Chronography of Canal and River Transport

Page last modified 17 March 2022


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See Egypt for events relating to Suez Canal


UK canal map,


GB Canals (See also Road Construction 1819 for loads feasible on a horse by road and water) See below for non-GB canals.

British Isles canal maps

1)      Scotland and Ireland

2)      Lancashire, Yorkshire and North Midlands

3)      South Midlands, Severn Valley and South Wales

4)      The Fens and East Anglia

5)      Southern England and South West

6)      Proposed Canals, 1795

1948, Britain�s canals were nationalised. Administration passed to the British Waterways Board.

1945, The Ulverston Canal closed.

1944, The Hincaster Tunnel, at the northern end of the Lancaster Canal in Cumbria, closed to goods traffic.

1944, The Newport to Shrewsbury Canal closed.

1929, The Grantham Canal closed.

1921, The last commercial boat used the Huddersfield Narrow Canal Tunnel. Maintenance was suspended in 1944, and thereafter the roof tunnel became prone to rock falls. Restoration plans were made in the 1990s and the Tunnel reopened in 2001.

31 August 1921, The Trench Incline, Telford, linking the Shrewsbury Canal up to the Wombridge Canal, was closed.

1914, The Wiltshire Canal closed.

21 May 1894. The Manchester Ship Canal, which had taken 25 years to build, was officially opened by Queen Victoria (see 1 January 1894). The Queen travelled by rain from Windsor, leaving at 11.10 a.m. and travelling on the Great Western Railway via Reading, Oxford, and Wolverhampton, which she made by 2pm.Continuing via Stafford and Crewe, Queen Victoria arrived at London Road Station, Manchester, at about 4 p.m. The Queen then travelled along the canal by boat.

1 January 1894. The Manchester Ship Canal opened, 56 km.Its official opening by Queen Victoria was on 21 May 1894.

1893, The Thames and Severn Canal closed east of Stroud, made uneconomic by railway competition. A Trust was formed to rescue the Canal, and ssucceeded in reopening it in March 1899; after necessary repairs, the Canal was used to deliver coal to Cirencester in 1904. However the Canal remained uneconomic, most of its employees were laid off in 1912, and the waterway gradually decayed.

1891, Most of the Bude Canal closed, except for a short stretch near Bude itself.

11 November 1887, The first sod of the Manchester Ship Canal was cut.

1877, In The UK the Canal Boat Act now enabled local authorities to register canal boats and record who was living on them and ther relkationship to each other, and on their sanitary cinditions, In practice, the number of boats to be inspected often overwhelmed local authorities, and the boat owners were hostile to the inspectors.

1855, The Hertford Union Canal (or Ducketts Cut), 1 � miles long, was opened to provide a link between the Regents Canal and the River Lea.

1853, The Droitwich Junction Canal opened.

1850, The River Tyne Improvement Act was passed. The river was widened and deepened by dredging, which facilitated a rise in coal exports from the Tyne docks from 496,402 tons in 1859 to5,273,588 tons in 1869.

1847, The Par Canal opened.

1842, The Chard Canal opened.

1845, The Gloucester and Hereford Canal reached Hereford; construction had begun from Gloucester in 1791.

1840, The Canal Police Act now enabled canal companies to create their own police force, to be stationed around locks and canal keeper�s cottages (these being targets of crime) and along the towpaths and canalside inns.

1839, The Manchester and Salford Canal was opened.

1 September 1835, The link canal (Middlewich Branch) between Hurleston Junction (Chester Canal) and the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich, authorised 1827, finally opened (see 1779).

2 March 1835, The Birmingham and Liverpool Canal was completed. Authorised in 1826, it is now known as the Shropshire Union Canal. Opening had been delayed due to numerous embankment failures, because they had been built with too steep slopes.

1834, Straightening work was completed on the Oxfordshire Canal (work began 1829), shortening it from 91 to 77.5 miles.

1833, The Glastonbury Canal opened. This link was made possible by an amalgamation of the Chester Canal company and the Trent and Mersey canal companyin 1813.

12 January 1832, The Norbury Junction to Wellington via Newport (Shropshire) canal opened. It had been authorised in 1827.

1831, The Liskeard and Looe Canal, and the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal opened.

