Download Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal – EPUB
- Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal
- Matthew Parker
- 26 April 2018
Matthew Parker ´ 8 Read & Download
characters Î eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ Matthew Parker Matthew Parker ´ 8 Read & Download Read Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal CHAPTER ONETHE KEYS TO THE UNIVERSEWhat had motivated the voyages that led to the discovery of the New World was exactly what the Panama Canal would eventually deliver a through passage to the East On his fourth voyage in Columbus by then embittered and sickly sailed all along Panama s northern coast obsessively searching every tiny cove for a hidden strait At one point he anchored in Limn or Navy Bay now the Atlantic terminus of the canal Even after Columbus s failure to find an open passage to the East the idea died hard In the first map ever printed of the New World optimistically showed an open strait about where the Isthmus of Panama is locatedBut Columbus did report back that the Tierra Firme he had discovered was rich in gold and pearls West of Limon Bay he had encountered Indians wearing solid gold breastplates which they were happy to exchange for a couple of hawk s bells Having set out to discover a route to the wealth of the East the Spaniards had effectively found far greater riches on the way At the end of a settlement was established Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darin some sixty miles southeast of what would later be named Caledonia Bay Then in the colony s leader Vasco Nez de Balboa his curiosity aroused by Indian stories of a Great Ocean across the mountains put together an expedition of Spaniards accompanied by a number of bloodhounds which the natives found particularly terrifying On September having sailed up the coast they set off across the mountains on a route about a hundred miles east of the modern canal their heavy loads of supplies carried by a mixture of press ganged local Cuna Indians and black slaves The expedition s rate of advance through the Darin jungle was at times only a mile a day The rivers were in spate and numerous bridges had to be improvised from tree trunks Even in the sweltering jungle the Spaniards wore helmets and breastplates of polished steel thick leather breeches woolen stockings and thigh boots Heatstroke hostile Indians and disease began to thin their numbers On September with only a third of his men left Balboa reached a small hill From its summit promised the guides you could see the Great Ocean Balboa set off alone at midday At the top he turned one way and then the other he could see both oceans uite clearly He fell to his knees in prayer and then called up his men shewing them the great maine sea heretofore vnknowne to the inhabitants of Europe Aphrike and AsiaThey struggled down to the shore on the way defeating and then befriending Indians who had barred their route to the ocean On the afternoon of September they reached the sea That evening Balboa in full armor waded into the muddy water and laid claim in the name of Ferdinand of Castile to what he called the South SeaThe party remained on the Pacific coast for over three months exploring the bay and trading trinkets with the local Indians Balboa heard stories of a rich land away to the south but wrongly deduced that he must be close to Asia He at last returned heavily laden with pearls and gold to Santa Maria and a hero s welcome Along with a fifth of his treasure Balboa sent the King of Spain a report which included rather as an afterthought the musing of a Castilian engineer Alvaro de Saavedraa suggestion that although the search for a strait between the two oceans should continue if it was not found yet it might not be impossible to make oneFive years after Balboa s discovery a land route had been established linking Nombre de Dios a port on the Caribbean with a new Spanish settlement at Panama a prosperous Indian village on the Pacific coast The transit route opened up the Pacific Although Magellan found a way around the southern tip of the continent in the voyage was so remote and hazardous that it did nothing to discourage the uest for a way through the Isthmus to the newly found ocean In explorers sailing north from Panama discovered Lake Nicaragua The following year Hernando Corts the conueror of Mexico was ordered by Charles V to continue the search for an open strait By it was clear that no such waterway existed in the tropics and in Charles ordered that the Chagres River be mapped and cleared as far as possible in the direction of Panama City and that the intervening land be studied with a view to excavation This was the first survey for a proposed ship canal through Panama and itor less followed the course of the current Panama Canal At the same time the San Juan River which runs from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean coast was also to be surveyed as part of a possible canal The great rivalry between the two routes was thus startedDetailed reliable information on these very early surveys has not survived although Charles seems to have received mixed messages Some reported that the project was totally unfeasible others like the Spanish priest Francisco Lpez de Gmara writing to the king in thought anything was possible In an early example of the hubris that the canal dream attracted throughout its history the priest wrote If there are mountains there are also handsTo a King of Spain with the wealth of the Indies at his command when the object to be attained is the spice trade what is possible is easyThen Spanish priorities in Panama changed Philip II Charles V s successor and a religious fanatic shared little of.Read Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal
