Did you know that in 1904 the United States started work on the Panama Canal? The Panama Canal has been used by more than 815,000 vessels and is called one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The canal is about 48 miles long and takes 6-8 hours to travel through. Engineers and designers solved many problems caused by terrain, climate, and disease to finish the canal. The Panama Canal cuts through the Isthmus of Panama and creates a short cut between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Before the construction of the canal, ships had to travel all the way around South America!
We hope that you have a day of smooth sailing at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
The idea of a canal in the Isthmus of Panama is not new. The earliest proposal is from 1534, when the King of Spain was looking for an easier path for ships to take from Spain to Peru. Thomas Jefferson also suggested creating a less treacherous route between the two oceans in 1788.
The French initially began work in 1881. However, engineering problems and high mortality rates among the workers eventually halted their progress. The French had built the Suez Canal, but the terrain, climate, tropical forest, and tropical diseases worked to make this one of the most difficult engineering challenges ever faced. Diseases, such as Yellow Fever, and accidents killed thousands of workers during the construction of the canal.
The Panama Canal opened for use on August 15, 1914
There are locks on both sides of the canal to raise and lower ships from the ocean to the canal and Gatun Lake.
As the shipping industry and the ships used change, the groups operating the Panama Canal are finding ways to renovate the canal to accommodate the larger ships.
In 1928 Richard Haliburton swam the Panama Canal.