George Totten

George Muirson Totten (1808-1884) was an engineer who built several important canals and railroads, including the Canal del Dique, which joined the Magdalena River to the harbor at Cartagena. He was also the chief engineer of the Panama Railroad[1] with John Trautwine. During the construction of the railroad, Totten had an attack of yellow fever so severe that his companions built a coffin for him.[2]

Totten also built the first railroad in Venezuela, from Caracas to La Guayra. Napoleon III gave him a gold ring in recognition for his work. General Guzman Blanco, monarch of Venezuela, awarded him a gold medal.[3]


  1. ^ "Map of the Isthmus of Panama representing the line of the Panama Rail Road as constructed under the direction of George M. Totten, chief engineer &c". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2018-12-24.
  2. ^ McCullough, David. Brave Companions. Simon & Schuster. pp. 92. ISBN 978-0671792763.
  3. ^ "George Muirson Totten". Retrieved 2018-12-24.