Nicaraguan Canal Project

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NICARAGUAN CANAL PROJECT. A U.S. Army regiment sent in 1887 to survey Nicaragua as a possible site for a canal across Central America reported that it was possible to build a sea-level canal using the San Juan River and Lake Nicaragua for much of the canal's length. In 1889, Congress authorized J. P. Morgan's Maritime Canal Company to build the canal, and construction began. In 1893, the stock market crashed and an economic depression began, causing the Maritime Canal Company to lose its financial support.

The Isthmian Canal Commission, appointed in 1899, again reported that Nicaragua was the best place for the canal, and President William McKinley apparently planned to sign the authorization but was assassinated 6 September 1901. His successor, Theodore Roosevelt was persuaded that Panama was a more suitable site.


Cameron, Ian. The Impossible Dream: The Building of the Panama Canal. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1971.

Folkman, David I. The Nicaragua Route. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1972.

Kamman, William. A Search for Stability: United States Diplomacy toward Nicaragua, 1925–1933. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968.

Kirk H.Beetz

See alsoPanama Canal .