When was the heyday of canal building?

People have used canals to transport heavy goods for thousands of years. It is believed the first canals were built to join together existing rivers to make a transport route. Indeed, the city of Venice in Italy was built on a system of canals rather than roads; six thousand years ago the Aztec city of Tenochitlan was built with an impressive system of canals within it for transport.

However, the heyday of canal building was much more recent. The industrial revolution was responsible for the upsurge in canal building. There was a huge need during this era for cheap and easy ways to transport goods from factories to ports. Horse-drawn canal boats and steam-powered canal boats were faster than carrying cargo by horse-drawn carts along the road.

Fact File

Locks are an essential feature of any canal which needs to gain or lose height. A lock has gates that can be closed to control the water level in a section of the canal. Water is let into or taken from the section, raising or lowering the vessel inside.


Picture Credit : Google