Even before the break of dawn, some passengers were on the observation deck. J.J. and I noted that some had already staked out their place with table and chairs. Munching their Danishes and drinking their coffee, pointing cameras or mobile devices, it was a long waiting game.
Bridge of Americas signaled the beginning of the Panama Canal, approximately 51 miles of waterway that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic, dividing North and South America.
The Panama Canal reduced the time for ships to travel while avoiding the hazardous Cape Horn around the tip of South America.
Before the United States, Columbia and France controlled the territories surrounding areas of the Canal. Due to problems with engineering and mortality from malaria, France terminated involvement and in 1904 the USA took over the project. The canal opened in 1914 and controlled the Canal zone until the Torrijos-Carter treaties.
Today the Canal is operated by the Panamanian government, surrounding land owned by Columbia and the dock is operated by China.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has ranked the Canal as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
David McCullough’s “The Path Between the Seas is recommended by Chris Roberts as the most reliable and historically accurate reading.