Erie Canal

Image: Erie Canal.
Source: Courtesy of Kume Museum of Art.

The Iwakura Mission traveled north to Syracuse and Niagara Falls on a track that ran beside the Erie Canal. Kume wrote it was, “one of the best-known canals in the world,” and that its “gently flowing waters” were a “vital waterway” in the nation. Completed in 1825, the Canal connected the Hudson River with the Great Lakes Basin. This link gave New York City a great advantage over other seaports – it was connected to both the Atlantic Ocean and the interior of America. At the time of the mission, the canal’s dimensions had been expanded, and boats with a capacity of 240 tons were able to carry commercial goods and supplies along its more than 300-mile-long route.

Image: Jackson, William Henry. Erie Canal at Little Falls. Detroit Publishing Co. [Between 1880-1897.] Photograph. Library of Congress.

Kunitake, Kume. “The Journey Through the Northern States, 2.” In Japan Rising: The Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe, edited by Chushichi Tsuzuki and R. Jules Young, 79-82. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “History and Culture: A National Treasure.” Accessed February 10, 2022.