9 November 1831, The Macclesfield Canal opened.

1830, The Hereford Canal opened.

12 August 1828, The Kensington Canal opened, from the Thames up to Earls Court where it connected with a railway to the north-west. It closed in 1860 and was converted to a railway which used its former course, then crossed the Thames to link to Clapham Junction.

1827, The Gloucester and Berkeley Canal opened. By 1827 the Birmingham Canal had been improved by levelling down to remove an old summit at Smethwick, eliminating locks and resulting in a cutting up to 71 feet deep. The Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal was doubled. The improvement of the River Yare Navigation to Norwich was authorised. It opened 1833 but was a financial failure.

7/1827, Construction work began on the Middlewich Branch of the Chester Canal, see 1 September 1835.

1826, The Peckham arm of the Grand Surrey Canal opened, The Lancaster Canal was completed. The Knottingley to Goole Canal opened.

1825, The Bude Canal opened.

14 October 1824, The Higham and Strood Canal Tunnels opened, completing the Thames and Medway Canal. From 1845 this canal tunnel was used for rail traffic.

5/1823, The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal opened in full (the Portsmouth secion had opened 9/1822). By 1824 local people were complaining that the canal had caused contamination of their wells with seawater.

1822, The Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal opened.

29 October 1822, The Caledonian Canal, Scotland, opened (construction began 1803).

1820, The Regents Canal, north London, opened. Construction began in 1812; the canal ran from Paddington to join the Thames at Limehouse. The Leigh Branch Canal opened, linking the Leeds and Liverpool canal to the Bridgewater Canal.

1819, The North Wiltshire and Sheffield Canals were completed. The Bude Canal was authorised, from Bude to Thornton and Launceston, It was intended for carrying sea sand inland for use as fertiliser.

1817, The Edinbiurgh and Glasgow Union Canal was authorised, 30 miles long, to connect Edinburgh with the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk.

25 December 1817, The Hincaster Tunnel, at the northern end of the Lancaster Canal in Cumbria, opened.

24 June 1817, The Tavistock Canal, linking Tavistock to the port at Morwelham, opened; construction had begun in 1803. However the boom in copper prices caused by the Napoleonic Wars had given way to a slump in prices, so the Devon copper mines this canal served were now less economic.

1816, The Leeds to Liverpool canal opened.

1815, The Northampton branch canal (off Grand Union) opened. It replaced a plateway that had opened in 1805.

1814, The Grand Union Canal opened in full. The Grand Western Canal (Loudwell to Tiverton) opened. Plans for extending it down to Exeter (see 1796) had been abandoned.

1 July 1813, The Ellesmere and Chester Canals were merged under one company, the Ellesmere and Chester Canal Company.

1813, The Aylesbury Branch Canal (off Grand Union) was completed. The Wey and Arun Canal was authorised.

1812, The Aberdare Canal opened, from Aberdare to Glamorgan.

4 April 1811, The Huddersfield Narrow Canal Pennines (authorised by Act of Parliament April 1794), opened to traffic (construction began 1794). The Glamorganshire Canal, S Wales, (authorised 1790) opened, also the branch from Abercynon to Aberdare.

1810, The Kennet and Avon Canal opened (authorised 1794). The stretch from Newbury to Hungerford opened in 1798. It could take half a day to traverse the lock ladder, 2 miles, near Devizes, and it took 36 hours to transport cotton by canal from Liverpool to Manchester. When the Liverpool to Manchester railway opened in 1830, canal transport rates were reduced from 15 to 10 shillings per ton. This canal closed in the 1950s but was reopened in 1990.

1809, The Croydon Canal opened. A branch canal opened to Market Harborough. Work began on the Grand Western Canal (authorised 1796). Work began on the Tiverton Branch first, to tap into an expected �10,000 per annum stone traffic from the Burlescombe quarries � in fact traffic here never exceeded �1,000 oer year. It would have been better to start at the Topsham or Taunton end, whoch would have generated a coal traffic as soon as a few miles were operational. Attempts to lower the Holcombe Rogus summit by 16 feet to save on loclss also resulted in much extra expenditure.

1805, The Shropshire Union Canal opened. The Llangollen Canal opened. The Royal Military Canal, 39 km long, opened.

