passage between the Atrato and the Pacific, a passage large enough only for small boats, but one that followed a near-perfect path for a canal of larger size. Read The Path Between the Seas PDF - The Creation of the Panama Canal, by David McCullough Simon & Schuster | The National. The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough - The National Book Award– winning epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal, a first-rate drama of.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Indonesian|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration Required]|
The National Book Award–winning epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal, a first-rate drama of the bold and brilliant engineering feat that was filled. This books (The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, [PDF]) Made by David McCullough About Books. online pdf The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, free ebooks gestheatagkiantes.ml
The earliest authoritative study of the problem, or rather the first to be taken as authoritative, appeared in and designated Nicaragua as the route posing the fewest difficulties. The author of this rather tentative benediction was Alexander von Humboldt, the adventurous German-born naturalist and explorer, and Nicaragua thereafter had been "Humboldt's route.
He had built his theories wholly from hearsay, from old books and manuscripts, and the few pitiful maps then available, all of which he plainly acknowledged.
The precise location of the City of Panama was not even known, he warned. Nor had anyone determined the elevation of the mountains at Panama, or at any other point along the spine of Central America. Panama he judged to be the worst possible choice, primarily because of the mountains, which he took to be three times as high as they actually are. Tehuantepec appeared to be too broad, as well as mountainous, and he feared the "sinuosity" of the rivers.
About the best that could be done at either Panama or Tehuantepec would be to build some good roads for camels. Humboldt was still comparatively unknown when he wrote his Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, the book containing his long canal essay; his renown was limited still to scientific circles.
No Peruvian current or glacier or river had been named for him; Humboldt, Kansas, and Humboldt, Iowa, were still unbroken prairie grass. His views, nonetheless, were to have more influence on the canal issue than everything that had been written previously taken together, for by mid-century he was to tower above all others as the beloved high priest of modern science, a university unto himself, as Goethe would say. Humboldt's Political Essay was the result of a five-year journey through Spanish America, the likes of which would never be equaled.
He had been up the Orinoco and the Magdalena; he had been over the Andes on foot. In Ecuador he had climbed Chimborazo, then believed to be the highest mountain on earth, and though he failed to reach the top, he had gone to nineteen thousand feet, which was higher -- considerably higher -- than any human being had ever been before, even in a balloon.
If he had not been in Nicaragua or Panama or Tehuantepec or anywhere along the drenched, green valley of the Atrato River, the location of his two other possible pathways to the Pacific, he had been almost everywhere else and no one was assumed to have more firsthand knowledge of the American jungle. The rather vital fact that his canal theories were almost wholly conjecture was generally ignored. Moreover, those who used his name to substantiate their own pet notions, those who would quote and misquote him endlessly, would find it convenient to forget that it was he who insisted that no canal should be considered until the comparative advantages and disadvantages of all possible routes were examined firsthand by experienced people and according to uniform standards.
The Nicaragua canal he visualized was much along the lines of Thomas Telford's Caledonian Canal in Scotland, then the most ambitious thing of its kind.
Lake Nicaragua, besides being navigable, would, like Telford's Scottish lakes, provide a natural and limitless source of water for the canal -- a vast "basin" -- at the very summit of the canal. Should Nicaragua be found unsatisfactory, then perhaps one of the two routes on the Atrato would serve best.
The Napipi-Cupica route, as he named it and as it is still known, would follow the Napipi River, a tributary of the sprawling Atrato, to its headwaters, then continue down to the Pacific at Cupica Bay. The other Atrato scheme, the so-called "Lost Canal of the Raspadura," appealed mainly to his imagination. Years before, he had heard, a Spanish monk "of great activity" had induced some Indians to build a secret passage between the Atrato and the Pacific, a passage large enough only for small boats, but one that followed a near-perfect path for a canal of larger size, somewhere off the Raspadura River, another distant tributary.
All one had to do was find it. How much of all this he may have discussed with Thomas Jefferson in the spring of , at the end of the Spanish-American odyssey, is not known. But probably his stay at the White House marks the start of Presidential interest in the canal. It is known that Jefferson had shown prior curiosity on the subject while he was minister to France.
Furthermore, the visit coincided with the departure of Lewis and Clark from St. Louis to seek, on Jefferson's orders, a northwest water passage to the Pacific. And Humboldt, a lean, deeply tanned, explosively energetic young man, had so enthralled Jefferson with accounts of his travels that Jefferson kept him on as a guest for two weeks.
