Building a Dam in Gatun – On Dams (part 1)

It took nearly four decades, the lives of some 30,000 human beings and billions of US Dollars in current values to build; it was a source for heated debates and the kiss of death to some careers; it was rooted in vision – but took ample amounts of practicality to realize. You might know it simply as The Panama Canal – in a stretch of land not wider than 70 kilometers wide, humanity saw the opportunity to connect two great oceans – the Atlantic and the Pacific – and managed to cut the route by sea from California to Europe – by half.

The keystone of the canal is a dam that was the biggest ever to be built at the time – the dam near the small town of Gatun.
You are invited to hear a tale about politics, engineering, money and tons of controversy, which, a century on is all but forgotten.

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We wish to thank the Panama Canal Authority, whose records on the history of the Panama Canal’s construction provided great help in the crafting of this episode.

Research for this episode was done by Nate Nelson.

Audio segments used:

Panama Canal archive movie:

https://archive.org/details/0384_Panama_Canal_15_10_55_19#

https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

https://freesound.org/people/thorvandahl/sounds/383314/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

Amazing Plan:

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100737

Amazing Plan Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

Amazing Plan –  Distressed:

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100738

Amazing Plan – Distressed Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

Anguish:

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=usuan1400047

Anguish Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

Scheming Weasel Faster:

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100085

Scheming Weasel (faster version) Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

Plucky Daisy:

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100110

Plucky Daisy Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

Local Forecast –  elevator:

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300012

Local Forecast – Elevator Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

The complex

https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300025

The Complex Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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