Brief Facts About Panama

Panama, or the Republica de Panama, is a beautiful country of tropical rainforests, small villages, sandy white beaches and the most cosmopolitan international city in Central America.

#1. The earliest recorded mention of a canal through Panama was made by Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor. In 1534 he wanted a route to be devised that would ease the danger and length of the voyages of Spain’s ships traveling between Peru and Spain. Thomas Jefferson encouraged the Spanish to consider this idea in 1788.

#2. The Panama Railway was built by the United States across Panama in 1855. This railway largely determined the route the canal itself would later take.

#3. A sea level canal system was not feasible in Panama due to its nine-month long rainy season. It would have flooded out the canal.

#4. A lock system was devised instead. Two French engineers, Armand Reclus and Lucien Wyre, published a French proposal for the canal in 1877. The French began the original construction in the 1880s but stopped when worker mortality and the rains took too high a cost.

#5. The United States took over the initial construction from the French in 1904 and completed the canal ten years later. It officially opened on August 15, 1914, with the U.S. in control of the Canal Zone.

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