So it is difficult to imagine them not discussing a Central American corridor as they strolled the White House grounds or sat conversing, hours on end, at the big table in Jefferson's first-floor office, maps and charts all over one wall and Jefferson's pet mockingbird swinging in a cage overhead. Humboldt's Spanish-American travels had been the result of an unprecedented grant from the Spanish Crown to investigate wherever he wished in the cause of scientific progress.
Until then explorations of any kind by foreigners within Spain's New World realm had been strenuously discouraged. But once Spanish rule began to dissolve in the 's the way was open to almost anyone. And almost anyone was what turned up. Engineers, naval officers, French, English, Dutch, Americans, promoters, journalists, many of whom expressed grand visions of a canal, in the event political permission could be obtained, in the event the necessary capital could be assembled.
A few of these were able people, but very few had any technical competence. Many of them were also perfectly genuine in their aspirations and sincerely believed in their rainbow-hued promises, however inept or naive they may have been.
Others, quite a good many others, were petty adventurers or outright crackpots. The canals they had in mind, regardless of specified location, were invariably feasible technically, within range financially, and destined to be bonanzas for all investors and for whichever impoverished little Central American republic was to be involved. Even the Pope was approached. Special agreements and franchises were signed and sealed with appropriate formality.
The future was rich with possibilities. With the opening of Telford's canal and the Erie Canal, both in the 's, reasonable men also felt justified in projecting comparable works across the map of Central America. The Erie Canal, though built for shallow-draft canal barges, was nonetheless the longest canal in the world, and its locks overcame an elevation en route of nearly seven hundred feet. So on paper a canal at Panama or Nicaragua or any other place in favor at the moment did not seem unrealistic.
Telford in his last years was considering "a grand scheme" for Darien. A skeptical or cautionary voice was the rare exception. The view of someone such as Colonel Charles Biddle, sent by President Andrew Jackson to appraise Panama and Nicaragua, stands in solitary contrast to almost everything else being written or said.
Having made his way up the Chagres River by canoe, then overland to Panama City, a trek of four days, Biddle concluded that any talk of a Panama canal was utter foolishness and that this ought to be clear to all men, "whether of common or uncommon sense.
Far more representative were the views of John Lloyd Stephens, which appeared about the time John O'Sullivan, editor of the Democratic Review, was writing that "our manifest destiny is to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.
He was looking for the "lost" cities of the Maya, which he found, and the book describing those discoveries, Incidents of Travel in Central America, went through edition after edition. It was a classic, thrilling piece of work and can be seen now as the beginning of American archaeology. But Stephens had no more business issuing pronouncements on the feasibility of a Nicaragua canal from the little he had seen than had the engineer Horatio Allen from the comforts of his Manhattan office.
A Nicaragua canal posed no major problems, Stephens declared. Here was an enchanting land of blue lakes and trade winds, towering volcanic mountains, rolling green savannas and grazing cattle. Nicaragua could become one of the finest resorts on earth were a canal to be built.
Like Humboldt he had scaled a volcano -- Masaya -- then, to the horror of his guide, descended bravely into its silent crater. The truth is that all the canal projects proposed, every cost estimated, irrespective of the individual or individuals responsible, were hopelessly unrealistic if not preposterous. Every supposed canal survey made by mid-century was patently flawed by bad assumptions or absurdly inadequate data.
Assertions that the task would be simple were written by fools or by men who either had no appropriate competence or who, if they did, had never laid eyes on a rain forest. The one important step taken prior to the California gold rush was of another kind, but very little was made of it. New Granada guaranteed to the United States the exclusive right of transit across the Isthmus of Panama, "upon any modes of communication that now exist, or that may be, hereafter, constructed.
It was this agreement by which the Panama Railroad was to be made possible. In Washington the news was greeted with only moderate interest since Bidlack had acted without instruction and since there was much old, deep-seated distrust of "entangling" alliances. The Bidlack Treaty, as it was commonly called, was Bidlack's only diplomatic triumph. For three centuries the gold in the stream beds of the Sierra Nevada had gone undetected and for all the commotion over Central American canals in the first half of the new world-shaking nineteenth century, Central America remained a backwater.
No canals, no railroads were built. There was not a single wagon road anywhere across the entire Isthmus. But in January of a carpenter from New Jersey saw something shining at the bottom of a millrace at Coloma, California, and within a year Central America re-emerged from the shadows.
