History of the
By: Dr Bianca Tavares
|The country of Panama holds a unique strategic
geographic location, and it has tried its best throughout the ages to
exploit this to the full. From the time of the Portobello fairs to the first
transisthmian railroad to the present waterway, often considered to be the
eighth wonder of the world.
A canal linking the Atlantic with the Pacific oceans had been a dream since the first Spanish colonizations. In fact it was Charles V of Spain who first envisaged a shortcut through the Panamanian jungle to ease the difficult crossing. So in 1524 he ordered a survey of the land. However what inspired the king initially was not so much the possibilities for trade, so much as how to bring back to Spain with least difficulty the hoards of treasure recently discovered in Peru. Unfortunately for him, earth-moving techniques were to need major improvement before his idea could be undertaken.
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|It was not until 1826 when the United States started
investigating a treaty with South American countries to "protect the
companies intending to open a communication system between both
oceans", that the building of a canal attracted worldwide interest,
with France, England and the United States looking for locations and
means to avoid the long, difficult and dangerous voyage around Cape
Horn. The first attempt at this was the construction of the
Transisthmian Railroad in 1855, which eliminated about 8,000 miles
from the journey.
The first attempt at a canal was in 1854 by a
multinational expedition comprising the United States, France,
England and New Granada. But the impenetrability of the jungle was
to take its toll and the attempt failed with many resultant deaths.
But not to be daunted in this most crucial endeavor, in 1878 the
French obtained a concession from Colombia to build a waterway. Yet
again, after seven years of fighting disease and other jungle
problems, the attempt was to fail with yellow fever, malaria and
various plagues holding sway. This project, with the idea of
building a level canal, was ultimately abandoned at the turn of the
|Operating the gigantic locks consumes vast amounts of fresh
water. For every ship passing along the waterway, around 52 million
gallons of water flows into the locks then out to sea. This comes
from the Gatun and Madden lakes. The lock gates, themselves
engineering wonders, consist of pairs of towering leaves from 47 to
82 feet high, 65 feet wide and 7 feet thick. Their weight is from
400 to 700 tons, yet each can be opened or closed in 2 minutes,
powered by electric motors.
To navigate the canal, a ship’s captain must relinquish responsibility for his vessel to a Panama Canal Pilot. Currently over 250 pilots steer over 14,000 ships through the canal each year. The total time spent in the canal is around a full day. Navigating through the canal is not cheap for vessels, averaging several 10s of thousands of dollars, depending upon the size of vessel and its contents. However, whatever the toll, it is typically ten times what it would have cost to navigate around Cape Horn.
The Panama Canal Commission welcomes visitors at the Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side of the Isthmus seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Ships passing through the locks can be viewed from a pavilion where commentators provide an English and Spanish-language commentary, giving all the details of the canal including the amazing statistics. From yachts and small crafts through to container vessels, huge cruise liners and even small submarines, the Panama Canal is truly an international crossing point.
About the author: Dr. Tavares guides you in Panama helping you learn Spanish and find romance at Spanish Love Poems.
Visit Panama in pictures.. Costa Rica has a romantic flavor that has lasted for centuries.
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From Patagonia in the south to Columbia and Venezuela in the north, South America offers travelers with an entire continent to explore. Visitors who travel South America can visit tremendous mountains, amazing rain forests and beautiful beaches. A trip to South America will expose travelers to various languages and cultures from both the new world of Europe to the ancient societies of South America’s indigenous people.
I'll never forget the look on the face of that Colombian campesino man. My wife just explained to him in Spanish that what I am holding under my arm is indeed a surfboard, despite the fact that we were standing in a Colombian village that was located somewhere in the middle of the Andes Mountains, hundreds of miles away from any ocean. After hearing this news the man made a joke about us getting bad directions. Crossing the Andes with a surfboard.
The climb up the glaciers to the summit of Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador isn't considered highly technical. Technically, it is mountaineering, but how hard could it be, considering that I went to 20,600 feet the first time I used crampons and an ice axe? Okay, I had used them once for practice, on a sledding hill near my house.
Getting married in Chile is one of the most romantic ideas you can come up with. You should first check with the Chilean Embassy and Consulate Office for current laws and requirements. Getting married abroad is as legal and accepted as if it happened domestically as long as you adhere to the proper requirements of both the host country and your own.
