Russia: 1952 Volga–Don Shipping Canal vs. 1649 Canalis

There is this Volga-Don canal in Russia. It connects the Volga river (discharges into the Caspian Sea) with the Don river (discharges into Sea of Azov). It was officially built between 1948 and 1952. Technically the construction started before 1941, but it was interrupted by the Second World War. The length of the waterway is 101 km (63 mi), 45 km (28 mi) through rivers and reservoirs.

Canal History
  • After capturing Azov in 1696, Peter the Great decided to build the canal, but, because of a lack of resources and other problems, this attempt was abandoned in 1701 without success.
  • In 1701, he initiated a second attempt. Instead of connecting the lower course of the Don with the lower course of the Volga near the present canal, the Ivanovsky Canal connected the upper course of the Don in what is now Tula Oblast.
  • Between 1702 and 1707, twenty-four locks were constructed, and, in 1707, about 300 ships passed the canal under remarkably difficult navigation conditions.
  • In 1709 due to financial difficulties caused by the Great Northern War, the project was halted.
  • In 1711, under terms of the Treaty of the Pruth, Russia left Azov and Peter the Great lost all interest in the canal, which was abandoned and fell into ruin.
  • Over time, other projects for connecting the two rivers were proposed, but none was attempted.
  • This 1707 canal was located in the vicinity of the city of Yepifan. That is approximately 450 miles North-West from the modern canal.
Modern Canal

1.1 millions Workers
  • The actual construction of today's Volga–Don Canal, began prior to the Second World War, which would interrupt the process. Construction works continued from 1948 to 1952; navigation was opened 1 June 1952.
  • The canal and its facilities were built by about 900,000 workers including some 100,000 German POWs and 100,000 prisoners.
  • Upon completion, the Volga–Don Canal became an important link of the Unified Deep Water Transportation System of the European part of the USSR.

Satellite Image

17-18th Century Canal
If in the 1940s/1950s it took our current civilization at least 4 years and 1,100,000 workers to complete this 63 mile long canal. Technically, if you zoom in at the today's Volga-Don canal, you will see that it incorporates quite a few pre-existing bodies of water. The actual portion of the Volga-Don passage canal they had to dig (by 1952) was 35 miles long.

I'm wondering how many workers they had to employ some time around 1649 to connect Volga and Don.


KD: It does appear that those 18th century builders incorporated a river into this canal. May be it was done way before the 17th century by more ancient workers, I do not know. I also do not know what happened to this canal. (mud flood, deliberate destruction?)
  • What I do know: it does not appear that this 1649 (at least) canal was mentioned in the official Wiki narrative.
    • May be a portion of the old canal was incorporated into the new one.
    • Also, landscape keeps on changing, which suggests a global event.

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