Why was the Panama Canal built

The Panama Canal, located in the Isthmus of Panama, is a sea route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, thus allowing ships to sail through a much shorter route than what it would have been were they forced to travel via the Cape of Horn. The number of ships making use of the Panama Canal has witnessed an exponential rise; from a few ships in the earlier years of its construction, the number rose to as much as 14,000 in 2008.

The need for such a canal was felt by the world fraternity as early as the 16th century, and efforts were on from those times to build the Panama Canal successfully. However, it was not until 1914 that the dream became a reality. It would not be wrong to regard the Panama Canal as an engineering marvel. It took thousands of workers, over generations for the making of this canal. It is important to realize the incentives doles out by the Panama Canal in order to be able to appreciate the incessant endeavours of engineers to build it. The sea route between the two great oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic, was unnaturally large for ships to undertake. And then, the route involved passage through the unreliable and extremely dangerous Drake Passage and Cape Horn. The United States trade scenario was directly dependant on the sea route, and building a canal that could reduce the distance by almost half was too big an incentive to ignore.

Not only would the ships have taken lesser time of voyage, but also the dangers of a very long sea journey would have been accounted for by a canal such as the Panama Canal. The last nail in the coffin was the unexpected unearthing of gold mines in California, in the year 1848.

All the inhibitions showed by authorities till then were automatically annihilated. Consequently, President Theodore Roosevelt took the construction of the Panama Canal as his priority. After years of unmatched hard work from several workers, human engineering power proved a notch above the roadblocks posed by nature and the geology of the Panama Region, and the canal was successfully completed in 1914.