Atrato, a river of Colombia, interesting because it has repeatedly been made to bear a part in schemes for a ship-canal across the Isthmus of Panama. Rising on the Western Cordillera at an altitude of 10,560 feet, above sea-level, it runs 305 miles northward through low, swampy country, and falls by several mouths, interrupted by bars, into the Gulf of Darien. It is navigable by steamers for fully 250 miles, being 750 to 1,000 feet wide, and 8 to 70 feet deep. A route, surveyed by the United States Government in 1871, proposed to connect the Atrato and the Jurador, flowing into the Pacific, by a canal 48 miles long. At the Paris International Congress (1879), for deciding the best route for the interoceanic canal, that route was, with various others, discussed and rejected in favor of De Lesseps' line from Limon to Panama. Gold-dust is found in and about the Atrato.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.