Q:

How did the United States get access to the Canal Zone in Panama?

A:

After Panama won its independence from Colombia in 1903, the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was negotiated, which gave the United States the 10-mile strip that is now the Panama Canal. The dream of the Panama Canal began much sooner, however. The British and Americans plotted together throughout the 19th century to devise an abbreviated trade route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In fact, the first treaty to allocate land for a canal was the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850. The canal was originally going to pass through Nicaragua. France had better luck in Panama and actually began building in 1880. Workers, however, were unable to overcome a series of setbacks involving disease, and the French ultimately had to abandon the project. By 1902, the United States had shifted its focus from Nicaragua to Panama. When the United States' proposal was rejected by Colombia, which then ruled over Panama, because the Colombian parliament did not think that the United States was offering enough money for the land, the United States then shifted its political focus to support the revolution of the Panamanians. The United States military provided support in helping Panama gain independence from Colombia and, once the independence was won, gained the right to build what is now the Panama Canal.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why did the United States want to build the Panama Canal?

    A:

    The United States wanted to build the Panama Canal to shorten the ocean journey from the East Coast to the West Coast. Instead of making the long voyage around the southern tip of South America, ships could make the trip in less than half the time.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long did it take to build the Panama Canal?

    A:

    The Panama Canal took approximately 10 years to construct. The U.S. took over the project from the French in 1904, and the canal was officially opened on August 15, 1914. At the peak of its excavation, workers dug out the equivalent of the English Channel Tunnel (or Chunnel) once every 14 weeks.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What was the reason for the Panama Canal?

    A:

    The United States built the Panama Canal to create a relatively short, direct link for commercial and military shipping traffic between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. France attempted to build a canal there in the late 1800s, but gave up the project. The United States completed the construction between 1904 and 1914.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Panama famous for?

    A:

    Although Panama is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests and rich culture, it is primarily famous for the Panama Canal. Sometimes called the eighth wonder of the world, this man-made canal cuts 48 miles across the Isthmus of Panama to form a connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This remarkable feat of engineering provides a faster, safer route for cruise ships, freighters and other marine traffic.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore