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History of the Panama Canal and its long-range consequences of American acquisition and ownership of the canal on Panama - Research Paper Example

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History of the Panama Canal and the Long-Range Consequences of American Acquisition and Ownership of the Canal on Panama Title of the course March 27, 2011 1. Introduction The construction of Panama Canal proved to be one of the costliest undertakings of the early twentieth century…
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History of the Panama Canal and its long-range consequences of American acquisition and ownership of the canal on Panama
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History of the Panama Canal and its long-range consequences of American acquisition and ownership of the canal on Panama

Download file to see previous pages... This paper purports to analyze the history of the Panama Canal and implications of its construction and ownership by the USA. The author believes that the construction of the Panama Canal was driven mainly by the greater geopolitical considerations of the Roosevelt Administration. The further analysis will aim at expounding and broadening exactly this point. 2. General Body a. Early History Even though the existence of narrow isthmus between the Atlantic and the Pacific had been known since 1513, when the expedition of Vasco Nunez de Balboa saw the Pacific for the first time1, no serious attempts to dig a permanent waterway through the isthmus were made by the Spanish authorities. Nevertheless, the use of the Panama Isthmus for the transportation of the loads of gold by land from the Spanish colonies of South America to the Atlantic coast foreshadowed the future role of the place as an important transportation hub2. i) The Scottish Attempt The unlikely competitors to the Spanish predominance in the region were actually the first to conceive the possibility of using the Isthmus of Panama for the purposes of interoceanic trade. The desperation of the Scottish traders at their country’s inability to compete efficiently with the greater maritime powers led them to contemplate the prospects of establishing trade colony near the Isthmus in order to engage in lucrative transit trade with the countries of Far East, shipping their goods from one ocean to another3. Unfortunately, this so-called ‘Darien scheme’, which consisted of brief attempt at establishing a settlement a two additional failed expeditions in 1698-1699 was doomed to failure from the very outset: not only were the merchants that provided initial capital for this venture unable to sustain long-term expenses4, but also the harsh natural conditions of the place led to the virtual epidemic among the settlers, and in the end this colonial adventure turned out to be a manifest failure. For the next century, there were no comparable ambitious projects for exploiting the narrow Isthmus of Panama in interoceanic trade. The first scientifically grounded proposal for the construction of the Canal that was to unite two oceans was expounded by famous scientist and traveler Alexander Humboldt5. From his travels in Central America, he came to believe that it was possible to start the construction of permanent waterway in nine locations, including Panama, though he evidently thought that the territory of Nicaragua was more suitable for such an endeavor6. Humboldt’s judgment on the feasibility of interoceanic canal project marked the beginning of ‘Panama fever’ that was to reach its peak in the second half of the nineteenth century. ii) The Panama Railway The first involvement of the USA in the affairs of Panama and its attempts to secure the territory there for its commercial purposes dates back to this period as well. While it was Thomas Jefferson who first among American statesmen envisaged the possibility of inter-Isthmus canal as early as 17887, the USA was for the first time involved in the canal project in 1826, when the government of Grand Colombia asked both the USA and Great Britain to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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