1804, The Rochdale Canal (authorised 1794) was completed. The Barnsley Canal opened. The Dearne and Dove Canal opened.

1802, The Nottingham Canal was opened.

1802, The Stratfotd on Avon Canal opened. This took further London-bound coal trade from the Netherton mines and nearby ironworks away from the Birmingham Canal, see Dudley Canal Tunnel 1785.

1801, The Crinan Canal was completed; construction had begun in 1793.

1801, The Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal opened.

1801, The Grand Surrey Canal was authorised; intended to run from the Thames at Rotherhithe to Mitcham via Peckham, Camberwell and Kennington. Branches to Epsom and Croydon were also proposed. In fact it never opened further than Camberwell, which was reached in 1809. A later branch to Peckham was also built.

1800, The Grand Union (Grand Junction) Canal was opened through west London, to Uxbridge and on to Buckingham, except for a tunnel at Blisworth which had failed during construction. This tunnel was finally completed in 1805; until then a tramway connected the two parts of the canal. This was joined to the main Birmingham Canal in 1805. On 10/ July 1801 a branch from Bulls Bridge was made into Paddington. In 1820 this branch was connected by the Regents Canal (authorised 1812) through to Limehouse. It facilitated good shipments from the industrial north and midlands to London just at a time when French pirates were making insurance rates heavy for coastal shipping along the south coast.

1800, The Peak Forest Canal opened.

1799, The Lancaster Canal (authorised 1792) opened. The Barnsley Canal opened.

1798, The Huddersfield, Ashton to Stalybridge, and Gloucester Canals were completed.

1797, The Ashton and Shrewsbury Canals opened. The Leicestershire and Northamptonshore Union Canal, proposed to link Leicester with the River Nene at Northampton, 44 miles, was completed from Leicester to Dendale Wharf, 17 miles.

1796, The LuneAqueduct opened. The Grand Western Canal, intended to run through from Topsham near Exeter to Taunton in Somerset, was authorised. However work was delayed until 1809 because of uncertainties arising from the Napoleonic Wars. The Dorset and Domerset Canal was authorised, which would have run from Bath to the River Stour in Dorset. However the owners started work on the middle of the canal, building a section from Frome to the collieries at Nettlebridge. A start at either end would have been better. By 1803 money had been exhausted and 1.75 miles remained to be built; the canal could not raise any more funds, and it was abandoned. Further proposals for a canal across the south-west peninsula of England also failed, and the railways were soon to come.

1796, A canal branch from Pontcysyllte to Chester was authorised, but just 2.3 miles of branch canal near Wrexham was all that was ever built. By 1800 collieries had opened near Chester which obviated any nead to bring coal from the Pontcysyllte area. Instead the Ellesmere Canal was opened in 1805 (see 1 July 1795) from Framkton to Hurleston Junction on the Chester Canal.

11/1796, The Ulverston Canal opened.

1795, Cabins began to appear on British canal boats as journeys lengthened. Previously, crews had slept ashore at inns, with the horses stabled also at the inn or at local houses.

1795, The Wiltshire Canal, from Semington on the River Kennet toAbingdon on the River Thames by way if Swindon (s small town , pre-railways) was authorised.

1 July 1795, The first section of the Ellesmere Canal, from Chester to Netherpool (now called El;lesmere Port) opened, see 1796.

1794, The Basingstoke Canal opened (authorised 1778). It was useful for exporting the agricultiural produce of the area but the canal was never a success financially. The company had paid interest on loans out of capital before the canal opened, so it was always trying to catch up with debt and never issued a dividend on its shares. Hopes of extending the canal westwards were thwarted by the opening of the Kennet and Svon Canal; the proposed canal link from Basingstoke to the Kennet never materialised; and the end of the Napoleonic Wars meant goods from Portsmouth for London could safely use the coastal route round by Kent. The advent of the railways finally precipitated its closure.

1794, The Glamorgan Canal opened from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff. The Charnwood Canal, north Leictesrershire, opened. The Ashby de la Zouch Canal was authorised; it was intended as a 43 mile canal, with branches to the limeworks at Tickhill and Cloudhill. In the end, it ran for just 30 miles toMoira. The Swansea Canal and the Rochdale Canal were authorised.

