The Panama Canal was officially opened on August 15, 1914 to create a faster, cheaper way of shipping merchandise between the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. As a result, Panama gained independence from Colombia. Now, we’re in favor of independence and countries doing their own thing but the Panama Canal is a space with some darkness in its path. Its rights and tolls have been debated since it’s inception more than a century ago.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does also.” And he was right, of course, as transport of goods has only increased in the last hundred years. The Panama Canal Expansion began in 2007 and is 76% complete at this time. The plan is to create a new lane of traffic that will serve to double the capacity of the canal, to accommodate today’s larger ships and make it more competitive with its rival, the Suez Canal. As for the present, and a bit of the past, here are 12 Panama Canal facts we bet you didn’t know.
1. It gets plenty of use. The Panama Canal transports 16% of United States trade and 4% of world trade.
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