The Erie Canal is a canal in New York that is part of the east-west, cross-state route of the New York State Canal System (formerly known as the New York State Barge Canal). Originally it ran about 363 miles (584 km) from Albany, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, at Lake Erie. It was built to create a navigable water route from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. First proposed in 1807, its construction began in 1817. The canal contains 36 locks and a total elevation differential of about 565 feet (172 m). It opened on October 26, 1825
James Geddes and Benjamin Wright, who laid out the route, were judges whose experience in surveying was in settling boundary disputes. Geddes had only used a surveying instrument for a few hours before his work on the Canal. Canvass White was a 27-year-old amateur engineer who persuaded Clinton to let him go to Britain at his own expense to study the canal system there. Nathan Roberts was a mathematics teacher and land speculator.
Many of the labourers working on the canal were Scots Irish, who had recently come to the United States as a group of about 5,000 from Northern Ireland