1794, Work began on the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship Canal, starting from Gloucester. However by 1799 only some 5.5 miles had been cut as far as Hardwicke,and money had run out. The project was revived with the start of construction of Berkeley Docks on 15 July 1818. This was one canal that benefitted from the advent of the railways, as that meant more traffic coming toi Gloucester, and more international goods traffic from Berkeley.

1793, The Grantham Canal, Grantham to Nottingham, opened. Proposed canals from Brecon to Hay on Wye and Whitney, and from Abergevenny to Hereford, were dropped. A plan for a canal from the Leominster Canal via Ludlow and Bishops Castle to the Montgomeryshire Canal near Welshpool was also cancelled, due to cost of construction. The Dearne and Dove Canal was authorised. The Barnsley Canal was authorised.

1793, The Ellesmere Canal was authorised. The idea was to link the rivers Severn, Dee and Mersey. There was a branch to Weston, to which lime would be carried from the quarries at Llanymynech; from here the lime, as fertiliser, couold be carried by road to Shrewsbury, and a canal branch extension from Weston to Shrewsbury was eventually planned. The Grand Junction Canal was authorised, running from the Oxford canal at Braunston to thre River Thames at Brentford, 93.5 miles.

23 August 1793, Construction work began on the Ulverston Canal, Lancashire, a short 1.25 mile canal to link the town to the sea, which had receded from the town.

1792, The Ashton under Lyne Canal was authorised. The Wyrley and Essington Canal was authorised.

1791, The Gloucester to Hereford Canal and the Kington and Leominster to Stourport Canal were authorised. The Neath Canal and the Manchesterk, Bolton and Bury Canal were authorised. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal was authorised

1790, The Oxford Canal opened in full, down to Oxford (see 1778).

28 July 1790, The Forth and Clyde Canal opened (construction began 1768).

1789, The Cromford Canal was authorised.

4/1789, The Sapperton Canal Tunnel linking Stroud to the Thames, opened; construction had begun in 1784 (authorised 1783). The Thames and Severn Canal was now fully open. It had the major disadvantage of significant water losses through the oolite limestone country, in an area short of water supplies anyway.

1785, The Dudley canal tunnel was authorised, to connect the Dudley Canal with the Birmingam Canal at Tipton. However the owners of the Birmingham Canal saw this connection as a means of divertuing Severn-bound traffic from their route, which went up to Autherley (Aldersley) Junction at Wolverhampton, and managed to get a clause in the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Act that (ostensibly to conserve water) no connection was to be made; the �Worcester Bar� was not pierced until 1815. The proprietors of the Dudley Canal now applied for authorisation to connect with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Selly Oak, by-passing Birmingham altogether via the Lappal Tunnel. Coal from the Netehrton mines would be able to reach points south east and north east of Birmingham without using the Birmingham Canal at all. The Lappal Tunnel opened in 1798. See also Stratford on Avon Canal, 1802.

1779, The Stroudwater Canal, linking Stroud, Gloucestershire, to the River Severn, opened, see 1730.

1779, The Chester Canal (authorised 1772) reached Nantwich. However the connection to Middlewich was not made for another fifty years (see 1 September 1835) because the Trent and Mersey Canal did not want an alternative route to the sea via the Rivers Dee or Weaver.

1778, The Oxford Canal opened from Banbury to Coventry. The Basingstoke Canal was authorised, although work was delayed by economic problems in the UK resulting from the American War of Independence.

1777, The Trent and Mersey Canal opened. Construction had begun near Burslem on 26 July 1766.

1777, The Chesterfield Canal opened.

1774, The Bradford Canal completed.

1772, The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal opened. The Bridgewater Canal extended to the Mersey at Runcorn. The Bridgewater Canal halved the price of coal in Manchester, from 7d per hundredweight to 3 � d, and also made uneconomic pits worthwhile. The Chester Canal was authorised.

30 September 1772, James Brindley, who built the Bridgewater, Grand Trunk (Grand Union), and Manchester Canals, died at Turnhurst in Staffordshire. The Grand Trunk Canal reduced freight rates between Manchester and Lichfield from �4 per ton to �1 per ton; canal toll and carrier�s charges amounted to around 2.5 d per ton-mile (�1.25 per ton-mile in 2015 prices)..

