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American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company

American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company, a North American firm owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt and associates that successfully negotiated an exclusive canal concession with Nicaragua on 27 August 1849. Assisted by Ephraim George Squier, representative for the United States government, the company agreed to build, at its own expense, a canal across the Nicaraguan isthmus open to vessels of all nations and to provide support services of rail and carriage lines. Debate over canal privileges and Nicaraguan rights of sovereignty and property heightened tensions between British and North American interests in the region, and resulted in the passage of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty in 1850. Plans for eventual construction were thwarted by both inadequate financing and geographical barriers.

See alsoClayton-Bulwer Treatyxml .


Gerstle Mack, The Land Divided, History of the Panama Canal and Other Isthmian Canal Projects (1944), esp. 184-185, 188-190.

David I. Folkman, Jr., The Nicaragua Route (1972), esp. 18, 33, 35-37.

Additional Bibliography

Gobat, Michel. Confronting the American Dream: Nicaragua under U.S. Imperial Rule. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.

Herrera, René. Relaciones internacionales y poder político en Nicaragua. México, D.F.: Colegio de México, 1992.

                                              D. M. Spears

American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company

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American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company