- By building the Panama Canal, Teddy Roosevelt connected the two greatest oceans on the globe, and set the stage for a century of progress and commerce.
- Sorry, but it's not that simple at all.
The true story of the Panama Canal is totally insane and rarely told.
In 1902, Teddy Roosevelt wanted to build the canal to show off America's power and strengths.

- Joining the Atlantic and the Pacific will be the most impressive thing I've ever done. Except, of course, for that time I engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a great white. But where to build my magnificent canal?
- Easy, he built it in Panama.
- Actually, not so easy.
'Cause at the time, the country of Panama didn't even exist.
- Wait, what? The truth is, the US actually created the country of Panama in order to build the canal. And it all started with this guy. A wealthy French businessman named Philippe-Jean Buneau-Varilla.
- Monsieur President, have you considered ze lovely Colombian province of Panama as your location?
- No go. I tried to rent the land from Colombia and they rejected my offer. - Then we'll get rid of Colombia. I'll pay for a revolution, get you ze land for cheap, and you build the canal, voila!
- Wait a minute, are you seriously proposing that I help you overthrow a sovereign nation just so I can build a canal and make myself look great?
- Um, ah, yes?
- Bully!
Is what I say when I love something. let's do it.
- Buneau-Varilla quickly put his plan into action.
If you allow me to act as your diplomatic representative in Washington, I'll cover the cost of your revolution.
- Sounds great, how could I go wrong?
- And Roosevelt sent US warships to sit off the coast of Panama to deter the Colombians from fighting back.
- Ho there, Columbians!
Gget a load of this.
- Those US navall reinforcements did the trick, and Panama became a new country in less than a day.
- Oh, sounds like everything turned out okay. No one got hurt and the Panamanians got to form a newly-independent country.
- Nope. Because the US immediately screwed over that newly-independent country.
- Of course they did.
- As Panama's diplomatic representative, my first official act is to give away the land for the canal to the Americans.
- Are you kidding? We won't stand for such a raw deal! Viva Panama!
- When the Panamanians balked, Roosevelt landed 2000 marines in their new country and threatened them with grave consequences unless they changed their minds.
- Viva Panama, and its American overlords.
- So, in order to build the canal, the United States funded a revolution, created a new country, and then effectively stole the land from that new country.


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