China’s Grand Canal

An example of how hard the Chinese work stands in the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal. To understand the significance, we will look at the Suez and Panama Canals first as a comparison.

China’s Grand Canal

In the 19th century, the French built a canal 100 miles across the Isthmus of Suez. When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom and 200 to 300 feet wide at the surface. About 20,000 ships use the canal each year. Source:

The Panama Canal was started in 1881 by the French but ended a failure. The Americans finished the canal between 1904 – 1914. The canal was 51-miles long.  Today, it handles over 12,000 ships a year. Source: The Panama Canal

When I was in grade school, we learned about the Panama Canal in glowing terms. I’m sure the French and British brag about the Suez Canal in their textbooks too.

Until my first trip to China in 1999, I had never heard of the Grand Canal, which is the oldest and longest man-made canal in the world at more than a thousand miles from Beijing to Hangzhou south of Shanghai.

China’s Grand Canal

The construction started almost five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ and was completed centuries later.  The canal is still in use today.  To finish it, the Pound lock was invented in the 10th century during the Song Dynasty. There are 24 locks and about 60 bridges.  Source: Wikipedia


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards


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China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

4 Responses to China’s Grand Canal

  1. […] the threat of widespread drought and famine, China’s Emperors started construction of the Grand Canal around 500 […]

  2. […] China's Grand Canal « iLook China […]

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lloyd Lofthouse. Lloyd Lofthouse said: China's Grand Canal: […]

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