The Panama Canal really is a modern marvel. America favored a canal across Nicaragua, which probably made more sense given the geology of the area, but in their rush to begin construction on the canal, the French began building a sea-level canal through the then northern province of Columbia without doing the proper research. The French effort went bankrupt in 1890 after spending $287 billion. After this, canal gets interesting with political alliances changes and a new country forming (Panama), but eventually the US takes over the project in 1904 and completes it in 1914 at the cost of $375 billion plus $12 billion for security. In today’s dollars, that is over $9 trillion (with a “T”).