On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal opened to cargo traffic. The Panama Canal is a 77-kilometer (48-mile) waterway that cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Panama. The Isthmus of Panama separates the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean Sea. Construction of the Panama Canal greatly shortened the route ships traveled when voyaging around the world.
Before the Panama Canal was constructed, ships had to travel around the entire continent of South America in order to get from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. A trip from San Francisco to New York City was about 22,530 kilometers (14,000 miles). The Panama Canal shortened that trip by more than half, to 9,495 kilometers (5,900 miles).
Today, the Panama Canal remains one of the world’s busiest and most lucrative shipping routes. Between 13,000-14,000 ships use the canal each year. Those ships represent 5 percent of all world trade.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry cargo Noun
goods carried by a ship, plane, or other vehicle.
arrangement of different parts.
one of the seven main land masses on Earth.
Encyclopedic Entry: continent isthmus Noun
narrow strip of land connecting two larger land masses.
Encyclopedic Entry: isthmus lucrative Adjective
profitable or money-making.
Panama Canal Noun
artificial waterway between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea through the country of Panama.
path or way.
transportation of goods, usually by large boat.
buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.