6 November 1769, The Birmingham Canal (authorised 1768) was completed, from Wednesbury to Birmingham. This caused the price of coal in Wednesbury to drop from 13 shillings a ton to 7 shillings a ton.

17 July 1761, The Bridgewater Canal, from Worsley to Manchester, built by James Brindley, was opened (construction began 1758). It was built to carry coal to Manchester, but by 1778 it also operated a passenger service, fares were as follows (single fares; day return was 1.5x the single). This canal ceased to transpot coal in 1887.


Runcorn to Worsley

Worsley to Mancehster

Front seats

42d (17.5p)

12d (5p)

Rear seats

27d (11p)

6d (2.5p)

Prices in 2015 were approximately 110 x the level of 1778.

The tunnelers who dug the underground canal to the coal mines were paid 1s 8d (9p) a day. Wages in 2015 were approximately 1,750x those of 1759.

There was also a network of underground canals to transport coal from the mine, and an underground inclined plane (built 9/1795 � 1797, disused from 1822.

1757, The first stage of the Sankey Canal completed (begun 1755) from St Helens to carry coal to the Mersey. Final stage completed 1763). See 1694.

1734, The River Irwell was made navigable up as far as Manchester, with 8 locks between Manchester and Warrington (Act of Parliament 1720).

1733, The River Weaver was made navigable up to the Northwich salt fields (Act of Parliament 1720).

21 May 1736, The Duke of Bridgewater, canal pioneer, was born.

1730, The Stroudwater Canal, from the River Severn to Stroud, was authorised. This was the first stage in connecting the Thames with the Severn. However it met strong opposition from the miilowners (who feared that water lost as noats passed through locks would take away theor source of power) that a stipulation was made that no boats were to pass between 14 August and 15 October without the mill owners� consent. In fact no construction began and a second Act for this canal was passed in 1759. To placate the millowners, no locks were to be used; rather a crane would be employed at eac change of water level to transfer cargo between boats. The canal work began but an injunction stopped work and a third SAct had to be obtained in 1776. The Stroudwater Canal finally opened in 1779.

1726, The River Don was made navigable as far up as Tinsley (3 miles below Sheffield). The project to make the Don navigable had been proposed by Sheffield cutlery firms back in 1697, but was opposed and delayed for a while by Bawtry merchants who would lose if trade was diverted away from the River Idle / River Trent route.

1725, The Grosvenor Canal, a short canal in London, was opened. Most of it is now buried beneath Victoria railway station.

1705, The improvement of the River Stour Navigation up to Sudbiury was autrhorised.

1698, An Act of Parliament sanctioned the improvement for navigation of the River Aire and River Calder. York traders feared a diversion of trade from their own river, the River Ouse.

1694, An Act of Parliament authorised the making of the River Mersey navigable as far up as Sankey (see 1734, 1757).

1571, An Act of Parliament sanctioned the City of London to finance the improvement of the River Lea. This enabled more and cheaper food to reach London.

1564, The Exeter Canal, 4 miles, opened; the frst in Britain to use double locks.


Non-GB Canals (see below for specific countries)

23 December 2014, Construction work began on a canal across Nicaragua, 173 miles long but designed to take larger ships than the Panama Canal. The US$ 50 billion (UK� 32 billion) project would displace 29,000 people and there were fears that freshwater Lake Managua would be polluted. The Chinese-backed project, headed by Hong Kong basedHKND, was granted a renewable 50-year concession to build and operate the canal, in return for a US$ 10 billion operating fee. President Ortega�s Sandinista administration promised the project would create thousands of jobs during construction, but many Nicaraguans perceived the government as corrupt.

