World Canals



Name of Canal
Country
Year Opened
Length
Amsterdam
Netherlands
1876
26.6km
Panama
Panama
1914
81km
Welland
Canada
1829
44km
Corinth
Greece
1893
6.4km
Suez
Egypt
1869
163km
Erie
USA
1825
580km
Gota
Sweden
1832
185km
Grand Canal
China
485BC/1972AD
1,050km
Kiel
Germany
1895
98km
Caledonian
Scotland
1847
35km
Manchester
England
1894
57km

World Canals
Canals have been around since the ancient world of the Greeks and the Egyptians. They were used for transporting goods, it was better to go on the canal as it did not twist and turn like rivers which are unpredictable. There were also no rocks at the bottom of the canal it was smooth, which is brilliant for transporting cargo which is heavy. Life wouldn't have been as easy for sailors if we didn't have canals.

Corinth Canal.
An attempt to build a canal near Corinth in Greece was made by the Romans under the orders of the Emperor Nero in 67AD, but it was abandoned. However, a French company built a 6km. long canal, which was opened in 1893.



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Grand Canal in China.
The Grand Canal in China was opened in 485BC to join the main rivers and it was extended over the centuries. It is still used to move goods and people because the roads in China are very rough and bumpy. Most canals, like Suez and Panama, were built to shorten journeys for shipping. Another canal that shortens a sea journey is the Kiel canal in Germany. The journey from the North Sea to the Baltic was cut from 480km. to just 98km., when it opened in 1895.


Some cities, like Venice, Amsterdam and Birmingham, have a huge system of canals running through their centres.


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Suez Canal
The Suez is a narrow waterway in Egypt that stretches about 163 kilometres and joins the Mediterranean and Red Seas. When the canal was opened in 1869, it shortened the route between the United Kingdom and India by 9,700km. The canal was the busiest interocean canal in the world until it closed during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Tankers carrying petroleum and petroleum products had accounted for about 70% of the total tonnage going through the canal. Egypt reopened the canal in 1975. The canal stretches north and south across the Isthmus of Suez, between the cities of port said and Suez. It had no locks because there is no great difference between the levels of the Red and Mediterranean Seas. Most of the canal can handle only single-lane traffic. When the canal was constructed it measured 8 metres deep, 22 metres wide at the bottom and about 70 metres wide at the surface. It has been enlarged several times to handle bigger ships and more traffic. At present about 25,000 ships pass through the canal every year.
The Suez Canal is called "ganatu s-suways" in Arabic.

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Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a waterway that cuts across the Istmus of Panama and links the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It ranks as one of the greatest engineering achievements in the world. When finished in 1914, the canal shortened a ship's voyage between New York city and San Francisco to less than 8,370 kilometres. Previously, ships making this trip had to travel around South America - a distance of more than 20,900 kilometres.
The United States built the Panama Canal at a cost of about 380 million U.S. dollars. Thousands of labourers worked on it for about 10 years, using steam shovels and dredgers to cut through jungles, hills and swamps. They had to deal with such tropical diseases as malaria and yellow fever. The Panama Canal extends 81.63 kilometres from Limon Bay on the Atlantic Coast to the Bay of Panama on the Pacific Ocean.

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Caledonian Canal
The Caledonian Canal is a system of canals and locks linking the freshwater lochs (lakes) that lie in Glen Mor, Scotland. The canals run from Lochs Linnhe in the southwest across the Highland region through Lochs Lochy and Ness to Inverness in the Northeast. It is about 100 kilometres long. There are 35 kilometres of man-made canals and 29 locks. The canal is 32 metres above sea level at its greatest height. The canal was begun by Thomas Telford in 1805 and finally completed in 1847. It is used today mostly for pleasure boats and by fishing boats. Many tourists travel to Loch Ness, hoping to see "Nessie", a prehistoric sea creature that is meant to live there.

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The Welland Canal
The Welland Canal is one of Canada's greatest engineering projects. It forms an important part of the St. Lawerence Seaway. The canal provides a navigable waterway 44 kilometres long between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The only natural connection between these two lakes was the Niagara River. Lake Erie is about 99 metres higher than Lake Ontario, so ships must be raised and lowered by locks. The project to connect Lake Ontario and Lake Erie was completed in 1829. In 1833, workers finished an extension of the canal that stretched from Port Robinson south to Port Colborne. In a short time, the shipping industry wanted a larger waterway. In 1839, the project was taken over by the government of Upper Canada, which is now Ontario. The canal was greatly enlarged by 1845, and enlarged further by 1887. In 1912, the Canadian government began improvements that eventually gave us the modern canal, which opened in 1932.

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Venice
Venice is in the northern part of Italy. There are no streets and they are never short of water. The people who live there don't go around in cars, they travel round in gondolas which only use one oar to get around. Some people travel in speed boats which are dangerous for power lines. The power of the water splashing up can easily knock them down and it also erodes old buildings. The oldest cathedral is St. Marks cathedral in St. Marks Square.
The people of Venice are affected by the water that surrounds them. It affects their food and housing as well as how they get around. Seafood is their main food and their houses are built on wooden piles (posts) driven into the mud. Since 1950 many Venetians have left the island to live in the mainland town of Mestre. Tourism is the main source of income with over three million tourists visiting every year. They spend much money on glassware from Murano and lacework from Burano. Industry in the mainland part of Venice has created thousands of jobs for Venetians, but it also been a major source of pollution. Air and water pollution is threatening the old buildings of Venice.

Amsterdam
The city of Amsterdam is built on the River dam in the Netherlands. Over the last 400 years canals have been built leading to and from this river. Nowadays there are canals criss-crossing every part of the old city. Unlike Venice, Amsterdam also has many narrow streets which are used by cars and trams, but mostly by bicycles. Riverbuses are very popular and a great way for tourists to see the many lovely buildings along the canal banks. They are also used by the citizens of Amsterdam to get to work as cars are often caught in traffic jams. Amsterdam is famous for its many fine art galleries and museums and also for Anne Frank's house.

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The Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal is a waterway that runs for 98 kilometres between the North Sea and the Baltic. It is in northern Germany and is 103 m. wide and 11 m. deep. It is spanned by seven high-level bridges and it is the safest, shortest and cheapest route between the two seas. It was built between 1887 and 1895 for the German navy because it eliminated the necessity for its ships to travel northwards around the Danish peninsula. It was enlarged from 1907 to 1914 to take larger naval ships and was called the Kaiser-Wilhelm Canal. Since the 2nd World War the Kiel Canal has been in the state (province) of Schleswig-Holstein and it remains an important route for Baltic shipping, especially in the months of winter when both the North Seas and the Baltic Sea are very stormy.

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Click here for an Interactive Canal Locks Demonstration

 

To find the resources to go with this page click here.

Mr. O'Neill's 6th class provided the information for this page.