Can you imagine that in the 1800s, if you wanted to sail a ship from the east coast of the United States to the west coast, you would have to sail all the way down to the tip of South America, and then sail all the way back up to reach your port? That’s why building the Panama Canal was so important. It would save about 8,000 nautical miles.
Nations had wanted to create a shortcut for hundreds of years, but it was a huge task. It was started different times, but it always failed. In 1907, George Washington Goethals was appointed to take charge of some work already being done to build a canal that would connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He had a huge job to do—finish a project no one had ever been able to complete before and take care of the men who were building the canal (about 30,000 of them!). But he succeeded, and in 1914, the Panama Canal opened to commercial traffic.
George Washington Goethals was born on June 29, 1858, and we’re going to celebrate his birthday today with a set of notebooking pages all about important waterways.
(Fits American history timeline or Central American history timeline.)
If you are new to this series, visit my introduction to timeline index cards.