Here is a useful mnemonic diagram for remembering the opening dates of the Suez and Panama Canals:

The Panama Canal was officially opened in June 1920 (although informally open to traffic from August 1914), while the Suez Canal (built by the Frenchman Ferdinand De Lessops) opened in November 1869.

Suez is the longer (at 99 miles), connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea in a NW-SE direction. The Panama Canal (length 40 miles) connects the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean and runs in a NE-SW direction.

The Panama Canal is also the subject of a famous palindrome (ie. a sentence reading the same in reverse):

"A man - a plan - a canal - Panama!"


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