The World's Shortcut: How the Panama Canal Works

  • Published: 02 July 2019
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    Animation by Josh Sherrington
    Sound by Graham Haerther (
    Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

    Special thanks to Patreon supporters Adam Chelminski, Arkadiy Kulev, Charles Zilinski, Chris Allen, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, John & Becki Johnston, Kyle, MyNameIsKir, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Remi_Scarlet, Tom Dooner, Tyler Hamm, and Vaughn Mudrick

    Music by
    Select footage courtesy the AP Archive


Comments • 2 007

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions   7 months back

    I hope you found this video interesting! If you're looking for more Wendover Productions content, we recently started a podcast called Extremities. It's all about the world's most isolated places with the first season focusing on Pitcairn--the tiny British Overseas Territory in the South Pacific with a population of 50. You can listen to that on any major podcasting app or all the links are here:

    • oknmomo lkm
      oknmomo lkm  1 weeks back

      Very interesting and informative! You got a new sub

    • Octopus
      Octopus  5 months back

      Can you please do one on how ships get to states like Minnesota

    • Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen
      Karl Johan Felsager Jakobsen  5 months back

      What about goung North og Canada egen the ice melts

    • Proud Deplorable
      Proud Deplorable  5 months back

      Do a video about HAARP and weather modification as well. It appears you are really interested in the weather and weather modification is 100 percent proven. Ever heard of seeding clouds for rain? That's just the start.

  • Michael Cmar
    Michael Cmar  3 days back

    Shouldn't Panama be filthy Rich?

    • zanza kuro
      zanza kuro  5 days back

      Caribbean investing in deep ports

      In other words, New Tortuga

      • Faisal
        Faisal  6 days back

        Joe Scott brought me here

        • danteelite
          danteelite  1 weeks back

          Maybe a drought in Panama could be a "good thing."
          We tell rich people "Hey, climate change is causing big prob-" "Not real. Climate change is not real. Everything is fine."
          So instead if we can tell them "Hey, you're gonna lose money. You like money right? Well... the uhm... _changes_ in the uhh... *big weather* are making water in Panama go bye bye. Less trade. Less monies." "WHAT!?"
          "Climate change is affecting your money now asshole! No Panama canal, no trade, no products, no money. If you want to keep making money, help save earth!" "WE MUST ACT NOW! CLIMATE CHANGE IS A HUGE PROBLEM THAT MUST BE DEALT WITH!"
          "ugggh... greedy assholes."

          • Casey Limbert
            Casey Limbert  1 weeks back

            How about a Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington canal?

            • Daniel Goleš
              Daniel Goleš  1 weeks back

              Greed for money is gonna destroy the world really, really soon...

              • Michel Akiki
                Michel Akiki  2 weeks back

                Ghanaian best movie

                • Tango Jones
                  Tango Jones  2 weeks back

                  Wendover: Casually cites the climate change hoax like a trained seal.

                  Me: Click.

                  • NemoM22 Locust
                    NemoM22 Locust  2 weeks back

                    Tango Jones casually reveals he’s a climate denialist idiot.

                    Me: lol.

                • Charles Ferdinand
                  Charles Ferdinand  2 weeks back

                  Ugh! The Panama canal is a piece of shit obsolete canal, the Suez Canal is much superior in all aspects: the Panama canal isn't truly contiguous as it needs locks and they were never able to dig through the mountains and it is small as fuck and it has needed several expansions while the Suez Canal needs no stupid fucking locks, it is truly contiguous and it never needed expansions (although, to be fair, both canals were built by advanced nations and were later stolen, that is, 'nationalized', by its host nations who didn't have to spend a single fucking cent and would have never been able to build them or even conceive them in the first fucking place). Fuck the Panama canal.

                  • Kyle Slades
                    Kyle Slades  2 weeks back

                    Why can’t they just stop using the walls blocking the water from the lake to the sea? It would solve the drought problem.

                    • w0ttheh3ll
                      w0ttheh3ll  3 weeks back

                      wowshit, almost two billion dollars to raise that bridge?

                      • 1234Peacekeeper
                        1234Peacekeeper  3 weeks back

                        Via not viah

                        • Anthony Ellsmore
                          Anthony Ellsmore  3 weeks back

                          Great video...lots of research...well explained...also no bullshit

                          • sexy korean girl
                            sexy korean girl  3 weeks back

                            still not as big as trump's hand

                            • Anuraag Tiwari
                              Anuraag Tiwari  3 weeks back

                              Excellent video, as always

                              • Ignatius Dimas Wardhana

                                To me the narrator speaks too fast. I sometimes quit watching in the middle not because the video content is not interesting, but because it seems like he explains a lot to none but himself

                                • TheGodMouse Gaming
                                  TheGodMouse Gaming  3 weeks back

                                  NO SMOKING

                                  • Alan Parkinson
                                    Alan Parkinson  3 weeks back

                                    I like big boats

                                    • Danny max
                                      Danny max  3 weeks back

                                      As soon as Solar Powered drones are viable large ships will become less and less relevant.

                                      • JOE CIOCCO
                                        JOE CIOCCO  4 weeks back

                                        Its not the Bey-ahn bridge, its the Bay-own bridge. If your from NJ you know this.

                                        • Kevin Crossland
                                          Kevin Crossland  4 weeks back

                                          Pretty good until the bollix about climate change affecting the water level of the lake. Come on! You are researchers; Do some historical research on weather data & get off the climate propaganda.

                                          • Gamenite63
                                            Gamenite63  4 weeks back

                                            bro just nuke panama and then any ship can go through

                                            • Marcus Richards
                                              Marcus Richards  4 weeks back

                                              Global warming is not severely effecting drought. Propaganda.

