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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing) 2 0 Browse Search
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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Darien ship Canal, (search)
the Suez Canal revived the project, and in 1870 two expeditions were sent out by the United States government—one under Commander T. O. Selfridge, of the United States navy, to Isthmus of Darien; and the other, under Captain Shufeldt, of the navy, to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Three routes were surveyed across the narrow part of the Isthmus of Darien by Selfridge, and he reported all three as having obstacles that made the construction of a canal impracticable. He reported a route by the Atrato and Napipi rivers as perfectly feasible. It would include 150 miles of river navigation and a canal less than 40 miles in extent. It would call for 3 miles of rock cutting 125 feet deep, and a tunnel of 5 miles, with a roof sufficiently high to admit the tallestmasted ships. Selfridge estimated the entire cost at $124,000,000. The whole matter was referred in 1872 to a commission to continue investigations. A French company undertook the construction of a canal between Aspinwall and Pana