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On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world's two largest oceans and signaling America's emergence as a global superpower. This AMERICAN EXPERIENCE film using an extraordinary archive of photographs and footage, interviews with canal workers and firsthand accounts of life in the Canal Zone, unravels the remarkable story of one of the world's most significant technological achievements.Panama Canal was the costliest undertaking in human history. It literally required moving mountains, in one of the most challenging environments on earth, breaking the back of the great range that connects North and South America. This 2-hour program tells the epic story of one of the great engineering triumphs of all time, and one of the most expensive, in both money and lives. It weaves together the stories of the powerful men whose decisions shaped the enterprise, including larger-than-life characters such as Ferdinand de Lesseps and Theodore Roosevelt, with the stories of the ordinary laborers from Jamaica and Barbados whose labor and sacrifice actually dug the canal. Along the way it tells a story of innovation that literally changed the course of history.
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