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Nicaragua Canal

Nicaragua Canal, proposed waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. It would be 172.8 mi (278 km) long and would generally follow the San Juan River, then go through Lake Nicaragua near the southern shore and across the narrow isthmus of Rivas to the Pacific Ocean. First proposed by Henry Clay, the U.S. secretary of state in 1826, the route was an important factor in negotiation of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850). In more recent times the route has been considered as an adjunct to the Panama Canal; it would shorten the water distance between New York and San Francisco by nearly 500 mi (805 km).

Under the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty (1916), the United States paid Nicaragua $3 million for an option in perpetuity and free of taxation, including 99-year leases to the Corn Islands and a site for a naval base on the Gulf of Fonseca. Costa Rica protested that Costa Rican rights to the San Juan River had been infringed, and El Salvador maintained that the proposed naval base affected both it and Honduras. Both protests were upheld by the Central American Court of Justice. The court rulings were ignored by Nicaragua and the United States. The action was bitterly criticized by Latin Americans and others as an example of U.S. imperialism.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Nicaragua Canal from Infoplease:

  • Emiliano Chamorro - Chamorro, Emiliano Chamorro, Emiliano , 1871–1966, president of Nicaragua (1917–20, ...
  • Rivas - Rivas Rivas, town (1995 est. pop. 22,255), SW Nicaragua. It is on the Isthmus of Rivas, a narrow ...
  • Gulf of Fonseca - Fonseca, Gulf of Fonseca, Gulf of , inlet of the Pacific Ocean, c.700 sq mi (1,810 sq km), c.50 mi ...
  • Lake Nicaragua - Nicaragua, Lake Nicaragua, Lake, 3,089 sq mi (8,001 sq km), c.100 mi (160 km) long and up to 45 mi ...
  • Panama Canal: U.S. Interest in a Canal - U.S. Interest in a Canal Building an interoceanic canal was suggested early in Spanish colonial ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Latin American and Caribbean Physical Geography


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