Building the Panama Canal
In 1519 the Spanish Governor Pedrarias the Cruel, moved his capital away from the debilitating climate and unfriendly AmerIndians of the Darién to a fishing village on the Pacific coast called Panama, meaning “plenty of fish.” It was resettled and until the end of the sixteenth century served as the Caribbean port for trans-isthmian traffic. A trail known as the Camino Real, or royal road, linked Panama and Nombre de Dios. Along this trail, traces of which can still be followed, gold from Peru was carried by muleback to Spanish galleons waiting on the Atlantic coast.
The increasing importance of the isthmus for transporting treasure and the delay and difficulties posed by the Camino Real inspired surveys ordered by the Spanish crown in the 1520s and 1530s to ascertain the feasibility of constructing a canal. The idea was finally abandoned Continue reading