Which country assumed control of the Panama Canal?

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By Kristy Tolley

Which Country Built the Panama Canal?

The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, making it a vital waterway for international trade. The canal was constructed by the French in the late 1800s, but they failed to complete the project due to financial difficulties and high mortality rates from diseases like yellow fever and malaria.

The United States later took over the construction of the canal in 1904 and completed the project in 1914. The construction of the canal was significant in that it provided a shorter route for ships between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, saving them from having to travel around the southern tip of South America.

The Role of the United States in the Panama Canal

The United States played a significant role in the administration and governance of the Panama Canal throughout the 20th century. The US became involved in the construction of the canal after the French failed to complete it.

After the canal was completed, the US exercised control over the canal and the surrounding area, known as the Panama Canal Zone. The US maintained control of the canal zone for 85 years and had a significant military presence in the region. However, there were also many challenges and controversies surrounding US control, which led to resistance and calls for Panamanian sovereignty.

The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty and Control of the Canal

In 1903, the US negotiated the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty with Panama, which granted the US control over a strip of land in Panama, known as the Panama Canal Zone, for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, and operating the canal. The treaty also gave the US the right to intervene in Panama to protect the canal’s security and to ensure the stability of the Panamanian government.

The treaty was highly controversial, as many Panamanians felt that it was unfair and gave too much control to the US. However, the treaty remained in effect for many years and served as the legal basis for US control of the canal.

The Panama Canal Zone: A U.S. Territory for 85 Years

After the construction of the canal, the US maintained control over the Panama Canal Zone for 85 years. The canal zone was a US territory that was separate from Panama, and the US had a significant military presence in the area to protect the canal’s security.

The canal zone was a vital part of the US’s military strategy, as it allowed for quick transportation of troops and equipment between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. However, there were also many controversies and challenges surrounding US control of the canal zone, including protests and calls for Panamanian sovereignty.

Resistance to U.S. Control of the Canal

Throughout the 20th century, there were many protests and calls for Panamanian sovereignty over the canal. Many Panamanians felt that the US’s control of the canal was unfair and that it gave too much power to the US.

In the 1960s and 1970s, there were widespread protests and riots in Panama, calling for the US to hand over control of the canal to Panama. The US struggled to maintain control in the face of this resistance, and there was growing pressure to negotiate a new agreement that would give Panama more control over the canal.

The Torrijos–Carter Treaties: A Path to Panamanian Control

In 1977, the US negotiated the Torrijos–Carter Treaties with Panama, which established a schedule for the transfer of control of the canal to Panama. The treaties also granted Panama more control over the canal’s operations and finances.

The treaties were controversial in the US, as many Americans felt that they gave too much control to Panama. However, they were seen as a significant step towards Panamanian sovereignty over the canal.

Transfer of Control: A New Era for the Panama Canal

On December 31, 1999, the US officially handed over control of the Panama Canal to Panama, marking the end of 85 years of US control. The transfer of control was a significant moment in Panama’s history, as it marked the return of a vital national asset to Panamanian control.

The transfer of control was also seen as a significant milestone in the history of international relations, as it demonstrated the willingness of the US to work with other countries on issues of global importance.

Panama Takes Over Control of the Canal

After taking over control of the canal, Panama set about modernizing and upgrading the infrastructure to increase efficiency and capacity. The canal has become a vital hub for international trade, and it has played a significant role in Panama’s economy.

Panama has also worked to establish itself as a leader in the shipping industry, with plans to expand the canal to accommodate larger ships and to develop new ports and logistics facilities.

The Impact of the Canal on Panama’s Economy

The Panama Canal has had a significant impact on Panama’s economy, contributing to its growth and development. The canal generates significant revenue for the country, and it has helped to attract foreign investment and create jobs.

In recent years, Panama has become a hub for international trade, with the canal playing a vital role in connecting the Americas to global markets. The canal has also helped to diversify Panama’s economy, with the country becoming a major player in the shipping and logistics industry.

Modernization and Expansion of the Panama Canal

In 2016, the Panama Canal completed a major expansion project, which involved the construction of new locks to accommodate larger ships. The expansion project was a significant milestone in the history of the canal, as it increased its capacity and efficiency.

The expansion project was also seen as a significant step towards making the canal more competitive in the global shipping industry, as it can now accommodate larger ships that were previously unable to pass through the canal.

The Panama Canal in the 21st Century: A Global Hub

Today, the Panama Canal is a vital hub for international trade, connecting the Americas to global markets. The canal has become increasingly important in the 21st century, with growing demand for shipping and logistics services.

The canal has also become a symbol of Panama’s economic and political independence, as it represents the country’s ability to control a vital national asset and to compete in the global economy on its own terms.

The Importance of the Panama Canal for International Trade

The Panama Canal is a vital waterway for international trade, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and providing a shorter route for ships between the Americas and global markets. The canal plays a critical role in the global shipping industry, allowing ships to transport goods more efficiently and reducing transportation costs.

The canal has also had a significant impact on international relations, as it has brought countries together through trade and commerce. The canal is a symbol of the importance of cooperation and collaboration in the global economy, and it continues to play a vital role in shaping the world we live in today.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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