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french panama canal failure (1881-1889) under the charismatic leadership of ferdinand de lesseps, the french attempted to construct a sea-level canal in panama. Delesseps, who had been successful in building the suez canal against all odds, assured everyone that building a canal in panama would be easier to make than the suez canal. The new panama canal company, the compagnie nouvelle de canal de panama was organized effective october 20, 1894. With insufficient working capital, only some 12,000,000, to proceed with any significant work, the compagnie nouvelle entertained the hope of attracting investors who would help them to complete an isthmian canal as a french enterprise. The earliest record related to a canal across the isthmus of panama was in 1534, when charles v, holy roman emperor and king of spain, ordered a survey for a route through the americas in order to ease the voyage for ships traveling between spain and peru. The spanish were seeking to gain a military advantage over the portuguese. The idea of a canal across central america was revived during the early 19th century. In 1819, the spanish government authorized the construction of a canal and the creation of a company to build it. The isthmian canal commission, appointed by the spooner act of 1899, reported in november, 1901, in favor of the nicaragua route unless the french company was willing to sell out at 40,000,000. This recommendation became a law on june 28, 1902, and the new panama canal company was practically forced to sell for that amount or get nothing. Panama scandal, exposure of corruption in frances chamber of deputies, an episode much exploited in propaganda by the enemies of the third republic. To overcome a financial crisis in 1888, compagnie universelle du canal interocéanique (the french panama canal company), originally sponsored by ferdinand de lesseps, needed to float a lottery loan to raise money. Panama canal, the lock-type canal that connects the atlantic and pacific oceans through the narrow isthmus of panama. The length of the panama canal from shoreline to shoreline is about 40 miles (65 km). It was completed in 1914 and is one of the two most strategic artificial waterways in the world. Isthmian canal commission and a push from president theodore roosevelt, the u.