Object of the Day

French Period 1881-1904

Three days to the Centennial and our next acknowledgement is the French Period in the Canal.

The success of Ferdinand de Lesseps in the Suez prompted the French to attempt a sea level canal in Panama.



What can you tell us about the early years of the French Period?

What can you tell us about Jacques-Nicolas Bellin and Antoine François Prévost, whom are credited to this piece?

Please share with us in the comments section below!


  • Malcolm Stone

    This old map does not show the location of the Panama Canal. What it is for I do not know The Darien was a very difficult area to move.

  • Fred Sill

    If you have this Bellin map of the isthmus in your collection, consider it a treasure. Bellin’s mapmaking career spanned over 50 years, up to his death in 1772. The story goes that Louis XV of France commissioned him to map all the known coasts and harbors of the entire world, and if he didn’t manage that feat, he certainly came up with a good share. His maps showing Panama include the one illustrated, plus Panama Bay, and Porto Bello. He was known for meticulous research, and the map he made of the “Baye de Panama” in 1764 is still an excellent guide to the names of the rivers and streams one crosses driving along the coast either direction from Panama City. (He names over 40. I just counted.)

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