The Panama Canal newly turned 100 year old, yet even after every one of this time, the still stands out as one of the true engineering marvels that the world. While it typically tops the “must-see” list among visitors to Panama, the Canal likewise plays a hugely important duty in Panama’s history and the resides of Panamanians. Even if it is you room preparing yourself for a visit or simply want to admire the Canal native afar, right here is a perform of 23 truth to know about the Panama Canal.

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1. The French first attempted to develop a canal with Panama in 1881. However, due to a high number of deaths and other issues, they abandoned the project in 1889. The United claims started building on the Panama Canal in 1904 and also completed it in 1914.

2. The US began negotiating the rights to build a canal with the Colombian federal government when Panama to be under Colombian rule. When negotiations fell through, The united state Government and President Theodore Roosevelt encouraged the Panamanians come revolt and declare freedom from Colombia. Panama asserted its freedom on November 3, 1903, and also the USS Nashville was deployed to stop Colombia native interfering with their independence.

3. After heralding independence, Panama granted the US manage of the Panama Canal Zone through the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. The us paid Panama a one time sum of $10 million for the rights, as well as a yearly lease.


4. over 25,000 civilization died structure the Panama Canal, mostly from disease. Approximately 20,000 passed away when the French check to construct the canal, and over 5,000 died when the american successfully constructed the canal.

5. The first ship passed through the Panama Canal on august 15th, 1914. The Canal recently commemorated its 100th birthday on respectable 15th, 2014.

6. The us operated the Panama Canal native its opened in 1914 until December 31st, 1999, as soon as full control of the Canal was handed over to Panama as part of the Torrijos-Carter treaties, which to be signed in 1977. From 1979-1999, Panamanians were provided increasing duties for canal operations, until complete handover.


7. The Panama Canal operates using a device of 3 locks. In bespeak to cross from the Atlantic to Pacific (or angry versa), ships need to travel through Gatun Lake, which is 85 feet over sea level. The locks raise and also lower the ships from sea level in stimulate to travel the lake.

8. The Panama Canal has 3 locks. The Miraflores and also Pedro Miguel Locks on the Pacific Side, and also the Gatun Locks top top the Atlantic size.

9. pearls pass through chambers in the locks that raise or reduced the ship about 28 feet. The Miraflores Locks have two chambers, the Pedro Miguel Locks have actually one, and also the Gatun Locks have actually three chambers.

10. the takes pearl on average 8-10 hrs to take trip the Panama Canal. This compares to 2 main if a ship tried to bypass the canal and also travel roughly South America.


11. just Panama Canal Pilots functioning with the Panama Canal Authority room able to captain a boat through the Panama Canal. When a delivery enters the canal, they room boarded by a pilot, who has actually full regulate over the boat until it exit the canal.

12. The locks each have actually two lanes that enable multiple ships come pass through at a time, yet they cannot handle huge vessels going opposite directions. In the work time, the direction of the locks are switched every 6 hours and also priority is offered to bigger ships. This way big ships can complete their journey in the 8-10 hour timeframe. In ~ night, two way traffic accommodates smaller ships.


13. every tolls because that the Panama Canal need to be payment in cash, and also must be paid at the very least 48 hours in advance.

14. pearls (with a couple of exceptions) are charged a toll based on their weight. The typical toll for a ship to travel the canal is $150,000, but it can gain much much more expensive because that the biggest ships and added surcharges. 

15. The cheapest toll ever paid to travel the canal was 36 cents in 1928 through Richard Halliburton, that swam the size of the canal.

16. The many expensive regular toll was paid by the cruise delivery the Norwegian Pearl, which paid $375,600 to cross the canal. UPDATE: with the opened of the new, bigger locks as component of the canal expansion, this record has been substantially broken, as much larger ships have the right to now pass through the canal. As of July 6th, 2016, the new record is held by the MOL Benefactor, a 10,000 TEU cargo delivery which payment $829,000 come transit the new locks. It is expected that when a post-Panamax delivery (which deserve to hold approximately 13,000 TEU the cargo) transits the brand-new canal, that the document toll will pass $1 million.


17. You deserve to take your very own private boat through the canal because that a fee varying from $800-3200. You will certainly share locks transit through a bigger ship, due to the fact that it is no affordable for the locks to it is in operated for this cost.

18. 13,000-14,000 ship pass with the Panama Canal every year, in ~ a price of around 35-40 per day.

19. The 1,000,000th delivery to pass with the Panama Canal was the Chinese freighter the fortune Plum, which passed through on September 4th, 2010.


20. pearl specifically built to the largest specifications possible to transit the current locks of the canal are called Panamax ships. The can be a preferably of 950 ft long, 106 ft wide, and also hold the identical of 5,000 20 ft shipping containers (TEU). 

21. A 2nd set the locks are at this time being built to accommodate larger ships. Once finished, lock will run simultaneously with the current collection of locks and also be able to accommodate pearl over twice as large (13,000 TEU vs. 5,000 TEU). The new locks are expected to it is in operational in the beginning of 2016. UPDATE: The expanded Panama Canal locks to be officially inaugurated and also had their first transit top top Saturday, June 26th, 2016. 


22. The Panama Canal bring away in about $2 billion a year in revenue, and also approximately $800 million goes into Panama’s general Treasury each year.

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23. The Miraflores Visitors center at the Miraflores Locks is open from 9am-5pm every day. Access to the visitors center costs $15 because that visitors and $3 for Panamanians and also Permanent Residents.