Panama City, Panama, August 15, 2014 – The Panama Canal celebrated 100 years in operation.
- Joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
- Located on the Isthmus of Panama, one of the narrowest pieces of land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
- Coordinates 9 00 N, 80 00 W
- Approximately 51 nautical miles, sparing the long and dangerous 8,000-nautical-mile trip around South America’s Cape Horn
- Operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- The Panama Canal has three sets of locks – Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores – each of which has two lanes. These locks serve as lifts, elevating vessels 85 feet above sea level from the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans to Gatun Lake.
- Currently expanding the canal with additional locks
- Run by Panama Canal Authority (ACP), an autonomous agency of the government of Panama
- More than 922,000 vessels have transited the waterway since the Panama Canal opened on August 15, 1914
- The average transit takes 8-10 hours. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the Canal, including waiting time for passage, is 24.58 hours
- Six percent of the world’s trade travels through the canal every year, accounting for roughly 400 million tons of goods.
- 1850 – United States and Great Britain negotiated the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty for a proposed canal through the Central American Republic of Nicaragua.
- 1901 The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty canceled the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, freeing the United States to build and manage its own canal
- 1903 U.S. military force supported Panamanian revolutionaries in their quest for independence from Colombia
- May 4, 1904, Panama granted the United States the right to build and operate the canal and control the five miles of land on either side of the water passage
- 1904 – 1914 – Construction of the Canal overseen by Army Corps of Engineers
- August 15, 1914 – Canal opened to traffic
- 1960s Increase in Panamanian calling for sovereignty over the Canal Zone
- September 7, 1977 – President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian Chief of Government Omar Torrijos signed the Panama Canal Treaty and Neutrality Treaty, also known as the Carter-Torrijos Treaty
- On December 31, 1999, the Commission’s duties and sovereignty over the canal were transferred to the Republic of Panama, upon the termination of the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977.
- October 2006 – Panama approves plans for expansion
- August 8, 2014 – Panamax 2014, an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored multinational exercise focused on ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal
“Building the Panama Canal.” Accessed August 19, 2014. http://future.state.gov/when/timeline/1866_timeline/build_panama.html.
Department Of State. The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. “Panama Canal Treaty, 1977.” Accessed August 19, 2014. http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/qfp/17454.htm.
“Federal Register | Panama Canal Commission.” Accessed August 20, 2014. https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/panama-canal-commission.
Panama Canal Authority (ACP). “News – Panama Canal Celebrates 100 Years Connecting the World.” Canal de Panama. Accessed August 19, 2014. http://www.pancanal.com/eng/pr/press-releases/2014/08/15/pr518.html.
“The World Factbook. ‘Panama.'” Accessed August 19, 2014. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pm.html.
“Today in History: September 7.” Accessed August 19, 2014. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/sep07.html.