The Panama Canal is a 50-mile artificial waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, reducing the distance, cost and time it takes for ships to transport cargo between them. The idea of a canal over the Isthmus of Panama dates back to the 15th century, when Vasco Núñez de Balboa first crossed the isthmus. In the 1880s, France attempted to build a canal at sea level, but faced many challenges, such as the spread of yellow fever and malaria. The United States then acquired the French Panama Canal project and began construction in 1904. On January 7, 1914, the Alexandre La Valley became the first ship to make a full transit through the canal.
Since then, it has been managed by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).The Panama Canal is an important commercial enterprise and a vital link in global maritime transport. It has been regularly updated since its completion in 1914. In 1976, President Carter signed a treaty ceding control of the canal to Panama in 1999 in exchange for a promise that it would remain open for international use. Although the Nicaraguan canal proposal was ruled out due to the U. S.
acquisition of the French Panama Canal project, increases in the volume and size of transport ships have rekindled interest in the project. The Panama Canal is an incredible feat of engineering that has revolutionized global trade and transportation. It has been used by millions of ships since its completion and continues to be an important part of international commerce today.