Through the rainforest of Central America stretches one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It’s the mother of all shortcuts – the Panama Canal. Over 300 million tons of cargo pass through its gates every year. Stretching through the heart of the Americans, this canal has changed the face of global trade. Ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific used to sail thousands of kilometers around Cape Horn. So in 1879 engineers planned to cut a channel through the Isthmus of Panama. And that, was going to become the history of Panama Canal engineering.
To understand how the Panama Canal can carry such a huge amount of cargo, we need to travel back in time to 17th century France. There, engineers building the Briare Canal (Canal de Briare) faced an big problem. How to make water flow up a hill?