15 August 1914, The 40-mile long Panama Canal opened, 82 km; construction work had begun on 4 July 1914. The first ship to pass through the canal, this day, was the SS Ancon. Ships passed through three locks 30 metres wide and 300 metres long, rising to 85 feet above sea level at Lake Gatun, which had been created by damming a river, before descending through more locks. Since 1914 over one million ships have used the Canal, saving 3,000 miles and eight days of travel around Cape Horn. In 2013 12,036 vessels, carrying 319 million tonnes of cargo, transitted the Canal, paying US$ 1,800 million in tolls. 86.7 million tons of this cargo originated from the USA, and 49.8 million tons was destined for the USA. In 2013 some 3% of world maritime cargo, worth US$ 270 billion (UK� 160 million at 2014 exchange rates). However many 21st century cargo ships are too big for the Canal, and in 2006 the Panama Canal Authority announced expansion plans, costed at US$ 3,200 million, due for completion in 2016.

6 August 1912, U.S. President Taft asked Congress to fix maximum tolls for the Panama Canal.

1896, The Suez Canal, Egypt, 172 km, opened. See Egypt for history and events of this Canal.

1893, The Corinth Canal, Greece, 6.3km, was completed.

19 April 1850, The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty between the USA and UK was signed. It was an agreement on the terms for building a canal across central America; under this treaty, neither party would exercise exclusive control over such a canal or fortify it.

1504, The Republic of Venice approached the Sultan of Turkey, proposing the construction of a canal at Suez.

620, The Grand Canal, China, over 1,900 km, was completed.

520 BCE, Persian Emperor Darius I dug a canal between the Nile and the Red Sea.

609 BCE, Construction began on a new canal from the Nile to the Red Sea. Begun by Pharaoh Necho, it was never completed, but cost the lives of more than 120,000 men.

1380 BCE, A canal was constructed by Pharaoh Amenhotep III from the Nile to the Red Sea using slave labour (see 609 BCE).


1939, The Albert Canal, Belgium, 129 km, was completed (construction began 1930), It was built to link industrial Liege with the port of Antwerp; also as part of Belgium�s defences.

1922, The modernised Brussels to Rupel Canal Maritime, 30 km, opened (see 1561)

1907, The Bruges to Zeebrugge Canal opened, 10km.

1832, The Charleroi to Brussels Canal was completed.

1827, The Terneuzen to Ghent Canal, 18km, opened, linking the city of Ghent to Terneuzen on the Scheldt Estuary.

1622, A canal from Brussels to Dunkirk, 73 km, was opened.

1561, The original Brussels to River Rupel Canal opened (see 1922). It had 5 locks to descend 10 metres, and could take small seagoing vessels.


10 August 1954, The Saint Lawrence Seaway project was officially launched. It was cpmpleted in 1959.

1932, The Welland Canal, Canada, 42 km, opened.

1856, The Wabash and Erie Canal opened after 24 years of construction. Cholera, and money losses to embezzlers, had plagued the project. However after 4 years the section below Terre Haute closed, and the rest was shut down in 1874, was railways made the canals obsolete.


65, The Grand Canal of China, which eventually grew to a length of 1,770 km, was started. It was completed in 1327, and connected Beijing to the Yangtze River.

In 983, the provincial transportation commissioner Chaio Wei-Yo built the first recorded chamber or pound lock in the world, on the Grand Canal. This was a chamber where the water level can be gradually raised or lowered; so-called flash locks had been in use for centuries. One side-benefit of the piund lock was that boats going upstream need no longer be dragged up an incline; many boats broke up during this process, and crowds would gather, hoping for this so they could rush in and steal the cargo. Pound locks did not appear in the West until the 14th century.


1933, The canal between Marseilles and Arles opened.

1892, The Maritime Loire Canal, Le Carnet to Martiniere, opened (construction began 1881), enabliing ships to reach Nantes.

1837, Construction began on the Canal de Marseille, 156 km, completed 1848.

1836, The Oise Canal was completed.

1832, The Canal Monsieur, linking the Rhone and the Rhine, was completed.

1818, The French Bourbon Government, now the post Napoleonic occupation forces had been withdrawn, began an extensive and systematic public programme of canal building, adding some 900 km to the 1,200lkm of canal already existing in France by 1830. This possibly held back railway development in France.

1810, The St Quentin Canal, between the Somme and the Scheldt, was completed (work had begun in 1803).

1681, The Canal du Midi, (Languedoc Canal) France, was completed, 214 km long, linking the Bay of Biscay with the Mediterranean. The project was authorised 10/1666.

1642, Loire � Seine Briare Canal completed (begun 1604).


