Today marks the 100th year the Panama Canal has been operating since its inauguration on Aug. 15, 1914!
The Panama Canal is often called one the “7 modern wonders of the world” and it generates over $1 billion a year for Panama. The current expansion of the Panama Canal is 72% complete and expected to begin operating in 2016 and will generate even more income for the country.
There will be a series of events taking place in Panama today to celebrate including singing Happy Birthday accompanied with an 800 pound cake and a grand gala featuring over 200 artists and dancers.
10 facts about the Panama Canal (International Business Times)
- In 2008, a Disney cruise ship paid the highest toll to date, $330,000.
- The fastest transit was completed in 2 hours and 41 minutes by the US Navy’s Hydrofoil Pegasus in 1979.
- Ships travelling between New York and San Francisco save 7,872 miles by using the Panama Canal instead of going around Cape Horn.
- The Canal transports 4% of world trade and 16% of total US-borne trade.
- In 1963, fluorescent lighting was installed, allowing the canal to begin 24-hour operations.
- Nearly 20,000 French and 6,000 American workers died during construction of the canal.
- More than 60 million pounds of dynamite was used to excavate and construct it.
- After the US, the canal is used most by China, Japan, Chile and North Korea.
- Around 40 ships cross the Panama Canal every day, amounting to between 12,000 and 15,000 a year.
- Annual traffic in 1914, when the canal opened, was around 1,000 ships.