Physical and environmental difficulties caused the failure of the French attempt to build the canal. If the US were to build it, they required that the adjacent land (the Canal Zone) had to be under their control. The Chagres river had to be tamed and the Culebra cut excavated, but in 1914, the canal was completed. Recently a new set of locks have been built to enable larger ships to use the canal.
Find out all about the building of this important waterway.