Air photo of Panama Canal. Image credit: Roger Wollstadt

The History of the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a huge man-made canal in Panama which connects the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The canal goes from Panama City in the south towards Colón in the north, which is the narrowest place across Panama.

The History of the Panama Canal

Panama Canal is one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever accomplished, and the channel has had an enormous impact on the sailing routes between the two oceans. The construction of the canal lasted for many years and the first attempt to build a canal back in 1880 was under French leadership. Unfortunately, this attempt failed and 21,900 workers died. Afterwards, the United Stated was taken over and completed the project in the early 1900s, and the canal opened the 15th of August 1914. The main reason for the Americans great interest, is that Panama Canal reduces the transport time for instances between New York and San Fransisco significantly.

Length of Panama Canal

The canal was built with the help of engineer troops from the U.S. Army and the U.S. to administer an approximately 8 km wide area on either side of the canal, Panama Canal Zone. The construction of the 81 km long canal was plagued by problems, including disease (e.g. malaria and yellow fever) and landslides. When the canal was completed, it is estimated that 27,500 workers overall, had lost their lives in the combined French and American efforts.

When was Panama Canal completed

Since its opening, Panama Canal has been a huge success and continues to be a main passage for international maritime trade. The channel can take vessels from small private yachts up to large commercial vessels. Modern ships are very huge and stick very deep into the water. Some of the biggest are not able to pass. This issue is called Panamax, which refers to the maximum depth a ship can stick into the water.

A typical passage through the canal takes about 9 hours. 14,011 vessels passed through in 2005 – corresponding to an average of nearly 40 vessels a day. Panama Canal takes care of five percent of all trading on the world’s oceans. The canal has two shipping channels so ships can be sailing in both direction at the same time.

Read also: Ghost ships of the lost lake, Aral Sea

Panama Canal Trade

The Panama Canal is being expanded so that it is able to handle even larger ships. But currently the work has been interrupted due to financial disagreements. The growing world trade increases the traffic significantly trough Panama canal and hence the canal is very important in terms of future trade market. Panama Canal is also strategically located in relation to the explosive economic growth we see in Brazil, which the U.S. easily through the canal can trade with.

Panama Canal Pictures

Wonderful Bridge Over The Panama Canal
Wonderful Bridge Over The Panama Canal
Huge cruise ship passing through the canal
Very big ship
Huge cruise ship passing through the canal
Huge cruise ship passing through the canal

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