characters Î eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ Matthew Parker Matthew Parker ´ 8 Read & Download Read Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal D out to be a fiction and no realistic attempt was made to open up an overland route to the Pacific as planned The only trading partners were the local Indians who had no use for the heavy cloth and English language Bibles the settlers had brought with them as their start up stock Scarcity of food brought increasing weakness disease and demoralization among the first to die was Paterson s wife Within six months nearly four hundred settlers had perished of fever or starvation The onset of the rainy season in May and the concurrent further worsening of living conditions was the final strawOn June Being starved and abandoned by the world as one contemporary letter from Panama described it the Scots abandoned Panama and sailed for New York en route to Europe Only half of the weakened settlers were still alive at the end of the journey The survivors described by an eyewitness in New York as looking rather like Skelets than men being starved barely numbered enough to fill one ship on the cross Atlantic voyage back home Two further expeditions dispatched from Edinburgh before news had arrived of what had happened met the same fate the last being driven away by local Spanish forcesIn all Paterson s Great Idea cost over two thousand lives and the precious savings of an entire nation As de Lesseps and many others would discover the Isthmus could be a graveyard of men dreams and reputationsThe Darien Disaster hastened the coming of the Act of Union that dissolved the Scottish Parliament Seeing the futility of trying to compete with England and stripped of capital from the disaster Scotland was merged into Great Britain in an early but spectacular casualty of Panama Fever Regardless of their abandonment of the Scots the English Navy continued to flex its muscles in the region and freuent plans were laid to seize the Isthmus To take Panama it was believed would end Spanish rule in the Americas and open up the Pacific to English trade In during a period of official war with Spain the English admiral Edward Vernon leading six ships of the line and nearly three thousand men took the Caribbean port of Portobelo and destroyed its defenses although he was unable to cross the Isthmus to seize Panama City itselfConfronted by growing threats on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus in the bullion ships abandoned the Panama route and started sailing around Cape Horn Thus Panama City lost her place as the treasure house of the New World Soon afterward the famous fair declined and ceased Panama was attached to the viceroyalty of New Granada based in Bogot beginning a century and a half of struggle on the part of the Panamanians to regain their autonomyDuring the rest of the eighteenth century Panama tied to a fast fading empire shared her colonial masters steep decline Weakened by incessant European warfare falling birth rates and intermittent bankruptcy Spain gave way to the new aggressive mercantile and maritime powers of northern Europe However economic decline on the Isthmus was not matched by a falling off of geopolitical or military importance Spain s new rivals in the Caribbean now a key arena of international conflict wereinterested than ever in the strategic value of the IsthmusIn the French government had sent an astronomer through Central America on a scientific expedition to investigate the possibility of a trans Isthmian canal He had reported back in to the French Academy of Science advocating a canal at Nicaragua making use of the San Juan River that flowed from Lake Nicaragua to the Caribbean coast In the same year however the British were establishing control over a section of the Nicaraguan coast through an alliance with the Mosuito Indians who refused to recognize Spanish sovereignty It was not a coincidence that this gave the British control over the mouth of the San Juan River and therefore the Atlantic terminus of any future Nicaraguan canal But France still made the runningover the next twenty years no fewer than four French trans Isthmian canal proposals were made From the Hardcover editionAn absolutely gripping account of the canal s conception and construction An exemplary history vigorously told Los Angeles TimesA marvelously comprehensive work about an epic engineering triumph The Philadelphia InuirerA detailed study of the myriad personalities and design plans associated with the workParker s limpid prose is best suited to accounts of the dangers the laborers faced The New YorkerParker has written the Panama story for a new generation It is the workers heartfelt views on the conditions in which they lived and worked that really bring this book to life The EconomistFew great feats of engineering have been steeped in as much passion and tragedy as the Panama Canal and no one tells the story better than Matthew Parker Through meticulous research and vivid vigorous prose Parker has captured the frenzy surrounding the canal and the heartbreaking toll that it took on the thousands of men who set off like soldiers to Panamas Fever Coast never to returnCandice Millard author of The River of Doubt Theodore Roosevelts Darkest Journey An epic tale of human folly and endeavor beautifully told and researchedJohn le Carr An engrossing narrative of what Theodore Roosevelt called one of the great works of the world Publishers Weekly starred revie.
