Panama Canal Map

Map by Ana Belen Berocal and Juan Pous de la Flor / ResearchGate

The map above is that of the Panama Canal. Measuring about 50 miles wide, it is located in the Central American country of Panama. It connects two oceans: the Atlantic Ocean in the north, and the Pacific Ocean in the south. It is being used by ships to significantly shorten the travel distance to their destinations.

The map shows the different passageways that ships will traverse when they use the Panama Canal. Ships will use six turns, pass through eight reaches, and a few narrow “locks” before arriving at the other end.

According to the History Channel, the waterway project was first thought of by the Spanish in the mid-16th century. Actual construction was only started by France in 1880; as the project’s funding was stopped, the work abruptly ended eight years later. In the early 1900s, the United States took over the project. Despite the dangers of natural disasters and disease outbreaks, construction finished in 1913 and the Panama Canal was opened the following year.

Britannica notes that in 1977, the U.S. and Panama formed the Panama Canal Commission. This started the transition process of Panama gaining complete and sole oversight of the famed waterway, which the nation finally achieved on the last day of 1999.

These books help us learn more about the waterway that changed sea trade forever:

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