Again, as in Spanish times, gold was the catalyst. There were three routes to the new El Dorado -- "the Plains across, the Horn around, or the Isthmus over" -- and for those thousands who chose "the Isthmus over," it was to be one of life's unforgettable experiences. The onslaught began first at Panama, early on the morning of January 7, , when the little steamer Falcon anchored off the marshy lowlands at the mouth of the Chagres River and some two hundred North Americans -- mostly unshaven young men in red flannel shirts loaded down with rifles, pistols, bowie knives, bedrolls, pots and pans, picks, shovels -- came swarming ashore in one great noisy wave.
To the scattering of native Panamanians who stood gaping, it must have seemed as if the buccaneer Morgan had returned after two hundred years to storm the Spanish bastion of San Lorenzo, the frowning brown walls of which still commanded the entire scene.
The invaders shouted and gestured, trying to make themselves understood. Nobody seemed to have the least idea which way the Pacific lay and all were in an enormous hurry to get started.
Amazingly, all of this first group survived the crossing. They came dragging into Panama City, rain-soaked, caked with mud, hollow-eyed from lack of sleep, and ravenously hungry.
They had gone up the Chagres by native canoe, then overland on mule and on foot, as Charles Biddle had and as thousands more like them would, year after year, until the Panama Railroad was in service. Old letters and little leather-bound journals mention the broiling heat and sudden blinding rains. They speak of heavy green slime on the Chagres, of nights spent in vermin-infested native huts, epidemics of dysentery, mules struggling up to their haunches in the impossible blue-black Panama muck.
A man from Troy, New York, counted forty dead mules along the Cruces Trail, the twisting jungle path, barely three feet wide, over which they all came from the river to Panama City. Others wrote of human companions dropping in their tracks with cholera or the dreaded Chagres fever. I have nothing to say for the other routes but do not take this one. From New York to San Francisco by way of Panama was five thousand miles, or a saving of eight thousand miles.
From New Orleans to San Francisco by Panama, instead of around the Horn, the saving was more than nine thousand miles. Besides, how one responded to Panama depended often on the season of the year and one's own particular make-up. Many were thrilled by the lush, primeval spectacle of the jungle -- "overwhelmed with the thought that all these wonders have been from the beginning," as one man wrote. For wives and parents left behind they described as best they could those moments when magnificent multicolored birds burst into the sky; the swarms of blue butterflies -- "like blossoms blown away"; the brilliant green mountains, mountains to put Vermont to shame said a young man from Bennington who was having a splendid time traveling up the Chagres.
For a generation of Americans there was something especially appealing about the picture of this line across Panama, of a steam locomotive highballing through the jungle, pulling a train of bright passenger cars, a steam whistle scattering monkeys to the treetops -- "ocean to ocean" in something over three hours. It was also the world's first transcontinental railroad-one track, five-foot or broad gauge, exactly forty-seven and one-half miles long -- and the most expensive line on earth on a dollar-per-mile basis, expensive to build and expensive to travel.
To its owners the railroad was the tiny but critical land link in the first all-steam overseas system to span the new continental United States. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company, with offices in New York, had been established just before the news of California gold reached the East, or when such an idea had looked dangerously, if not insanely, speculative.
The ships operated to and from Panama on both oceans, providing regular passenger service and mail delivery to California. A generous subsidy from the federal government to carry the mail had made it considerably less speculative.
William Henry Aspinwall, a wealthy New York merchant, was the founder and guiding spirit of the steamship line, and in the railroad venture he was joined by a banker named Henry Chauncey and by John Lloyd Stephens, who, in the time since his Nicaragua travels, had concluded that Panama was where the future lay.
Stephens was the first president of the Panama Railroad Company and its driving force until his death at age forty-six. He was the one member of the threesome to stay with the actual construction effort in the jungle, and the result was an attack of fever, a recurrence of which was fatal in the fall of Having, as it did, a monopoly on the Panama transit, the railroad was a bonanza.
Dividends were 15 percent on the average and went as high as 44 percent. So dazzling a demonstration of the cash value of an ocean connection at Panama, even one so paltry as a little one-track railroad, was bound to draw attention.
Matthew Fontaine Maury, the pioneer oceanographer, had told a Senate committee as early as that a Panama railroad would lead directly to a Panama canal "by showing to the world how immense this business is," but nobody had been prepared for success on such a scale.