                                              • operation umbrella
                                                operation umbrella  4 weeks back

                                                This narrator s narration is not easy to listen

                                                • justicia
                                                  justicia  4 weeks back

                                                  In 1903 usa had allready international interest? What the godem fuck was the rest of latin america doing? Jurking off??? Whats wrong woth mexico, brasil, argentina, the southern giants, where are your peoples balls and national pride??? One thing for sure, catholisism......

                                                  • king james488
                                                    king james488  4 weeks back

                                                    no shit like 13000 people died, they didn't have air conditioned CAT dozers... you talk like no one ever died in a major construction project. people die, things happen, it gets built... they aren't slaves, they do the work because it's the best pay available. you can say it's taking advantage, but no one forced them to get payed better than they ever have in their lives to risk their lives. like how people thing that the pyramids were built by slavery... you all just want to just on any hint of slavery with your SJW BLM BS.

                                                    • king james488
                                                      king james488  4 weeks back

                                                      it works like a fuckin canal!

                                                      • Custis Long
                                                        Custis Long  4 weeks back

                                                        United States built it- got it up and running, then peanut-brain Jimmy Carter gives it away.

                                                        • Roman Soiko
                                                          Roman Soiko  4 weeks back

                                                          انا اتكلام في محكومة جنينة دولية我打爱法院icccpiмеждународныйуголовноесудcortepenalinternational

                                                          • Camila Avila
                                                            Camila Avila  4 weeks back

                                                            Was actually expecting a technical explanations. But it was interesting anyway.

                                                            • ikenna nwone
                                                              ikenna nwone  1 months back

                                                              You see?
                                                              You see!
                                                              You see?
                                                              Me: I have seen.

                                                              • Just Your Odinary Friend BRUH

                                                                "You see"

                                                                • Mark Lambert
                                                                  Mark Lambert  1 months back

                                                                  The ship at 2:25 has three USB ports in the back.

                                                                  • Dan Pan
                                                                    Dan Pan  1 months back

                                                                    Smart Americans surely got control of the Panama Canal before.


                                                                    • Rushan M
                                                                      Rushan M  1 months back

                                                                      Flat-Earthers must watch this video

                                                                      • Casi MB
                                                                        Casi MB  1 months back

                                                                        Whats the difference between a Blonde and the Panama canal??...........Ones ''A BUSY DITCH''

                                                                        • William Spohrer
                                                                          William Spohrer  1 months back

                                                                          Very Good!

                                                                          • turtle_food
                                                                            turtle_food  1 months back

                                                                            Wtf just nuke the shit out of Panama ez canal ez life

                                                                            • Fiachra Martin
                                                                              Fiachra Martin  1 months back

                                                                              What about the Suez Canal

                                                                              • Arun Bhandari
                                                                                Arun Bhandari  1 months back

                                                                                As far as I can see the ships travelling between East coast of China and East coast of USA use/need the Panama Canal. It is neither needed for shipoing to the West Coast of USA nor for Europe.
                                                                                Question - with the Trade War going on between USA and China is the business of the Canal affected ?!

                                                                                • TheArtist FormidablyknownasGabe

                                                                                  Smaller SiZe

                                                                                  • M. de k.
                                                                                    M. de k.  1 months back

                                                                                    How much would the toll of the canal be? Like 1 million to pass through or something?

                                                                                    EDIT: I should really watch the video first :P

                                                                                    • good 'un
                                                                                      good 'un  2 months back

                                                                                      "Dubious land deals"? They might have added "fomented a revolution", three important little words.

                                                                                      • good 'un
                                                                                        good 'un  2 months back

                                                                                        Cute graphic at 1:30 showing the "operation" of the locks, except....the boundary gates of the locks don't actually rise straight up out of the bedrock as the graphic shows, they work more like saloon doors. If any lock gates anywhere in the world DO indeed move up and down ( vertically), I'd be very impressed.

                                                                                        • Victor Vizcaino
                                                                                          Victor Vizcaino  2 months back

                                                                                          What a weird white-washed opening.
                                                                                          The U.S. actually funded an independence war so that Panama would separate from Colombia (which was planning to build the canal in their territory - panama was part of Colombia). After the separation of panama from Colombia, the u.s. forced panama to give up control of the route till the year 2000

                                                                                          • Nomecla Absorber
                                                                                            Nomecla Absorber  4 weeks back

                                                                                            Victor Vizcaino sorry. I am a verbal person when it comes to arguing.I was not insulting your education in fact, I was stating that it’s obvious that people watching this video know about how the canal was made, in fact I meant that your original statement was honestly really redundant and questionable.

                                                                                          • Victor Vizcaino
                                                                                            Victor Vizcaino  4 weeks back

                                                                                            Nomecla Absorber if you are going to complain about my supposed education, please make sure to make a coherent argument. Quite honestly, I have no idea of what it is you are trying to imply as your grammar and punctuation are atrocious.

                                                                                          • Nomecla Absorber
                                                                                            Nomecla Absorber  2 months back

                                                                                            Victor Vizcaino this be a bruh moment frankly if your interested in the Panama Canal you probably went to 6th grade so you should know about the history behind it

                                                                                        • jackie cs
                                                                                          jackie cs  2 months back

                                                                                          I appreciated the $90/TEU figure for the Panama canal, but it would have been awesome to see similar figures for the Suez and for cross-coast trains. You said the first is lower and the second is higher, but not by how much.

                                                                                          • Madhura Karibe
                                                                                            Madhura Karibe  2 months back

                                                                                            Everybody gangsta until global warming comes along and submerges the whole of Panama