Panama Canal workers, c 1885.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of native workers employed in the construction of the Panama Canal, from an album entitled 'Canal Interoceanique de Panama.' They have stripped off, presumably due to the heat. It is thought that as many as 27,500 workers died during construction. Many succumbed to disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever), while others died in masive landslides. The project, which was started by the French and completed by the Americans, took from 1881 until 1914.