Theodore Roosevelt Departs for Panama - Nov 9, 1906

On November 9, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt left the United States on a trip to Panama to inspect construction of the Panama Canal. The trip made Roosevelt the first president to make an official visit to a foreign country while in office.

Roosevelt traveled by sea aboard the USS Louisiana and then by train to the Canal Zone, arriving on November 14, 1906. Roosevelt spent three days in Panama, and he recorded some of the events in letters to his sons Kermit and Ted.

To Kermit:

We were [in Panama] three days and we worked from morning till night. The second day I was up at a quarter to six and got to bed at a quarter of twelve, and I do not believe that in the intervening time, save when I was dressing, there were ten consecutive minutes when I was not busily at work in some shape or form. For
two days there [were] uninterrupted tropic rains without a glimpse of the sun, and the Chagres River rose in a flood, higher than any for fifteen years; so that we saw the climate at its worst. It was just what I desired to do.

To Ted:
In the next place it is a tremendous sight to see the work on the canal going on. From the chief engineer and the chief sanitary officer down to the last arrived machinist or time-keeper, the five thousand Americans at work on the Isthmus seemed to me an exceptionally able, energetic lot, some of them grumbling, of course, but on the whole a mighty good lot of men.
Roosevelt departed Panama on November 17 aboard the Louisiana and continued his trip on to Puerto Rico. In another letter to Kermit, Teddy reported that he and Mrs. Roosevelt were welcomed warmly and enjoyed a state dinner at the palace in San Juan. The Roosevelts returned to the United States on November 26, 1906.

References and Further Reading:

US State Department

Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children, 1919, via - What the President Saw at Panama - On the Way to Porto Rico, and What He Saw in Porto Rico.

No comments:

Post a Comment