CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Three major developments changed the people's lifestyle around the world. World War I ignited, and claimed more than 10 million casualties in four years. On the other hand, the Panama Canal was inaugurated, thus helping improve world trade significantly. In Venezuela, oil comes to the surface for the first time, thus giving rise to the development of this hydrocarbon that changed the country's life for good
More than 45,000 people worked at the same time on the Canal, but some 28,000 people died during the works because of diseases and accidents in the workplace (Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation)
Everything was ready. No great celebrations had been planned,
but, at long last, after 24 years of work, on August 15th,
the Atlantic-to-Pacific Ocean Panama Canal was inaugurated.
The global crisis was not an appropriate backdrop for tremendous display. Steamship Ancon, manned by Captain John A. Constantine was the first ship to cross the Canal during a ceremony that was missed by international high-ranking officials. Notwithstanding, the work was not the least significant for the world.
The United States, responsible for the building, had spent approximately USD 375 million in the work. Up to 45,000 people worked at the same time on the Canal, but many others lost their lives. Yellow fever, malaria and accidents in the workplace were the main foes. According to the estimates based on the records kept at hospitals and by Panamanian health authorities, approximately 28,000 people died during the works.
The outbreak of war
While the Americas hailed the completion of a canal which would help multiply trade in the Western Hemisphere, Europe waged the first large-scale war in the 20th Century. The confrontation between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia, following the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Ferdinand, unleashed a military fight throughout Europe. On August 1st, the war declaration spread over to Russia, considered as the protector of Slavic countries and willing to undermine the position of Austria-Hungary in the Balkans.
Hostilities involved 32 countries -28 out of them were called "Allies"- that confronted the coalition of the "Central Powers." The four-year conflict claimed more than 10 million casualties.
Ore comes up
On July 31st, Venezuela witnessed how oil came up from the first commercial oilfield in the country, "Zumaque 1", located in Mene Grande, and discovered by the Caribbean Petroleum Company.
Prospecting started on September 1912, headed by Ralph Arnold and a team of geologists.
The first output totaled 100 bpd of an 18° API crude oil. However, as late as in 1917 the production on a commercial scale just began, with 121,000 bpd, including 57,000 for export.
The development of this field gave rise to the creation of the Mene Grande oilfield, and resulted in an oil boom which attracted foreign investment.
From that moment on, the national commercial operations changed direction abruptly and once and for all. Since then, oil has been the centerpiece of Venezuela's economy.
5.- Renewed status
6.- Radio Capital
9.- Cyber Radio
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