Panama Canal Facts

Below are some of the facts about Panama Canal:

  • The Panama Canal construction was completed in 1914 joining the Atlantic Ocean with Pacific Ocean. It reduced the international sea routes as ship need not sail through the tip of South America anymore.
  • The King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V mentioned about Panama Canal for the first time, although it was not named then.
  • Under the leadership of Ferdinand de Lesseps the sea level construction however started in 1881. He also had the experience of constructing the Suez Canal. By 1890, things become odd and the project was bankrupt. There was loss of about 22,000 lives and USD 287,000,000.
  • The French also tried constructing the canal under the leadership of Gustave Eiffel.
  • It was then America decided to take over the project and construct the canal. Before that they were more interested in Nicaragua as they found it more feasible. They had spent a total amount of USD 375,000,000 for completion of this project.
  • Roosevelt was very much interested in the construction of this canal however after its completion he never visited it.
  • Presently more than 5% international trade is conducted through this canal.
  • World War I began during the same month when the Panama Canal was opened first in August 15, 1914.
  • Ships have to pay toll charges for passing through the Canal. It is charged based on the size of the vessel and the cargo it is carrying.
  • An amount of USD 375,600 is the highest toll paid by Norwegian Pearl on April 14, 2010.
  • The record of paying the lowest toll goes to Richard Halliburton, an adventurer and traveler who swam across the Canal.
  • For completing the construction of the canal more than 60 million pounds of dynamite was used.
  • Although the Panama Canal lies in Panama the canal is not run by its government. It has separate board of directors who manages it and earns the revenue. A part of it is given to the Panama Government.
  • There is specific size of ship that can pass through the canal. Technically it is known as Panamax.
  • After 2007 efforts are made so that post Panamax ships can also be handled. The canal is now expanded for handling the megaships.
  • While passing through the canal the ships must be very careful. it takes around 10 hours to pass through the canal. However, the U.S navy Hydrofoil Pegasus holds the record of fastest transit. It took 2 hours and 41 minutes for passing in 1979.