What attracts most visitors to the area is the many mega-resort properties that line Highway 307 from Cancun to Tulum, also referred to as the Riviera Maya. People are lured by the miles of beaches, clear turquoise sea, and the ability to leave their wallets in the hotel safe for a week for an all-inclusive Caribbean holiday. Unfortunately, if you never leave the resort, you miss out on experiencing the culture and beauty of the Mexican Coast.
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For the fortunate few, life isn’t complete without a backpacking trip through Europe. This rite of passage is believed to further the maturation process of college students, according to sociologists. Of course, others have opined that copious amounts of alcohol, sun and Amsterdam have something to do with it. Regardless of your purpose, you still have to figure out what to take.
Alsace, unlike the other French regions, is rich in French, German and Swiss influences. The region is situated among the Vosges mountains in the mid-eastern to north-eastern part of France. Alsace is the smallest of all French regions with Strasbourg bordering Germany and the Rhine River. Towards Mulhouse in the south, the region is bordered by Switzerland and the region known as Franche-Comte.
Prenzlau: Pristine nature, clean air and clear water, a wide variety
of nature protection and landscape conservation areas plus biosphere reserves –
the calmness and the light are the reasons why people feel so at home
here.Prenzlau an the Uckermark have all kinds of cultural and sporting
activities on offer, as well as modern accommodation options. I´d like tell you
a little bit about what´s on offer.
Interactive maps of Europe. Austria * Belgium * Croatia * Czech Republic * Denmark * England * Finland * France * Germany * Greece * Hungary * Ireland * Italy * Montenegro * Netherlands * Norway * Poland * Portugal * Romania * Scandinavia * Scotland * Serbia * Slovenia * Spain * Sweden * Switzerland * Turkey * United Kingdom
Bulgaria was the Slav land of Orpheus and Spartacus. It holds countless treasures, burial tombs and magnificent art and frescos reminiscent of centuries past, offering visitors the opportunity to tour numerous museums and monuments to understand Bulgaria’s rich cultural heritage.. Today, culturally the Bulgarians remember the days when men tried to appease the natural elements and trembled before their power! Rich with beauty, gaiety, mystical voices, fiery dances and brightly colored costumes, Bulgarian folklore has to be seen, felt and experienced…
Bulgaria is best known for its budget holiday resorts on the Black Sea. Here you can enjoy great health and leisure activities at a fraction of the cost of most other tourist destinations. Warm sunshine with pleasant temperatures (around 26°C in summer) comfortable hotels, white, non-tidal beaches, water sports are but some of the attractions to the area. There is also plenty of entertainment laid on by the hotels, including night life at all the resorts. In addition, within minutes you can find yourself in picturesque mountains, ski resorts and golf courses.
In Belgium the traffic drives on the right, drivers must be 18 and carry a valid driving licence and international driving permit, if they are foreigners. Seatbelts are mandatory for everyone and children under three must use a proper child restraint system. A warning triangle is compulsory as are headlamp converters (for left hand drive cars), dipped headlights in poor weather and a first-aid kit. Belgium has strict drunk-driving laws, only allowing 0.25mg/ml of alcohol in the blood. Fines range from €125 on-the-spot to €2,500 (if prosecuted) and up to a maximum of €10,000 (if over 0.8mg/l), a six-month sentence and five-year suspension of your licence. Speed limits are implemented rigorously with frequent radar traps and heavy on-the-spot fines.
With the same dedication of the swallows returning to Capistrano, the rich and famous flock to the French Riviera every year. When you walk along the city streets in the spring, or one of the many bustling open-air fruit and vegetable markets, and you might just find yourself passing a famous movie star or elegant fashion model.
The Grand Prix is held in Monaco. It ranks among the top sporting events in the world, and for good reason. The combination of Formula One cars street racing and the influx of celebrities to the playground of Europe make a heady mix for the annual event, and is viewed as part of the social calendar for the world’s top sports stars, actors, models and businessmen. The circuit takes in Casino Square and passes by the renowned Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, making it one of the most recognisable hotels in the world.
Spain is such a popular destination we have created an entire directory for it.
Switzerland greets the eye like a fairy tale. Its cities are precision built, the trains run on time and everywhere you look the natives there seem to be dancing or at least having a great time. The diversity of the German, French, Romanish, and Italian languages has formed a robust national culture.
Discover everything you need to Know for the Perfect Vacation, including where to stay, where to eat and the best places to visit in Florence, Italy. Find out the answers to the Top 50 most Frequently asked Questions about Florence, Italy. Visit Places to visit in Florence Italy
Joined to Bagnoregio, and to the world, through only one bridge, Civita Italy appears in an unreal isolation due to landslip series and downfall of argillaceous ground on which the entire town is built and that is still in danger.
