The idea for a sea-level canal has been around since the 16th century when canals were first developed. The Panama Canal, an artificial waterway across the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, connects the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Its course is north-south, and the Pacific border is to the east of the Atlantic end. At the time of its opening it was universally acknowledged as the greatest engineering feat of the modern age, and it is still so regarded by many observers. The passage through this waterway shortens the trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific by 7,000 mi.
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