On the west, however, rise the Rocky Mountains, that immense range which, commencing at the Straights of Magellan, follows the western coast of Southern America under the name of the Andes or the Cordilleras, until it crosses the Isthmus of Panama
, and runs up the whole of North America to the very borders of the Polar Sea.
It was a part of the great system of granite mountains which forms one of the most important and striking features of North America, stretching parallel to the coast of the Pacific from the Isthmus of Panama
almost to the Arctic Ocean; and presenting a corresponding chain to that of the Andes in the southern hemisphere.
No two marine faunas are more distinct, with hardly a fish, shell, or crab in common, than those of the eastern and western shores of South and Central America; yet these great faunas are separated only by the narrow, but impassable, isthmus of Panama
. Westward of the shores of America, a wide space of open ocean extends, with not an island as a halting-place for emigrants; here we have a barrier of another kind, and as soon as this is passed we meet in the eastern islands of the Pacific, with another and totally distinct fauna.
At the present time, if we divide America, not by the Isthmus of Panama
, but by the southern part of Mexico  in lat.
Located on the Isthmus of Panama
, the narrow bridge of land connects North and South America.
1698 - The Darien scheme begins with five ships, bearing about 1200 people, departing Leith for the Isthmus of Panama
. 1789 - Bastille Day.
Those privileged enough to have traveled on the waterway, as your correspondent recently did, would notice the locks - including the iconic Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks - serve as water lifts to raise or lower ships from the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans, depending on their North or Southbound routes, either side of the Isthmus of Panama
, to the artificial Gatun Lake 27 meters above sea level; the Canal's connecting water body for transit.
The author suggests that this was in part due to Spanish policies which affected the way in which goods could be acquired in the Philippines, and to the way in which they were imported into New Spain (Spanish territory north of the Isthmus of Panama
) and thence to Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and Spain itself.
The oceans parted millions of years ago when the Isthmus of Panama
joined North and South America, creating a divide in the water and the two isolated oceans we know today.
Adding a railway to the different modes of transport so far experienced, we crossed the Isthmus of Panama
from the Caribbean to the Pacific in a most civilised fashion.