The Panama Canal - Before and After:
The first map shows a proposed route for the canal, created during a 1875 U.S. Surveying Expedition. The second shows the route of the canal and the surrounding Canal Zone circa 1920.
After years of difficult work and a loss of many lives to tropical diseases, the Panama Canal officially opened 100 years ago on August 15, 1914. Considered one of the great engineering feats of modern times, the Canal greatly reduced transit time from east coast ports to west coast ports of the United States and for European shippers as well.
Completed 10 years after the United States controversially took control of the project and possession of the surrounding Canal Zone in 1904, the Canal was eventually relinquished to Panama in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter.