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Panama Canal is a century old

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Rodrigo Cokting
Staff writer

Friday, August 15, 2014, 7:48 PM - It's been a century since the Panama Canada was officially inaugurated and many Panamanians gathered to celebrate the moment at a huge party.

The celebrations began at dawn with a ceremonial activation of the Canal's sirens in honour of the more than 30,000 workers that made the engineering marvel a reality. Even during the event, boats continued to constantly move through the Canal.

The first craft to cross the Canal today was the U.S. carrier Galini at about 1 a.m., followed closely by the Portuguese cruise ship Athena Victoria.

Hundreds of students paid homage by performing national folkloric dances and songs, before marching down the streets.


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A giant cake was also baked for the occasion. The 100-kg pastry was in the shape of the Canal with a boat moving through it and was distributed to the more than 3000 attendees that were at the ceremony.

The construction of the Panama Canal began in 1882. The poor working conditions and the dangerous operations led to the death of more than 22,000 between 1881 and 1889. By 1890, the project was only two-fifths done and had cost more than $235 million. While initially the project was being spearheaded by a mostly French company, control eventually passed to American hands when President Theodore Roosevelt sent a team of engineers to Panama to determine its benefits. A competing Canal in Nicaragua threatened the project but finally on August 15, 1914 the Panama Canal was open for business. The first ship to cross the Canal was the American ship SS Ancon.

t finally on August 15, 1914 the Panama Canal was open for business. The first ship to cross the Canal was the American ship SS Ancon

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