The volume of human traffic alone -- upward of , people between and -- gave Panama a kind of most-beaten-path status unmatched by any of the other canal routes talked of. Surveys for the railroad had also produced two pertinent pieces of information. The engineers had discovered a gap in the mountains twelve miles from Panama City, at a point called Culebra, where the elevation above sea level was only feet. This was feet less than what had been considered the lowest gap. Then, toward the close of their work, they had determined once and for all that there was no difference between the levels of the two oceans.
The level of the Pacific was not twenty feet higher than that of the Atlantic, as had been the accepted view for centuries. Sea level was sea level, the same on both sides. The difference was in the size of their tides. The tides on the Pacific are tremendous, eighteen to twenty feet, while on the Caribbean there is little or no tide, barely more than a foot. When Balboa stood at last on the Pacific shore, he had seen no rush of lordly breakers, but an ugly brown mud flat reaching away for a mile and more, because he had arrived when the tide was out.
Yet, ironically, it was the experience of the railroad builders that argued most forcibly for some different path, almost any other location, for the canal. If humane considerations were to be entered in the balance, then Panama was the worst possible place to send men to build anything. Panama had been known as a pesthole since the earliest Spanish settlement. But the horror stories to come out of Panama as the railroad was being pushed ahead mile by mile quite surpassed anything.
The cost paid in human life for the minuscule bit of track was of the kind people associated with dark, barbaric times, before the age of steam and iron and the upward march of Progress. In some versions it was a dead Irishman; in others, a dead Chinese. The story was nonsense-there were some seventy-four thousand ties along the Panama line -- but that had not kept it from spreading, and from what many thousands of people had seen with their own eyes, it seemed believable enough.
The company kept no systematic records, no body count, except for its white workers, who represented only a fraction of the total force employed over the five years of construction. In , for example, of some 1, men on the payroll, 1, were black. However, the company's repeated assertion that in fact fewer than a thousand had died was patently absurd.
A more reasonable estimate is six thousand, but it could very well have been twice that. No one will ever know, and the statistic is not so important as the ways in which they died -- of cholera, dysentery, fever, smallpox, all the scourges against which there was no known protection or any known cure. Laborers had been brought in by the boatload from every part of the world. White men, mostly Irish "navvies" who had built canals and railroads across England, "withered as cut plants in the sun.
Simply disposing of dead bodies had been a problem the first year, before the line reached beyond the swamps and a regular cemetery could be established on high ground. And so many of those who died were without identity, other than a first name, without known address or next of kin, that a rather ghoulish but thriving trade developed in the shipping of cadavers, pickled in large barrels, to medical schools and hospitals all over the world.
A reporter who visited this hospital in , the year the railroad was finished, wrote of seeing "the melancholy rows" of sick and dying men, then of being escorted by the head physician to an adjoining piazza, "where, in conscious pride, he displayed to me his collection of well-picked skeletons and bones, bleaching and drying in the hot sun.
Of the American technicians then employed -- some fifty engineers, surveyors, draftsmen -- all but two died. When a large military detachment, several hundred men of the American Fourth Infantry and their dependents, made the crossing in July en route to garrison duty in California, the tragic consequence was dead -- men, women, and children. Grant, whose memory of the experience was to be no less vivid years later when he sat in the White House. Nicaragua was different. The United States and Great Britain had come close to war over Nicaragua, in fact, at the beginning of the gold rush, so seriously was Nicaragua's importance as a canal site regarded on both sides of the Atlantic.
A crisis was averted by a treaty specifically binding the United States and Great Britain to joint control of any canal at Nicaragua, or, by implication, any canal anywhere in Central America.
This was the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of -- after John Clayton, the American Secretary of State, and Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, the special British envoy involved -- and it seemed a very good thing in Washington, in that it blocked a foothold for the British Empire in Central America and precluded any chance of a wholly British-owned and -operated canal in the Western Hemisphere.
So important a document signed by the two powers had also put the Nicaragua canal in a class by itself. Nicaragua and Tehuantepec both competed with Panama for the California trade, and though the Tehuantepec transit never really amounted to much, the one at Nicaragua did and far more so than is generally appreciated.
In , for example, traffic in both directions across Panama was in the neighborhood of twenty-seven thousand people; that same year probably twenty thousand others took the Nicaragua route, going from ocean to ocean on an improvised hop-skip-and-jump system of shallow-draft steamers on the San Juan, large lake steamers, and sky-blue stagecoaches between the lake and the Pacific. The actual overland crossing at Panama was shorter and laster, but Nicaragua, being closer to the United States, was the shorter, laster route over all -- five hundred miles shorter and two days faster.
