One of the most difficult and largest engineering projects that were ever undertaken, the construction of the Panama Canal was done to join the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. Before the construction of this canal, to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean, a treacherous route had to be taken via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn which meant going to the southern tip of the Americas and then coming back around.
It was a joint effort of the French and the American government that helped in building this canal. However it was only the second effort that paid off as the first won saw a lot of problems and was a failure. The first attempt from the French side was done under Ferdinand de Lesseps for a sea-level canal above sea level. However, not much prior research was done about the geology and hydrology of the place which led to the spread of Malaria and Yellow Fever. During the main period of French construction of 1881-1889, around 22000 workers are estimated to have died.
The canal opened in 1914 and since then has been very useful to the traders that move in that route. A lot of money and time is spared by going that way. Around 14000 ships pass through the Panama Canal every year.