The Panama Canal Opens


Why It Was Built

  • Sailors had to go around the southern tip of South America to ship to the west coast.
  • It connects the Atlantic with the Pacific.
  • The USA started construction in 1904 and finished in 1914.


  • France tried to make the first canal in the 1800s and failed. Diseases and lack of experience is what pushed the French to failure.
  • The USA started the project in 1904.

How It Works

  • Ships enter Panama from the Atlantic Ocean and enter the Gatun Locks. Locks are devices that have gates to trap water and raise and lower boats to different water levels.
  • The boats then travel through Gatun Lake and move through the Pedro Miguel Locks.
  • The boats go through Miraflores Lake and then through the final stage. The final stage is going through the Miraflores Locks.
  • The boats then enter the Pacific Ocean.

Facts About The Canal

  • Cuts 8,000 miles off the trip.
  • The men who designed the Suez Canal and the Eiffel Tower were credited with the first failed canal effort.
  • Over 25,000 people were employed by the project.
  • Over 13,000 ships pass through the canal each year.
  • 52 million gallons of water are used every time a boat passes through.
  • The Gutan Lake is the largest man-made lake in the world.

Impact On America

  • Goods were more easily shipped to the west coast of America.
  • Shipping ports became more popular and improved the west coast economy.
  • People become happier because the economy is better, which changed writings.