President Theodore Roosevelt looked after the realization of a long-term United juniorg8.coms goal—a trans-isthmian canal. Throughout the 1800s, American and British leaders and also businessmales wanted to ship products quickly and also cheaply between the Atlantic and also Pacific coastlines.

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Roosevelt on a digging machine during building of the Panama Canal, circa 1908. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

To that end, in 1850 the United juniorg8.coms and Great Britain negotiated the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty to rein in rivalry over a proposed canal through the Central Amerihave the right to Republic of Nicaragua. The Anglo-Amerideserve to canal, but, never went past the planning stages. French attempts to develop a canal via Panama (province of Colombia) progressed further. Led by Ferdinand de Lesseps—the builder of the Suez Canal in Egypt—the French began excavating in 1880. Malaria, yellow fever, and other tropical diseases conspired versus the de Lesseps project and after 9 years and a loss of around 20,000 stays, the French attempt went bankrupt. In spite of such setbacks, Amerideserve to interest in a canal ongoing unabated. The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1901 abrogated the earlier Clayton-Bulwer Treaty and also licensed the United juniorg8.coms to construct and also regulate its own canal. Following heated controversy over the location of the proposed canal, on June 19, 1902, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of building the canal via Panama. Within 6 months, Secretary of John Hay signed a treaty via Colombian Foregime Minister Tomás Herrán to construct the brand-new canal. The financial terms were unacceptable to Colombia’s congress, and also it rejected the offer.

President Roosevelt responded by dispatching UNITED warships to Panama City (on the Pacific) and Colón (on the Atlantic) in assistance of Panamanian self-reliance. Colombian troops were unable to negotiate the jungles of the Darien Strait and Panama asserted self-reliance on November 3, 1903. The freshly claimed Republic of Panama instantly called Philippe Bunau-Varilla (a French engineer that had been affiliated in the previously de Lesseps canal attempt) as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. In his brand-new role, Bunau-Varilla negotiated the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty of 1903, which offered the USA with a 10-mile wide strip of land for the canal, a one-time $10 million payment to Panama, and also an yearly annuity of $250,000. The United juniorg8.coms also agreed to guarantee the independence of Panama.

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Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal symbolized UNITED technological prowess and also financial power. Although UNITED manage of the canal eventually came to be an irritant to U.S.-Panamanian relations, at the time it was heralded as a significant foreign policy success.