The first ship sailed through the Panama Canal 107 years ago today.
Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in Panama was a dream for a long time. It was first proposed by the Spanish in 1534 as a shortcut to reach Peru. The French had a failed attempt to build it in the late 19th century in large part because of the poor working conditions in the jungle. Then in 1903 the US secured a renewable lease for the land and finally built the canal.
The Panama Canal is 51 miles long and carries about 15,000 ships annually. The average time it takes a ship to pass through the Panama Canal is 8-10 hours. Ships must pay a toll to pass through the Panama Canal beginning at a cost of $880 for ships less than 50 feet long, but up to $2,200 for ships from 80-100 feet in length – all ships exceeding 100 feet pay $3,200 to pass through the canal.
Here is Cram’s map of the Canal Zone for 1914: the year after it opened.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.