Monday, October 3, 2016

The Panama Canal


We visited the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal in January, 2016. There are locks at each end to lift the ships to lake Gatun. 

It all started in the year 1534, when the King of Spain ordered a survey of the Americas, looking for a route to ease the voyage of ships between Spain and Peru.



In 1881, the French finally started construction through an isthmus belonging to Colombia.



By 1884, the death rate of workers building the canal was 200 per month.



Eventually, in 1889, the french ran out of money. By this time, a reported $287,000,000 had been invested in the canal. And 22, 000 lives had been lost.



President Roosevelt famously stated that "I took the Isthmus, started the canal and then left Congress not to debate the canal, but to debate me." 

On November 2, 1903, U.S. warships blocked sea lanes for possible Colombian troop movements aimed for the Panamanian rebellion. President Roosevelt signed a treaty supporting the separation of Colombia and Panama. Panama declared independence in 1903.



"On November 6, 1903, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, as Panama's ambassador to the United States, signed the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty, granting rights to the United States to build and indefinitely administer the Panama Canal Zone and its defenses." Wikipedia

In 1904, the U.S. bought the french interests in the canal including the equipment, excavations and the Panama Railroad for an estimated 40 million and started re-construction.


In 1921, the U.S. granted Columbia special privileges in the canal zone and paid Columbia an estimated 25 million.

The U.S. upgraded everything. And according to Wikipedia:

There was investment in extensive sanitation projects, including city water systems, fumigation of buildings, spraying of insect-breeding areas with oil and larvicide, installation of mosquito netting and window screens, and elimination of stagnant water. 


After U.S. construction of the canal began, an estimated 5,600 people lost their lives. Even after all of the improvements. It would cost 375,000,000 to complete.  

In August of 1914, the canal was formally opened. 1,000 ships passed through that year.

In 1977, the U.S. handed over the control of the canal to Panama.

It takes about 6-8 hours to pass through the 48 mile waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

And in my opinion, is fun to watch! Building, not so much.



Meanwhile...
 It's Halloween month over at The Chorus of the Crows  My creative writing blog.
My feathered and checkered past is revealed, once again...


The Awesome Links:


26 comments:

DUTA said...

There's always some great history and great engineering behind those connecting canals: Panama Canal, Corinth Canal (Greece), Suez Canal.
I visited only Corinth Canal which connects two gulfs in the Aegean Sea. Magnificient piece of construction!

jeannettestgermain said...

That's a incredible investment also in lives! Wonder if it was worth it! Did not realize Panama was such a "young" country independantly!

DJan said...

I hope one day to see the Panama Canal with my own eyes, but until then I really enjoy seeing the pictures and stories of my friends. I had no idea so many people died to create it. :-(

Lauren on Location said...

Wow I did not know all of this history surrounding the canal! Really interesting! Thanks for sharing and linking up for #wanderfulwednesday! :D

carol l mckenna said...

Excellent historical post and photos ~ thanks, ^_^

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

bettyl-NZ said...

Thanks for the history. It's an amazing piece of architecture, for sure. I didn't realize that the water in the canal had a name.

NC Sue said...

Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/10/playing-with-photoshop.html

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This crossing is toward the top of Bill's wish list (I'd probably go along ;>).... sigh, so many places ....

Suza said...

fantastic pictures. I am so interested in ships.
I like your blog and I will follow.
best susa from Hamburg germany

Margaret Adamson said...

Thanks for the history about the canal but so many workers died in the making of it. it is a wonderful feat of engineering

Andrew Fulton said...

A wonderful post...

abrianna said...

My parents took a cruise through the canal. Very interesting history to the canal.

Breathtaking said...

Hello!:) Many interesting facts about the building of the canal, and great photos. The birds in flight is a great shot.:)

Julie From Superficial Gallery said...

This was a great history lesson, thanks for the "tour"!

Pat Tillett said...

Great photos and tons of interesting information. It all adds up to a great post. Good thing OSHA didn't exist back then...

Lady Fi said...

A lovely set of photos.

Van B. said...

I'd love to visit the Panama canal one day, so much history! Is it true that they continue building on it?

Pia said...

Interesting post of the Panama Canal, thanks fot taking me along!

theartofpuro said...

Great pictures and a lot of interesting informations :)

Jeanna said...

That's a pretty tragic background. I think you've hit upon one of those historical sites people overlook. Nice post.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Sharin, these images bring back nice memories of our trip to Panama and on the canal. I love the pelicans in flight shot. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Lauren on Location said...

Really interesting post! I had no idea about all the history surrounding the canal! Thanks for sharing :D

Margaret Adamson said...

THanks for comment on my post unfortunately by mistake when I came home from being way overnight, I accident.y deleted the lot!!!! SOrry

Anni said...

The Panama Canal is one incredible feat in historical and economical value. I'm glad you shared this.

Love the brown pelicans.

Thanks for adding the link to this post at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

jeannettestgermain said...

That is a huge sluice (is that what it is called)! Am wondering why so many people died? Maybe I should look it up at Wikipedia...Many thanks for sharing these one of a kind photos with SEASONS! Have a happy week!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I've never seen the Canal.

A man a plan a canal...Panama!
~