A through ticket by way of Nicaragua also cost less and, perhaps as important as everything else, Nicaragua was not known as a deathtrap. These atolls are the surface manifestation of a large isolated carbonate platform that formed on a Paleocene magmatic ridge Continuous calcareous sediments accumulated on this ridge resulting in a near complete Cenozoic sedimentary succession without any significant terrigenous influence The succession comprises two principal depositional phases: a pre-monsoonal high deposition rate platform from the Oligocene until 13 Ma, followed by a monsoonal, drift dominated, depositional phase from 13 Ma to present 27 , Malta The Maltese archipelago is the exposed part of a carbonate platform that developed from the Paleocene until the Messinian salinity crisis The Oligocene-Miocene succession in the archipelago comprises a mostly recrystallised neritic platform Lower Coralline Limestone Fm.
This calcareous dominated periplatform sequence was occasionally punctuated by phosphatic events 30 , which were deposited until the Langhian-Serravallian boundary An increase in detrital input followed the Langhian-Serravallian transition, expressed in a lithological transition from limestone to marls Blue Clay Fm. Following this unconformity, there was a second phase of neritic carbonate deposition Upper Coralline Limestone Fm.
Methods Sampling IODP Expedition conducted scientific coring at the periphery of a drowned carbonate platform in the Maldives inner sea in 27 , Two Sites along the northern transect, U and U, penetrated a substantial part of the Early-Middle Miocene pre-drowning sequence.
The paleo water depth during deposition of these sediments was on the order of several hundreds of meters at most. Age model and subdivision of the sequences of Site U are adopted from prior studies A total of 28 samples of calcareous material from the peri-platform sequence of Site U were used in this study and serve as our Indian Ocean reference record.
The latter has also been the subject of a previous Nd isotope study The paleobathymetry during deposition of these sediments also was on the order of several hundreds of meters A total of 12 samples of calcareous material were used for this study as our Mediterranean reference record.
Nd isotope analysis Samples were powdered, rinsed and digested in a 0. The supernatant was separated and passed through cation exchange columns with 0. The model was then tuned with possible variations and contributions from different input sources. A full description of the model and its parameterizations is given in the supplement.
The post-Aquitanian values are only slightly less radiogenic than those of intermediate water records from the Indian Ocean 37 , Line bars note: onset of Western Arabian Sea upwelling 86 , 87 ; initiation and intensification of SAM 27 , 28 ; initiation of emplacement of evaporites in Iraq and S. Iran and Syria 9 , 22 , 90 ; initiation of movement along the Dead Sea Transform 81 ; Gomphotherium landbridge 22 , 23 and emplacement of Mediterranean sapropels 84 , The available data suggests that these remained steady until the late Miocene.
Moreover, the Middle to Late Miocene values do not match the expected pure Atlantic Ocean values, but it is possible that Atlantic water masses were more radiogenic at the time The modern values result from weathering contributions of the Ethiopian highlands via the Blue Nile and the Aegean islands The Afar hotspot volcanism and the associated plume may have been established prior to the Eocene 55 , 56 , but it is unclear if any drainage system supplying weathering products from these volcanic rocks to the Mediterranean existed before the late Miocene The Aegean and western Anatolian volcanism had already been initiated during the Miocene 58 , 59 , yet it was still nascent at that time with continued development until the present.
If its Nd contributions to seawater had been significant at the time, we argue that the corresponding signal would have also been observable in the Middle and Late Miocene sections, which is not the case. Another sequence of basaltic rocks exposed during the Late Oligocene and Early Miocene extends from Syria to southern Iran, bordering the inferred southern flanks of the Mesopotamian Seaway 60 , 61 , 62 , Furthermore, the local drainage system most probably provided waters to the Mesopotamian Seaway and the Mediterranean Sea.
Another possible set of contributors are the Western and Central Mediterranean provinces. These are rich in Cenozoic volcanics, most of which are either younger than 10 Ma or older than 30 Ma 68 , 69 , 70 , The younger provinces would not have had an influence on the period of time considered in this study, but the effect of erosion and exchange with the older provinces on the results presented here cannot be excluded.
Using the prefered parameters, the erosional input rate required to achieve these parameters would have been around 0. This value is intermediate between the erosion rates of basaltic terrains in the tropics Hawaii 77 and higher than mafic terrains in temperate climates Czech Republic 78 , suggesting a less arid climate in the region during this time.