characters Î eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ Matthew Parker
characters Î eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ Matthew Parker Matthew Parker ´ 8 Read & Download Read Panama Fever: The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal His enthusiasm for a canal seeing it among other evils as unnatural as meddling with God s creation More important the conuest of Peru led to concerns that an Isthmian canal could be a strategic liability As early as the governor of Panama had warned against the construction of a canal as it would open the door to the Portuguese and even the French By the s most believed that it was safer to have an unbroken wall of land between the gold and silver of Peru and Spain s maritime enemies in the Atlantic Similar strategic concerns would arise three hundred years later when the United States debated building a canalWith the conuest of the Incas the Panama Isthmus became the overland route for the treasure pouring back to Europe whose value dwarfed anything that could have come from the Indies Once a year a grand fleet would arrive at the Pacific terminus of the trail and unload the bullion which would be transferred across the Isthmus to waiting ships at Nombre de Dios One witness recounted that he saw twelve hundred muleloads of precious metal leave Panama City in The Royal Road was now the most important thoroughfare in the Spanish empire and the Isthmus the key to the Spanish commercial and defense system in the New World Panama City uickly became one of the three richest centers in the Americas outshone only by Lima and Mexico City At the other end of the trail Nombre de Dios grew into an important port and the site of an annual trade fair of dazzling opulence where European goods were bought for transshipment throughout Spanish America The experience of visiting the fair was described by a traveling Englishman Thomas Gage as highly risky it was an unhealthy placesubject to breed feversan open grave But he wrote I dare boldly say and avouch that in the world there is no greater fareThe great wealth and strategic importance of Panama led to numerous attacks from Spain s enemies In Francis Drake carried back to Plymouth an enormous pile of looted silver he returned twenty years later to attempt to capture the Isthmus for England only to die of dysentery off Nombre de Dios The infamous buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan under orders from the British governor of Jamaica sacked Panama City in causing a new city to be built in asecure location nearby He reportedly returned to Jamaica with over in lootOther arrivals came intending to stay The famous Darin Disaster the calamitous effort at the beginning of the eighteenth century to establish a Scottish colony in Panama has many parallels with de Lesseps s French adventure nearly two hundred years later Each was financed by a host of small investors in their own countries and motivated by idealism patriotism and naivete as well as by the chance to make a fast buck Both had leaders withfront than particular expertise William Paterson was born in Dumfriesshire Scotland in and as a young man had traveled as part missionary part buccaneer to the West Indies Returning to England he had made his fortune in business and had become a projector a promoter of speculative moneymaking schemes But ever since his sojourn in the Caribbean Paterson had been in the grip of a Great Idea the venture to cap everything He was not the first nor would he be the last to fall for the lure of the Isthmus It was so obvious If ports could be established on both coasts cargoes could be transferred over the narrow strip of land saving ships the long and dangerous voyage around Cape Horn News from British coastal raiders had identified a spot where there was no mountain range at all and where broad low valleys extended from coast to coast It was perfect enough to envisage not just a road but in time a waterway Paterson withthan a few ideas before his time intended to welcome traders from all over the world to the new settlements regardless of race or creed It would be a truly global entrept to rival any in the world and whoever controlled it proclaimed the Scot would possess the Gates to the Pacific and the keys to the Universe Do but open these doors said Paterson and trade will increase trade and money will beget moneyThe Scottish Parliament backed the scheme in spite of warnings that Paterson talks too much and raises people s expectations but then money raised in England was withdrawn after pressure from vested interests such as the East India Company However a wave of patriotic indignation in Scotland saw money pouring in from all uarters and all levels of society As for the French public in the s for Scottish investors the scheme was a means of reestablishing national pride From individuals including craftsmen and servants was uickly raised about half the country s available capital It was a colossal risk for so much of the national silverLike so many of the subseuent Panama schemes it was doomed from the start As soon as the Scotsmen landed in the New World naming their anchorage Caledonia Bay fierce protests from English merchants and the Spanish led to an embargo on the colony For a settlement established as a trading station it was a fatal blowEverything started to unravel The death rate from fever rose steadily It soon emerged that far too many of the settlers were gentlemen with neither the inclination nor the strength for the hard labor reuired for starting the settlement The valleys extending coast to coast turne.