+$In 1914 The+$Panama Canal+$joined the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, changing international trade forever. The 50 mile-long pathway through the Isthmus of Panama created a significant shortcut for ships that previously had to make the perilous journey around the southern tip of South America.
+$We’ve compiled 10 facts you might not have known about this engineering wonder:
+$10. The United States uses the canal the most, followed by China, Japan, Chile and North Korea.
+$9. Early planners of the canal wisely thought ahead, anticipating that the width of cargo ships would probably increase in the future. However, modern-day cargo ship widths in general are now exceeding that so-called “Panamax” benchmark, thus there are strict limits on which ships can fit through the locks. An expansion to double the waterway’s capacity is set to be completed in 2014.
+$8. The Canal transports 4 percent of world trade and 16 percent of total U.S.-borne trade.
+$7. In 1928 American adventurer Richard Halliburton swam the length of the Panama Canal. All vessels crossing the canal must pay a toll based on their weight, and Halliburton was no different. His rate? A whopping 36 cents.
+$6. More than 60 million pounds of dynamite was used to excavate and construct the canal.
+$5. The fastest transit was completed in 2 hours 41 minutes by the U.S. Navy’s Hydrofoil Pegasus in 1979.
+$4. In 1963 florescent lighting was installed, allowing the canal to begin operating 24 hours a day.
+$3. Nearly 20,000 French and 6,000 American workers died during the completion of the Panama Canal.
+$2. Between 12,000 and 15,000 ships cross the Panama Canal every year – about 40 a day.
+$1. In 2008, a Disney cruise ship paid the highest toll to date, $330,000.