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The Panama Canal is one of the greatest works of engineering and modern achievements of mankind An all-water passage through the continental divide of the Panama region had been suggested since early Spanish colonial times of the 16th century The reality of a canal through the Isthmus of Panama came to be when the French began work in 1881 After 20 years of laboring on the construction of the canal the French had exhausted their resources and capital As the US expanded across the North American continent and continued to become a world power a more practical way was needed to travel from Pacific to Atlantic The United States purchased the rights and assets from France in 1902 and took over the task of building the canal President Roosevelt saw the opportunity of having an inter-oceanic canal that would provide easy access to the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans for the US merchant and naval ships The US labored for ten years and in 1914 the canal was finished The accomplishment of constructing the Panama Canal was a major factor in the US becoming a dominant force throughout the seas Millions of dollars and thousands of lives later one of the greatest endeavors of mankind was completeIn 1880 the French set out on their quest to construct a canal through the Isthmus of Panama The company estimated that they could complete a sea-level canal in eight years In 1881 Yellow Fever struck at an alarming rate along with Malaria At that time the people did not realize the connection between the diseases and the mosquitoes that carried them The hospitals were breeding grounds for these deadly mosquitoes People with medical conditions other than malaria or yellow fever would go to the hospital and then contract the disease When people noticed this happening they started avoiding hospitals By 1884 the work force of the French was at its maximum of 19000 workers In 1885 yellow fever
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