Fun & Easy Science for Kids
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All about Panama Canal

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The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway that connects the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. It is 48 miles long. Originally, this territory was Columbian where the canal is located but now it is Panamian.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European who reached the Pacific and then envisioned the canal. In 1878, a French adventurer Lucien Napoleon Bonaparte Wyse was granted the right to build the Canal by Columbia. He sold the rights to a French company.

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Facts you didn’t know: –

  • The project started in 1881 by France but they left it incomplete, the U.S. took over in 1904 and in 1914, the canal was completed.
  • The official opening of the canal was held on the 15th August, 1914.
  • When the U.S, took over the canal project they decided to build it with locks. These locks are like water-filled chambers that can be raised and lowered to move ships from one level to another.
  • The locks are 7 feet thick, 110 feet wide and 1050 feet long.
  • This canal transports around 4% of the entire world’s trade and approximately 16% of the U.S. trade.
  • All the vessels that cross the canal must pay a toll based on their weight.
  • The Norwegian Pearl, a cruise ship paid the highest toll $375,600. An American adventurer Richard Halliburton paid the smallest toll of $0.36 as he swam the entire length of canal.
  • This canal generates approximately 35% of the entire economy of Panama.
  • More than 25,000 workers died during the construction of this canal due to various reasons like disease, heavy rainfall etc.
  • In 1979, the U.S. Navy’s Hydrofoil Pegasus crossed the canal in 2 hours 41 minutes. It was the fastest transit in those days.
  • Approximately 40 ships cross the Panama Canal every day. In a year, the number reaches up to 15,000.
  • It takes around 8-10 hours for a ship to pass through the Panama Canal.



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