August 15, 2014 marked the 100th year anniversary of the completion of the waterway known as the Panama Canal. The construction of the 77-kilometre/50-mile long ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama a century ago transformed international trade, greatly reducing travel time between the Atlantic and the Pacific by eliminating the need for ships to go around the tip of South America, Cape Horn . A ship sailing between New York and California was able to bypass the long journey around the tip of South America and trim nearly 13,000-kilometre/8,000-miles from its journey. The construction claimed the lives of an estimated 30,000 labourers, many from illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever.
As part of the $5.25 billion US expansion project, wider locks with mechanical gates will reduce bottlenecks and be able to accommodate post-Panamex ships, which are as long as three football fields and have the ability to carry about 2.5 times the amount of containers than ships now using the canal.
The Miraflores Visitors Center offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the enduring legacy of one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and when making a visit to Panama it’s not to be missed.
See more interpretations of endurance.