William Kennish (born 1799, in Maughold, Isle of Man, died, March 19, 1862 in New York City), was an engineer, inventor, explorer, scientist, and poet, known primarily for inventions developed while he served in the British Royal Navy (1821-1841). They ranged from improvements for artillery to navigation and steering devices.
After retiring from the Navy, Kennish worked as a schoolteacher on the Isle of Man. But in 1849, he immigrated to the United States for more opportunities. He began surveying gold lands in Colombia, South America, for firms based in New York City. In 1855 he completed a report on a potential river acqueduct or canal across the northwest isthmus of present-day Colombia, using the Atrato River and emptying into Bahia Humboldt, Chocó and the Pacific Ocean. That year Congress approved a joint military expedition of a US Navy and Army party to explore this, and Kennish acted as their guide. He later died in New York.
Kennish was born in the Parish of Maughold, on the Isle of Man, in a cottage at Cornaa on the Douglas-Ramsey Road. His parents were farmers, and he learned farming from his father. He grew up speaking Manx as his first language. He knew very little English until after he became a seaman in the Royal Navy at the age of 22. He learned English and rose to the rank of Master Carpenter by the time he was 27. In October 1826, he married Mary Byford, of Gillingham, Chatham, Kent, England.
Between 1827 and 1832, while in the service of the Royal Navy, he invented a system ("A Method for Concentrating the Fire of a Broadside") for improving the aiming of naval artillery. Other inventions included a fuze for a shell, and a system for floating naval artillery to shore for land use. He invented a marine theodolite, which was a key element of his improved method. He proposed the practice of painting naval vessels grey to reduce the distortion and decay caused by solar radiation on black-painted timbers. He also worked on creating an artificial horizon for navigation; a[n] automatic depth-sounding instrument; a method of drowning the magazine of a ship of war; an hydraulic ventilator; [and] a hydrostatic diving machine[.]
When the Royal Navy became interested in steam propulsion, between 1832 and 1840, Kennish designed several steam engines and an early screw propeller; but the Royal Navy did not take up his ideas. Disenchanted, he retired from the Royal Navy in November 1841. He worked for the Civilian Architect's Office at Woolwich Dockyard, London, until March 1844, when he and his family departed to settle on the Isle of Man.
After leaving the Royal Navy and his scientific pursuits, Kennish began writing poetry about 1840. His collection of poems, Mona's Isle and Other Poems, was published in 1844 in London,and was promoted in newspapers on the Isle of Man.
In 1845 Kennish was hired as a parochial school master in Ballasalla but was not successful. In debt, he was imprisoned for debt for a brief time that year in Castle Rushen, Isle of Man. Shortly after this the debt was resolved, and Kennish was hired by the Royal Navy to conduct surveys of the coastline of the Isle of Man. Also about this time, he invented a pneumatic tube system to convey messages and suggested its use to the Admiralty. They did not adopt it but it was later used by the General Post Office in London.He promoted the idea after immigrating to the United States, and it became widely used there in the years after his death.
In 1849, Kennish immigrated to the United States for more opportunities. He soon began surveying gold-bearing land in Chocó Department, Colombia, in South America. In 1855 he planned a route for an inter-oceanic river acqueduct across the northwest isthmus in this province, for the Hope Association of New York. His report on his survey of this proposed canal route was included in The Practicality and Importance of a Ship Canal to Connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, published in 1855 by George F. Nesbitt & Co. of New York.According to his papers, Kennish proposed to use part of the Atrato River (which flows north into the Atlantic), and possibly its tributary Rio Truando, to create a river acqueduct and inter-oceanic route across the isthmus of northwest present-day Colombia, through Nerqua Pass and the valley of the Nerqua, to empty into Bahía Humbolt on the Pacific Ocean side.
That year the US Congress approved a joint US Navy-Army military expedition to explore Kennish's proposed route in Chocó Department, Colombia. He was chosen as guide for the expedition.
Kennish died in New York City in 1862.
Colombia, which then controlled all of the isthmus, rejected an offer from the US in the 19th century to build a canal across it. No further United States action was taken on a canal until after Panama revolted against Colombia and became independent in 1903. The Panamanians "negotiated a treaty with the United States that created a Canal Zone 10 miles (16 km) wide under U.S. sovereignty in exchange for an agreement by the United States to build the canal and to provide a regular annual payment to Panama. Although the U.S. government later agreed to pay $25 million to Colombia, the episode embittered Colombian-U.S. relations for many years."The canal was constructed from 1904 to 1914.
