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The Panama Canal was wanted because it would help increase international trade. America could also move their military ships around quicker. In addition to these reasons, America wanted to have a bigger presence in Central American.
Before America started working on the canal, the French tried it. They had a deal with the Colombian government allowing a French company led by Ferdinand de Lesseps to build a canal through Panama. Due to bankruptcy, the attempt failed.
In 1902 Congress passed an act approving the construction of the canal. At this time, American learned that rebels in Panama wanted freedom from Colombia. When Colombia disapproved of the act passed by Congress, the US decided to back the rebels. Eventually, Panama gained their independence and agreed to let the US build the canal.
It took 10 years for the canal to be built, finishing in 1914. During this time, workers faced unstable ground, heavy rainfall, and flooding rivers. They also had to deal with diseases like yellow fever and malaria. Construction accidents also occurred.
America accomplished its goal to increase its presence in Central America. They also had full control of the Panama Canal Zone, which they later gave up to Panama in 1977. Today the canal continues to be incredibly important in the global market.
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