1821-1903 1918-1945

Panama Independenct, 1903-1918

In 1903 the U.S. government signed the HAY-HERRAN TREATY with Colombia, granting the U.S. a stretch of territory to construct the canal. The Colombian senate refused to sign it; the U.S. encouraged an insurrection, which lead to the establishment of the Republic of Panama (1903).
Work on the construction of the canal lasted 11 years - it was opened in August 1914, just when World War I was to break out. Although the CANAL ZONE had been leased to the US for 99 years, the canal meant employment for a considerable part of Panama's population; here lay the largest cities, Panama City (not inside the zone, but very close), Colon.
As the republic went through a turbulent history, U.S. forces were landed several times, to secure the canal - in 1908, 1912, 1918.
Panama, with it's close ties to the U.S.A., declared war on the Central Powers late in World War I, without dispatching combat troops.
In 1910, Panama's population was about 420.000.
US troops landed in Panama (outside the Canal Zone) in 1904, 1912 and 1918.

Articles from Infoplease : Panama Canal, Panama
Article from Catholic Encyclopedia : Panama
Minor Military Deployments and Actions, from Simonides Warzone US troop deployments 1833-1992
DOCUMENTS List of Presidents of Panama, from World Statesmen
Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty (1903), from Avalon Project at Yale Law School; also from Modern History Sourcebook; also from American Historical Documents
The Recognition of Panama : Address Delievered at Massachusetts Reform Club, December 5, 1903. by Moorfield Storey, from Anti-Imperialism in the United States, 1898-1935
The Panama Affair of 1903 : Roosevelt--Hay Diplomacy. Open Letter to John Hay by D. H. Chamberlain, NY Times 1904, from Anti_imperialism in the United States, 1898-1935
Ramon Valdez on Panama's Declaration of War, 7 April 1917, from First World War.com
REFERENCE Article : Panama, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 p.1092 on events of 1912) [G]
Article : Panama, in : Statesman's Year Book 1905 pp.972-976 (on events of 1904) [G]
VIDEOS Modern Marvels : Panama Canal, documentary, 50 minutes, not captioned

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on October 5th 2006

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