why was the canal built in Panama

Panama Canal is located in the heart of Central America, it is a great marvel of human architecture and marvel of engineering. This is an artificial man-made waterway, that was the hub of international trade.

Many have the question why was the canal built in Panama?  In this article, we will discuss the reason for making the Panama Canal, and its significance.

The reason behind the making of this canal was that the canal was constructed on the narrowest point of central America, where the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean junction is present.


What was the rationale for constructing the Panama Canal?

 Why was the canal built in Panama is a common question that comes to every person’s mind who visits Panama, So, here is the answer to the question what was the rationale or thought process for constructing such a tremendous project of Panama Canal on the Isthmus of Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

There were several benefits that were connected to the construction of the Panama Canal.

1.    E-commerce advantages:

Planning for Panama Canal construction was started in the 16th century, as the building of the Panama Canal was going to be very beneficial in terms of trade and exchange of products across the globe.  It was the dream of many governments to build this canal for e-commerce benefits and to boost their trade by reducing the time, distance, and cost of trade. However, this project remains pending up to the late 19th century.

2.     Geographical importance:

The building of the Panama Canal was of great value for geographical values, the traveling and time consumption was greatly reduced due to the construction of the Panama Canal. This canal was considered to be built on the isthmus of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, which was meant to give a shorter and safer path for the ships moving from Europe to the United States. This shorter water root can reduce the time and distance from Europe to the US.

3.    Military Benefits:

The canal in Panama has strategic importance and value for the American Naval force. This can give a faster movement of the American naval force to have a greater impact in the larger area. It was also of great significance for America as it helped the American naval force’s global presence.


Why was the Panama Canal Created?

It was 1800, and the Americans and British were doing the trade, but the route they were using for this trade was very long. This prolonged route was adding more time and price to the products, making them costly. So American and British governments decided to make their trades easy, and cheap by cutting down their time and fuel consumption.

The main purpose of constructing the Panama Canal was to facilitate trade from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean to cut down the cost of trade and to make it efficient. The construction of this Panama Canal was going to facilitate global commerce by saving time and money at the same time.


What Year Was the Panama Canal Built?

So, in 1850, the United States and British governments came to the table-talk and signed a treaty called the ‘’Bulwer Treaty’’. In this treaty, they decided to construct a canal from Central America. However, this attempt to construct a canal was not successful, due to Malaria, yellow fever, and other tropical diseases. These diseases suddenly pop up and destroy the economies of both countries. The construction of this Panama Canal was started by the French but it was not completed as the economy of France was bankrupted in the tropical disease combat and due to the high mortality rates.

Despite all the setbacks the United States was still taking interest in the construction of the canal and took the Project of Panama Canal build-up. The United States started working on the Panama Canal Project in 1904 and completed this tremendous project in 1914, utilizing the capabilities of their proficient engineers.

Where Was the Panama Canal Built?

Panama Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; it is constructed on the narrowest edge of the Isthmus of Panama. Its length is 65 km from shoreline to shoreline, and from deep waters in the Atlantic Ocean, it is 82km. It is the most strategic artificial canal that has ever been constructed. It is reducing the distance up to 3500 nautical miles. People often have questions in their minds about why was the canal built in Panama, and why the US government spent so much time and money to construct it. The reason for building Panama was to shorten the route for trade and to facilitate Global e-commerce


How Was the Panama Canal Created?

Construction and building of the Panama Canal was not an easy process, it was constructed in a time period when there was not that level of advancement of machinery was present. So, it’s natural to come up with a question how was the Panama Canal created and why was the Canal built in Panama? Construction of the Panama Canal is a marvelous work of construction coupled with incredible Engineering work that became possible due to immense and untiring hard work. Let us discuss the steps of Panama Canal construction in detail.

1.    Excavation:

The first step towards the construction of the Panama Canal was to excavate and remove the hard and heavy rocks of that land. It was started by digging the Gaillard cut and the Culebra cut. It was a vast area of 75 million cubic yards that was excavated to construct the Panama Canal.

2.    Locks and Dams:

The building process of the Panama Canal is a tremendous phenomenon of engineering. A specialized lock system was introduced to raise and lower the ships. This revolutionized system made maritime transportation possible.

3.    Dredging:

Dredging is a process of removing bottom sand, herbs, etc. from the bottom of water bodies. The purpose of the dredging is to maintain a sufficient level of depth of water that helps navigate the ships.

4.    Disease Control:

The biggest challenge faced by the Panama Canal construction was the spread of tropical diseases, these diseases not only destroyed the human population but also gave a great jerk to France’s economy, by turning it into bankruptcy.  The major economy of the country was used in overcoming, and controlling, these tropical diseases. There was a mortality rate of up to 20,000 overall, workers and the labor force working on this project were also affected.

5.    Labor Force:

Finally, the United States took control of the construction of the Panama Canal, there was a diverse workforce involved in this mega project. There was a workforce of tens of thousands of laborers, working on this project day and night, but there were lots of challenges. Extreme weather conditions and the spread of diseases were also challenging factors in the building of the Panama Canal.


How Much Did It Cost to Build the Panama Canal?

The total cost of building the Panama Canal was an enormous undertaking. The United States spent around $375 million on the project, equivalent to approximately $10 billion in today’s currency when adjusted for inflation. This investment included expenses for excavation, equipment, labor, and the establishment of the necessary infrastructure.

The project’s cost was also measured in human lives, as thousands of workers died during the construction due to accidents, disease, and harsh working conditions. This price, both financial and human, underscored the significance of the canal as a strategic and economic asset.

In total there was a cost of 375 million dollars was spent on the Panama Canal project, this amount if we compare it with today’s currency is a 10-billion-dollar cost.  This project not only cost 10 million dollars of this time but human lives were also lost in this project. Thousands of workers died due to diseases and harsh weather conditions, and many were injured due to accidents. This investment however proved valuable. As it was a gateway to the global efficient and cheaper trade.


Why was the Canal Built in Panama:

Wrapping up:

Panama Canal is a testimonial of human struggle and dedication to innovation. This new and easier route for global trade brought the people closer, making their trade easier and more efficient. This proved a gateway to new opportunities and revolutionized international commerce for a century.

So next time you go through this narrow passage of the Panama Canal you will have all the answers to the query of why was the canal built in Panama, remember those who sacrificed their lives to facilitate the lives of millions for hundreds of years. And never forget to the incredible story of the Panama Canal built, and always appreciate and share the story while passing through the Panama Canal.

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About the author : Angel Batista

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