There are two important reasons the Panama Canal was built.
- The main reason the Panama Canal was built was for easier transporting of commercial good and other cargo. When shipping was the known way for transporting goods in the United States, a ship sending cargo from the East coast to the West coast, the ships would have to go completely around the continent of South America. The building of the Panama Canal allowed that trip to be cut short by two thirds. After the Panama Canal was built, the time it took to ship items from one United States coast to the other took closer to two and half weeks; as opposed to more than two months before the canal was opened. Today, still, nearly 300 million tons of cargo travel every single day through the canal.
- The second reason the Panama Canal was built was to allow military ships of the United States to have a shorter route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. President Theodore Roosevelt decided to fund the building of the Panama Canal after Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines became United States Territories. At this time, Columbia owned Panama and negotiations for the canal failed between the United States and Columbia. The United States, then helped Panama free itself from Columbian control. After Panama became independent of Columbian control, they sold rights to the United States for quite a hefty fee. Apparently, the United States President believed the canal was worth $10 million. Today, the canal is still utilized by the United States Military even though all bases there were closed in 1999.