Incredible prices for all kinds of goods can be found on the Rock of Gibraltar.
London has miles and miles of
adventure, from the distant past to the rocketing future.
The History of London Bridge: London Bridge today is not the same London Bridge that crossed the Thames when it was first built. Peter, a priest and chaplain of St. Mary's of Colechurch, began the foundation of the original bridge in 1176 to replace a wooden bridge (expensive to maintain and repeatedly burned down) that had first been built by the Romans.
Southend-on-Sea is Essex’s largest town and its close proximity to London makes it a popular tourist destination year after year. Better still, it is located in the south east of the country in an area widely regarded as the driest part of Britain.
Southampton -- Set on the coast of Hampshire, south of Winchester, this is a place that abounds with a fascinating heritage. The Romans, who established it as a seaport, founded Southampton approximately 2,000 years ago. This was the port from which the ill-fated Titanic had set sail on her maiden voyage in 1912. Even though the place was affected during the Second World War, Southampton has grown sturdy with huge docks built for the cruise industry. The core of the modern city is now based around the City Centre.
Introducing Australia It is located in the
Hemisphere and it is over twenty times the size of the United Kingdom has the
lowest population density in the world, with only two people per square kilometre, has more than seven thousand beaches (more than any other country)
and covers three time zones. It is also the sixth largest country and smallest
continent on the planet.
New Zealand is a country comprised of two large islands and many smaller islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and is noted for its geographic isolation. The Tasman Sea separates Australia to the northwest; to north are Fiji and Tonga. The total area of New Zealand is 268670 sq. km, which is slightly less than Japan but a little more than the United Kingdom. The country has extensive marine resources and the fifth largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world. Meaning New Zealand can claim over four million km2 or more than 15 times its land area for exploration and use of marine resources.
The History of the Balearic Islands: The Balearic Islands have been inhabited since prehistoric times, around 5000 BC, and there are many Cyclopean remains. These show the communities constructed dwellings of stone. There is evidence of primitive agriculture including the keeping of domesticated animals. Jewelry, pottery and tools appear to have been manufactured. Later they were frequently visited by Phoenician traders. In 654 BC the Carthaginians founded what is today Ibiza city. Roman occupation followed and they were in turn evicted by the Visigoths.
Samoa, southseas paradise beckons to the modern traveler.
The discovery of "the cave of John the Baptist" not far away from Jerusalem was a great journalistic drama. Archaeological news easily lights the imagination. Remember the movie series of Indiana Jones. Is it true that John the Baptist began to baptize his followers in this cave? Let us go over the facts, and find out.
Traveling Asia is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. When you travel to Asia, there are so many things to see and do; make sure that you plan your trip in advance. However, remember to leave some free time in you itinerary, because when you travel Asia, you want to make sure that you have the flexibility for an occasional adventure.
World of the Geisha: The function of the geisha is to provide men with learned but carefree conversation, song and dance, and cup after cup of sake. Unlike the common lot of prostitutes, they are expected to receive rigorous training in their gei, or "art". Their dress is elaborate and expensive, and thus their services do not come cheap. And sex is not a service, or at any rate not the foremost service, that they offer.
Taiwan: Political struggles aside, the island and people of Taiwan are worth visiting. Travelers who seek a contrast between traditional Asian culture and modern Asian development need look no farther than Taiwan to satisfy their traveling needs.
North Korea: As an independent kingdom of "Morning Calm" for much of the past thousand years, Korea was occupied by Japan in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Many Korean village leaders still speak fluent Japanese. After the terror of World War II liberated it Korea was split almost in half on the 30th parallel with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist domination.
Thousands of pictures about every day life in the Philippines.
Thailand Holidays: Thailand means “the land of the free”. It lies in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and one can only experience the exotic beauty of the place when you get there. The fresh air kissing your face when you walk on the beach, the mouth watering dishes and the rush and madness in the market is something you will perhaps not get to see anywhere else.
India is a mystic land and has so many things that a traveler can discover. The best part about India is its rich history; the stories of Indian Kings and queens who lived and died for their kingdom is rather amusing. Even more amusing is to read about the secret lives of these kings and queens, their palaces, their summer retreats, their leisure activities, their traditions and their interest in art and architecture.
Africa, land of mystery. Actually, we have quite a bit of knowledge stored here on the African Continent and we want to share it with you.
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