The Panama Canal Zone was a strip of land across the Isthmus of Panama. The United States governed this area from 1903 to 1979. The Panama Canal, a waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, cuts through the zone. The zone came under Panama’s control after a treaty with the United States took effect in 1979.
A treaty between the United States and Panama established the Panama Canal Zone in 1903. This agreement gave the United States permanent control of a zone of land 10 miles (16 kilometers) wide and about 40 miles (64 kilometers) long. The U.S. completed the Panama Canal in 1914.
The United States and Panama had many arguments over American control of the Panama Canal Zone. In 1977, the two nations signed two new treaties that took effect in 1979. One treaty gave Panama authority over the zone as of 1979. It also promised Panama control of the canal starting in 1999. The other treaty gave the United States the right to defend the canal’sneutrality. Neutrality is the status of a government that does not take part in a war.
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