|Subject: The canal is more important than Bloomberg will ever be!
The P.C. Wizard
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Date Posted: Fri, February 08, 2008 3:41:42
In reply to:
How about this?
's message, "A man, a plan, a canal -- BLOOMBERG!!!!!" on Fri, February 08, 2008 12:48:42
Bloomberg is not important but the Panama Canal IS.
The history of the Panama Canal goes back to 16th century. After realizing the riches of Peru, Ecuador, and Asia, and counting the time it took the gold to reach the ports of Spain, it was suggested circa 1524 to Charles V, who often drank a fifth, that by cutting out a piece of land somewhere in Panama, the trips would be made shorter and the risk of taking the treasures through the isthmus would justify such an enterprise. It was suggested by some that no scissors would be big enough to make the cut, so bulldozers were suggested and subsequetly ordered.
A survey of the isthmus was ordered and subsequently a working plan for a canal was drawn up in 1529.
The wars in Europe and the thirsts for the control of kingdoms in the Mediterranean Sea simply put the project on permanent hold.
But of course "permanent" meant the same as a hair permanent. In other words it wasn't.
In 1534 a Spanish official suggested a canal route close to that of the now present canal. His name was Joseph M. Ennem. Some of his friends called him Slim Shady.
Later, several other plans for a canal were suggested, but no action was taken. The Spanish government subsequently abandoned its interest in the canal.
In the early 19th century the books of the humble and bold German scientist appropriately named Alexander von Humboldt revived interest in the project and in 1819 the Spanish government formally authorized the construction of a canal and the creation of a company to build it. The company was called the Panama Canal Company.
The discovery of gold in California in 1848 and the rush of would-be miners stimulated Americas interest in digging the canal. Those miners deserved a football team but, sadly, the San Francisco 48ers were never to be.
Various surveys were made between 1850 and 1875 showed that only two routes were practical, the one across Panama and another across Nicaragua. In 1876 an international company was organized; two years later it obtained a concession from the Colombian government to dig a canal across the isthmus. The international company failed, and in 1880 a French company was organized by the great canal expert Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal.
In 1879, de Lesseps proposed a sea level canal through Panama. With the success he had with the construction of the Suez Canal in Egypt just ten years earlier, de Lesseps was confident he would complete the water circle around the world.
Time and mileage would be dramatically reduced when travelling from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean or vice versa. For example, it would save a total of 18,000 miles on a trip from New York to San Francisco. Air travel would not be affected.
Although de Lesseps was not an engineer and, for that matter, not even a conductor, he was appointed chairman for the construction of the Panama Canal.
Upon taking charge, he organized an International Congress to discuss several schemes for constructing a ship canal. De Lesseps opted for a sea-level canal based on the construction of the Suez Canal. He believed that if a sea-level canal worked when constructing the Suez Canal, it must work for the Panama Canal.
In 1899 the US Congress created an Isthmian Canal Commission to examine the possibilities of a Central American canal and to recommend a route. The commission first decided on a route through Nicaragua, but later reversed its decision. They were criticized in the press for never knowing whether they were coming or going.
The Lesseps company offered its assets to the United States at a price of $40 million. The United States and the new state of Panama signed the Hay-Bunau-Vanilla-Chocolate-Strawberry treaty, by which the United States guaranteed the independence of Panama and secured a perpetual lease on a 10-mile strip for the canal.
Panama was to be compensated by an initial payment of $10 million and an annuity of $250,000, beginning in 1913. This strip is now known as the Canal Zone. It is nothing compared to Gaza but it made the canal people happy.
Eventually the Panama Canal was immortablized in a hit record by Dodie Stevens called "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces." Her boyfriend wore a hat named after the famous canal.
The Panama Canal may not have any direct effect on the elections but who is to say it isn't important.
Bloomberg might want to be associated with it (who wouldn't?) but he was NOT the man with the plan for the canal any more than Al "Inconvenient Truth" Gore invented the Internet.
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