The Panama Canal is 100 years old today. To celebrate what this important international marine trade route has done for the economy, we put together a list of facts. Here’s a few things that your kids might not know:

  1. The United States uses the Panama Canal the most. 16% of U.S. trade traffic travels through the Canal each year.
  2. The Panama Canal is almost 50 miles long shore-to-shore.
  3. The Panama Canal has been open 24 hours a day since 1963. Since then, the Panama Canal has only closed twice: Once in December of 1989 when the U.S. entered Panama to overtake President Manuel Noriega’s regime and once in December of 2010 due to heavy rains.
  4. It took more than 60 million pounds of dynamite to excavate and construct the canal.
  5. During construction, nearly 20,000 French and 6,000 American workers gave their lives to complete the Canal.
  6. Today, the Panama Canal provides approximately 9,000 jobs to the Panama economy.
  7. Richard Halliburton swam the Panama Canal in 1928. His toll was only 36 cents, a travel expense that is tax-deductible according to current tax guidelines.
  8. A Disney cruise ship paid over $330,000 in tolls to use the waterway.