Panama Canal History | Panama Canal Information | Veneto Panama

Panama Canal Information

The Panama Canal is a 48 mile long international waterway that connects the Atlantic
Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It was fundamental to the development of maritime
trade in the Americas and helped create a more robust trading industry. All together
it saves about 8,000 miles of travelling from a long and difficult journey around the
southern tip of South America.

History of the Panama Canal

The idea of cutting out a route through Panama in order to enable faster
transportation from the resource rich regions of Peru, Ecuador, and Asia to ports
in Europe were made as early as the 16th century. A working plan for a canal was
actually drawn up around 1529, but due to ongoing war in Europe the project was put
on hold indefinitely.

In the early 19th century German scientist Alexander Von Humboldt revived interest
in the Canal project. The Spanish government officially authorized the construction of
such a canal and the creation of a company to build it. The gold rush in 1848 further
piqued the America’s interest in the canal, and after various surveys an international
company was formed in 1876. This company ultimately failed and in 1880 a French
company was organized by Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, the builder of the Suez

Panama Canal Construction

The construction of the Panama Canal occurred in two main stages. The first was
from 1881 to 1888 and was carried out by the French company headed by de
Lesseps. The second part was taken over by Americans who completed the process
between 1904 and 1914.

The French faced great difficulties in terms of rain induced landslides, diseases and
a general lack of experience. When the United States took over the project, these difficult conditions were brought under control and the Panama Railway was used as
efficiently as possible. The building of the canal was completed in 1914 – two years
ahead of the target date – and it was formally opened on August 15th.

Panama Canal Operation

The trip from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean is made much shorter by the
Panama Canal. This was particularly important when it was completed in 1914 as
travel by air was not yet possible for the masses.

Currently, it takes about fifteen hours to cross the three sets of locks of the Panama
Canal. Ships that pass through the canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean
move from the northwest to the southeast due to the east-west orientation of the
Isthmus of Panama.

Panama Canal Tourism

The Panama Canal is one of the greatest engineering marvels in the world and is
visited by thousands of people every year. It is amazing to see a massive container
ship pass through the realms of the Canal’s locks, especially when you consider that
the passageway is entirely manmade.

There are various companies that will arrange for tours to and around the Panama
Canal. Moreover, there is much to see and do in Panama besides visit the canal. You
can visit the Amador Causeway, take a historic ocean-to-ocean trans-isthmus train
ride, or paint the town red by delving into its vibrant nightlife.

All in all, planning a trip to the Panama Canal and the surrounding area is a great way
to spend a vacation or holiday.