30 October 1938, The Mitteland Canal in Germany, linking the Rhine to the Elbe, was opened.

1916, The Weser-Elbe Canal opened.

1915, The Ems-Weser Canal opened.

1914, The Rhine-Herne Canal opened.

1900, The Elbe and Trave Canal, Germany, 70 km, opened.

1899, The Dortmund-Ems Canal was completed.

19 June 1895. The Kiel Canal between the Baltic and North Sea, 98 km, was opened by German Emperor Wilhelm II. Construction began in 6/1887.

3 June 1887, The foundation stone of the opening lock of the Kiel Canal was laid.

1858, The Berlin-Spandau Ship Canal opened (work began 1849).

1850, The Landwehr and Louisenstadt Canal opened (work began 1845).

1838, The Oranienburg Canal was opened (work began 1831).

1806, The Klodnitz Canal, linking the Upper Silesian coalfields with the Oder, was completed,

1772, Construction of the Bromberg Canal, linking the Oder and Vistula, began (completed 1775).

1766, The Fehrbellin Canal was completed,

1742, Construction of the Elbe � Havel canal began.

1668, Oder � Spree canal completed (begun 1661).


6 August 1893. The 3 � mile Corinth Canal opened in Greece. Cut up to 300 feet deep, it took ten years to build.


1939, The Newry Canal closed.

1931, The Strabane Canal closed.

1929, The Ulster Canal closed.

1858, The Ballinamore and Ballyconnel Canal opened (construction began 1846).

1845, The Royal Canal was bought by the Midland Great Western Railway; canal traffic began to decline. The canal was closed in the 1950s.

1830, The Longford Branch of the Royal Canal opened.

1805, The Grand Canal finally opened. It had initially been authorised in 1715.

1796, The Strabane Canal, from Strabane to the River Foyle, 4 miles,opened.

1795, work began on the Lower Boyne Canal, from Drogheda to Slane. By 1800 this canal had reached Navan. One mile of a proposed extension up to Trim was also cut before being abandoned.

1 January 1794, The Laggan Navigation opened; it was authorised under an Act of 1753; construction began in 1756. The lower section up to Lisburn opened in 1765 but work halted, due to flooding risks and lack of funds. Work recommenced in 1782 and the link up to Lough Neagh was completed on 1 January 1794.

1759, The Barrow Canal, partly river navigation, was commenced.

1756, Construction of the Grand Canal began. It opened to Tullamore in 1798 and to Shannon in 1804. After the railways came in the 18560s the canal declined. The last cargo boat passed through in 1960 and the canal then decayed. It has been restored since 1986 as a leisure facility.

3/1742, The Newry Canal, from Lough Neagh southwards to Newry, 35 miles, opened, facilitating coal shipments to Dublin,, Construction had begun in 1731.

Netherlands, There were two major periods of 19th C. canal construction in The Netherlands, from 1815-30, and from 1849 onwards.

1935, The Princess Juliana Canal, Netherlands, 33 km, opened.

1893, The Vaart Rhine Canal opened (construction began 1881). This links Amsterdam to Utrecht.

1892, The Deurne Canal opened, River Maas to Helenaveen (construction began 1876)

1888, The Almelo to Noordhorn Canal opened (construction began 1884)

1888, The Overjysel Canal opened (construction began 1884)

1884, The Stieltjes Canal opened (construction began 1880)

1880, The Stadskanaal (State Canal) opened (construction began 1877), connecting to Drente.

1876, The Rietdeep Canal opened (construction began 1873), linking Groningen to the Lauwers Zee.

1876, The North Sea Canal opened, linking Amsterdam to the North Sea (construction began 1865). It cost �3 million equivalent, and utilised the bed of the River Y, then cut across the sand dunes at Ymuiden.

1876, The Ems Ship Canal opened, Groningen to Delfzyl (construction began 1866)

1872, The New Waterway Canal opened linking Rotterdam to the North Sea (construction began 1866). It cost �2.5 million equivalent to build, and utlilised the Scheur river channel north of Rozenburg, cutting across the Hook of Holland.

