be transformed into the great engineering wonder we know it to be today Video Clip Body As you saw traveling through the canal can be quiet the experience The canal consists of dredged approaches and three sets of sets of locks at each end At Gatun on the Atlantic side the locks form continuous steps on the Pacific a small lake separates the middle and upper locks To travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific a ship enters Limon Bay from the north and anchors behind a breakwater to await scheduling of its passage When ready the canal authorities send out a canal pilot to take the vessel through the locks The canal employs about 240 highly trained and experienced pilots to handle the complex job of steering ships through the waterway
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