“the Panama Canal Expansion Project and Its Influence in the Metropolitan Region of Panama City”

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“The Panama Canal Expansion Project and its Influence in the Metropolitan Region of Panama City”

Jose Joaquin Lim Cardenas PLAN 762 Metropolitan Regional Planning Pratt Institute May 2, 2012

Table of Contents
Introduction .................................................................................................................................3

The Expansion of the Panama Canal ..........................................................................................6

Panama City Metropolitan Region .............................................................................................10

Conclusion ................................................................................................................................15

Bibliography ..............................................................................................................................17

2

Introduction
To set up the context, a brief overview of Panama’s history will be presented. Panama is located on the narrowest and lowest belt of the continent. It is midway between the landmasses of North and South America. This has made Panama a major regional and global transit hub for travelers by sea, land and air. This strip of land, which is 700 km long by 100 km wide, is made up of an isthmus that was created when the oceans separated about three million years ago. This is quite recent in geological terms. The Isthmus of Panama has always served as a bridge between the two major continental masses. Before the first Hispanic settlers, the native population was uniformly distributed along the coast and fluvial communication routes. With the arrival of the Spaniards, this bridge function was slightly modified as a shortcut between to oceans. The territory was then organized along the Trans-isthmian route and on the base of two terminal cities. Panama City and “Nombre de Dios”, both founded in 1519, were the first terminal cities. Due to many pirate attacks by 1597 “Portobelo”, a better protected site, replaced “Nombre de Dios”. This route was called “Camino Real” (Royal Route), and it was used to transport all the gold from Peru to Spain. The history of the Panama Canal dates back to 1534. It began when Emperor Carlos V, King of Spain, ordered a survey for a route through Panama that would ease the voyage for ships traveling to and from Spain and Peru, as well as to give the Spanish a tactical military edge over the Portuguese. Over the following decades many other studies and surveys were made to indicate a possible Trans-isthmian maritime way. 3

By the mid-19th Century many people from the East Coast of the United States used the Royal Route and the later “Camino de Cruces” to go to the West Coast. With the California Gold Rush, this route became more popular and by 1855. When the first Trans-isthmian railroad was completed it became a vital piece of infrastructure, greatly facilitating trade and largely determining the later canal route. In that same year William Kennish, a Manx-born engineer working for the United States government, surveyed and issued a report on a route for a proposed Panama Canal. His report was published in a book entitled The Practicality and Importance of a Ship Canal to Connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Canal’s construction was started by the French on January 1, 1880. This first attempt to build a sea-level canal failed due to insufficient studies of the local geology, hydrology, and many other economic and environmental facts. At that time, various interests in the United States were also expressing interest in building a canal across the isthmus, with some favoring a route across Nicaragua and others advocating the purchase of the French interests in Panama. Eventually, in June 1902, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of pursuing the Panamanian option - provided the necessary rights could be obtained. On January 22, 1903 the Hay-Herran Treaty was signed by United States...
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