Channels (some famous examples)
The Panama Canal is a major ship canal that traverses the Isthmus of Panama in Central America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Construction of the canal was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. It has had an enormous impact on shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, obviating the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 kilometres, well under half the distance of the previous 22,500 kilometre route around Cape Horn.
Suez Canal, artificial waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in northeastern Egypt; it connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez, an arm of the Red Sea. The canal provides a shortcut for ships operating between both European and American ports and ports located in southern Asia, eastern Africa, and Oceania.
See msn encharta.
Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal)
The Kiel Canal is the most frequently used man-made waterway in the world. It connects the North Sea with the East Sea and spares ships the longer way around the Skagerrak at the northern top of Danemark. The canal has a length of 99 kilometers and crosses Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) from the mouth of the Elbe (river) at the North Sea to the firth of Kiel (Kieler Förde) at the East Sea. It was built in the years 1887-1895 and has been opened in the year 1895.
Grand Canal of China
The Grand Canal of China is the longest canal (about 2000 km) in the world. It passes through Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC. In former times the Grand Canal served as the main artery between northern and southern China and was essential used for the transport of grain to Beijing.