1869, The Apeldoorn to Dieren Canal opened (construction began 1859)

1866, The South Beveland Canal opened (construction began 1862)

8 March 1865, Construction of the Amsterdam � North Sea Canal began (30 km). It opened in 1876.

1862, The North Williams Canal opened, Assen to Groningen (construction began 1856)

1858, The Almelo Canal opened.

1858, The Orange Canal opened (construction began 1853)

1825, The North Holland Canal, Amsterdam to Helder, opened.


19 April 1850, The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty between the USA and UK was signed. It was an agreement on the terms for building a canal across Nicaragua; under this treaty, neither party would exercise exclusive control over such a canal or fortify it. The US and the UK each had territorial interests in Central America, and were suspicious of each other�s activities in the region. Ultimately this Treaty was superseded by a similar neutralisation policy regarding the Panama Canal under the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1902.


1964, The Volga-Baltic Ship Canal opened, linking Leningrad (St Petersburg) to the Caspian.

1937, The Moscow Volga Canal, 129 km, opened.

1933, The Baltic � White Sea Canal opened. It had been dug under Stalin by convict slave labour.


1942, The Falsterbo Canal, 1.6 km, opened.

1916, The Trollhatte Canal, 87km, opened.

1832, The Gota Canal, Sweden, 400 km, opened.


1927, The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, 31 km, opened.

1916, The Beaumont to Port Arthur Canal, 64 km, opened.

1914, The Cape Cod Ship Canal opened, 29km, Buzzard�s Bay to Cape Cod.

1914, The Houston Ship Canal opened, 80km, connecting Houston to Galveston Bay.

1907, The Atchafalaya Bay Canal, Louisiana, opened, linking the Atchafalaya River and Moirgan City with the Gulf of Mexico.

1900, The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal opened, 48 km.

1877, The canal to Keokuk, Iowa, 14 km, opened.

1856, The Wabash and Erie Canal opened after 24 years contruction, with considerable loss of life to cholera and loss of money to embezzlers. The canal ran 758 km to Evansville on the Ohio River, However dsue to competiton from the railways, the section below Terre haute closed down 4 years later, and the reaminder closed in 1874.

1855, The Sault-Saint-Marie (Soo) Ship Canal opened, linking Chicago to the large iron ore deposits of northern Michigan.

1850, The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal opened froim Georgetown to Cumberland, 299km, opened (construction began 1828).

1845, The Miami and Erie Canal, 410 km from Cincinatti to Toledo, opened.

1837, The Pennsylvania Canal was opened, spurring the development of Pittsburgh.

1836, Construction began on the Whitewater Canal, terminating at Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

1834, The Delaware and Raritan Canal opened, 72 km from New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Bordentown, Pennsylvania.

1831, The Morris Canal, 163 km, opened between Newark, New Jersey, and Easton, Pennsylvania; it mainly carried coal.

1829, The Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, 21.7 km, was completed

1828, The Delaware and Hudson Canal, 98km, opened between Kingston (New York) and Port Jervis on the Delaware River, where it connected to the 81 km Lackwanna Canal to Honesdale, Pennsylvania. It reached Cumberland, Maryland, in 1850; however the railway had arrived there in 1842, making the 297 km canal, with its 74 locks, obsolete. Plans to extend the canal to Pittsburgh were abandoned, but it remained in use until 1924.

1828, The Welland Sea Canal opened, connecting Lake Erie with Lake Ontario and enabling shipping to avoid the Niagara Falls.

26 October 1825, The Erie Canal, linking New York with the Great Lakes via Niagara and the Hudson River, begun 4 July 1817, was completed. Influenced by Governor DeWitt Clinton the New York state legislature agreed to fund the US$ 7 million project. The canal, 363 miles long, 40 foot wide, 4 foot deep, with 82 locks, would make New York the principal port of America.

4 July 1817, Construction work began on the Erie Canal; actually called the New York State Barge Canal.The canal opened on 26 October 1825.


1964, The Volga-Baltic Ship Canal opened, 850 km, to link Leningrad to the Caspian Sea,

31 May 1952, The Volga � Don Canal was opened (105 km).

1937, In the USSR, the Moscow-Volga Ship Canal, 130km,opened, linking Moscow to the River Volga.

21 August 1933, In the USSR, the White Sea Canal opened. It was built mostly with forced labour.


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