The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel that was dreamt of in the sixteen century and is still being perfected. Known by several nicknames, including “the big ditch” and “the French trench,” this manmade canal joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. With the canal’s massive impact on trade and shipping, it is sometimes difficult to imagine what it was like before the canal existed.
Whenever we think of Spain and seafarers, the first thing that comes to mind is Christopher Columbus’ historic voyage to America. But Spain, in the sixteenth century, was wealthy and adventurous and eager to establish new trade routes. They were keen to find a faster and safer route to Peru than having to contend with the dangers Cape Horn presented. In an attempt to achieve this, the King of Spain, Charles V, ordered the first studies to construct a canal to join the two oceans. The project was too complex and the canal remained a dream…that is, until the nineteenth century…..
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