Panama Canal

The Panama Canal opened in 1914 connecting the world’s two largest oceans and signaling America’s emergence as a global superpower. It had taken the U.S. a decade of construction, more than $350 million (the largest single federal expenditure until then), and more than 5,000 died in the construction process. At the same time, Central America witnessed the overthrow of a sovereign government, the influx of more 55,000 workers from around the globe, the removal of hundreds of millions of tons of earth, and an increase in engineering innovation.

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Written by Michelle Ferrari
Directed by Stephen Ives
Produced by Amanda Pollack
Edited by George O'Donell
Produced by WGBH for The American Experience