The Republic of Colombia is situated largely in the northwest of South America, with some territories falling within the boundaries of Central America. It is bordered to the northwest by Panama; to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; and it shares maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
The history of Panama refers to the Isthmus of Panama region's long history that occurred in Central America, from Pre-Columbian cultures, during the Spanish colonial era, through independence and the current country of Panama.
Panama is a country located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. Panama is located on the narrow and low Isthmus of Panama.
The Panama Canal is an artificial 82 km (51 mi) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. Canal locks are at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m (85 ft) above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. The original locks are 32.5 m (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016. The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016. The new locks allow transit of larger, neo-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo.
The Panama Canal Railway is a railway line linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in Central America. The route stretches 47.6 miles (76.6 km) across the Isthmus of Panama from Colón (Atlantic) to Balboa. Because of the difficult physical conditions of the route and state of technology, the construction was renowned as an international engineering achievement, one that cost US$8 million and the lives of an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 workers. Opened in 1855, the railway preceded the Panama Canal by half a century; the ship canal was later constructed parallel to the railway.
The Darién Gap is a break across the North and South American continents within Central America, consisting of a large watershed, forest and mountains in the northern portion of Colombia's Chocó Department and Panama's Darién Province.
Darién is a province in Panama whose capital city is La Palma. With an area of 11,896.5 km2 (4,593.3 sq mi), it is located at the eastern end of the country and bordered to the north by the province of Panamá and the region of Kuna Yala. To the south, it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Colombia. To the east, it borders Colombia; to the west, it borders the Pacific Ocean and the province of Panama.
Chocó Department is a department of Colombia known for its large Afro-Colombian population. It is in the west of the country, and is the only Colombian department to have coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It contains all of Colombia's border with Panama. Its capital is Quibdó.
Quibdó is the capital city of Chocó Department, in western Colombia, and is located on the Atrato River. The municipality of Quibdó has an area of 3,337.5 km² and a population of 129,237, predominately Afro Colombian and Zambo Colombians.
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal. Like many isthmuses, it is a location of great strategic value.
Isaac Grier Strain was born March 4, 1821, in Roxbury, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, of Scots-Irish origin, and died May 14, 1857, in Aspinwall, Colombia. At age 17 he joined the U.S. Navy to apprentice at sea; he became a midshipman.
The Atrato River is a river of northwestern Colombia. It rises in the slopes of the Western Cordillera and flows almost due north to the Gulf of Urabá, where it forms a large, swampy delta. Its course crosses the Chocó Department, forming that department's border with neighboring Antioquia in two places. Its total length is about 650 km (400 mi), and it is navigable as far as Quibdó, the capital of the department.
The Pacific/Chocó natural region is one of the five major natural regions of Colombia. Ecologically, this region belongs entirely to the Chocó Biogeographic Region and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. It also has areas with the highest rainfall in the world, with areas near Quibdo, Chocó reaching up to 13,000 mm (510 in) annually.
Riosucio is a municipality and town in the Department of Chocó, Colombia. The municipality and town are located in the Atrato River basin, on the Chocoan side of Urabá, a region spanning the departments Chocó and Antioquia.
David Hoadley was an American businessman, and an executive in the banking and railroad industries. He is best known for taking over the Panama Railway in November 1851 as the company faced bankruptcy while attempting to build a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama. Hoadley was able to stabilize the company as well as complete the railroad a year ahead of schedule.
In the history of Panama, the earliest known inhabitants were the Cueva and Coclé tribes, but they were drastically reduced by disease and fighting when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. But some moved out of Panama to have children and increase population.
Frederick M. Kelley (1822–1905) was a Wall Street banker, who sponsored 7 expeditions to discover the purported "Sea Level Interoceanic Canal" of the Isthmus of Darien.
The Colombia–Panama border is the 225 km (139-mile) long international boundary between Colombia and Panama. It also splits the Darién Gap, a break across the South American and North American continents. This large watershed, forest and mountainous area is in the northern portion of Colombia's Chocó Department and Panama's Darién Province.
John Augustus Lloyd (1800–1854) was an English engineer and surveyor. He was involved in an early survey for a Panama Canal, and undertook works in the Indian Ocean.
The Chocó-Darién moist forests (NT0115) is an ecoregion in the west of Colombia and east of Panama. The region has extremely high rainfall, and the forests hold great biodiversity. The northern and southern parts of the ecoregion have been considerably modified for ranching and farming, and there are threats from logging for paper pulp, uncontrolled gold mining, coca growing and industrialisation, but the central part of the ecoregion is relatively intact.