Definitions for panama canal
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word panama canal
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a canal extending SE from the Atlantic to the Pacific across the Isthmus of Panama. 40 mi. (64 km) long.
Category: Geography (places)
a ship canal 40 miles long across the Isthmus of Panama built by the United States (1904-1914)
A major man-made canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The Panama Canal is a 48-mile ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake. Gatun Lake was created to reduce the amount of work required for the canal. The current locks are 110 feet wide. A third, wider lane of locks is being built. France began work on the canal in 1881, but had to stop because of engineering problems and high mortality due to disease. The United States later took over the project and took a decade to complete the canal in 1914, enabling ships to avoid the lengthy Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America or to navigate the Strait of Magellan. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut made it possible for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in half the time previously required. The shorter, faster, safer route to the US West Coast and to nations in and along the Pacific Ocean allowed those places to become more integrated with the world economy.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
Geographers were familiar with the idea of connecting the two oceans by a canal through Central America as early as the beginning of the 16th century, and Dutch plans are said to exist dating from the 17th century. The first practical steps were taken by Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1879; two years later work was begun; the cost was estimated at £24,000,000, but on January 1, 1889, the company was forced into liquidation after spending over £70,000,000, and accomplishing but a fifth of the work. Extravagance and incapacity were alleged among the causes of failure; but the apparently insurmountable difficulties were marshes, quicksands, and the overflow of the Chagres River, the prevalence of earthquakes, the length of the rainy season, the cost of labour and living, and the extreme unhealthiness of the climate.
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