The canal is joining the atlantic and pacific oceans. It runs from
Cristobal on lemon bay, a part of the Caribbean sea, to Balboa, on the
Gulf of Panama. The canal is slightly more than 64 km long, not including
the dredged approach channels at either end. The minimum depth is 12.5 m,
and the minimum width is 91.5 m. The construction of the canal ranks as
one of the greatest engineering works of all time.
In history people had interest in a shorter route from the Atlantic to
Pacific. This began with the explorers of Central America early in the 16th
century. Hernan Cortez was a spanish conqeror of mexico who suggested
a canal across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Other explorers had favored
routes through Nicaragua and Darien. The 1 st for a canal through the
Panama was started by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Who in 1523
ordered a survey of the isthmus.
A working plan for the canal was drawn
up as early as 1529, but was shown to the king. In 1534 a spanish offical
suggested a canal route close to that of the present canal. Later more of the
canal plans were suggested but no action was taken upon any of these plans
Later on there is more in the canal. The Spanish goverment
abandoned its interest in the canal but in the early 19 th century the books
of the Germam scientist Alexander von Humboldt brang back the interest
in the project of the canal, and in 1819the Spanish goverment formally
athorized the construction of a canal and the creation of a company to
build it. Nothing came of this effort, however, and the revolt of the spanish
colonies soon took control of possible canal sites out of spanish hands .