Navigating the Legal History of the Panama Canal: From its Construction to Today
The Panama Canal is an iconic engineering feat that impacts global trade and economy. In this article, we will explore the fascinating legal history of the Canal, from its beginnings to how it has influenced international relations and global commerce.
Involvement of France and the United States
Alexander, who was at the closing ceremony of the IDB Board of Governors held in Panama, added that the country generally grows more than the region.
The idea of constructing a canal in Panama dates back to the 16th century. France's involvement began in 1879 when Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained a concession from the Colombian government to build a sea-level canal in Panama. However, the French project failed.
In the early 20th century, the United States showed interest in constructing a canal in Central America. Following the failure of the French project, the U.S. government negotiated the Herrán-Hay Treaty with Colombia. However, the Colombian Senate rejected the treaty in 1903.
Shortly thereafter, with support from the United States, Panama declared independence from Colombia. Just 15 days later, Panama and the United States signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, granting the U.S. perpetual control of a 10-mile-wide zone across Panama. Construction of the Panama Canal began under U.S. control in 1904 and was inaugurated in 1914.
Torrijos-Carter Treaty and Canal Handover
The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was criticized in Panama for the lack of Panamanian representation and participation in its negotiation. By the mid-20th century, tensions between Panama and the United States led to the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties in 1977, negotiated by Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos and U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
These treaties stipulated the abolition of the United States' perpetual control over the Canal Zone and the gradual handover of the Canal to Panama. On December 31, 1999, full control of the Canal was transferred to Panama. Since then, the Panama Canal Authority, an autonomous government entity, has been in charge of the administration, maintenance, and operation of the Canal.