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JAMA 100 Years Ago
August 22/29, 2012


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2012;308(8):746. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3150c

What might be called a capital operation is the proposed cutting of a canal from the Mediterranean to the Desert of Sahara, converting a considerable portion of the latter into an inland sea. Now that the Panama Canal is almost completed and the edge of its novelty has been somewhat dulled in the public thought, France steps forward to propose a new, stupendous engineering feat.1 There are two facts that make this a feasible proposition. The first is that part of the desert is below the sea-level and the second that the canal to admit the waters of the Mediterranean would have to be but fifty miles long. The results need but to be hinted at: an inland sea for large ships, tropical verdure to replace barren desert, agricultural possibilities to support nations of people and great modification of the climate. Since the parts of the Sahara which are below the sea-level are broken up by higher spots, this inland sea would be filled with islands and promontories. The proposal is an ingenious one, full of great possibilities for benefit to Africa.

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