It has been more than 100 years since Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal, led the French Panama Canal Company in a first effort to create a waterway crossing of the Isthmus of Panama. By 1890, that company was bankrupt because of mismanagement, graft and the ravages of yellow fever and other diseases which decimated the work force. After the company was reorganized and failed again, the United States acquired the rights to build the interoceanic canal. Although work began in 1906, most of the construction was done between 1907 and 1914 when the canal was opened to traffic on August 15.