US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly
signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of
a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side
of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was
built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.
On 7 September 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete
transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of 1999.
Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over
the Canal were turned over in the intervening years. With US
help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire
Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US
military bases were turned over to Panama by or on 31 December
bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between
Colombia and Costa Rica
hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short
dry season (January to May)
km, Costa Rica 330 km
borders Colombia, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
two oceans are linked by the man-made
Panama Canal, cut into a gap between the Cordillera de Talamanca
and the San Blas mountain range and stretching for over 65km (40
miles). Panama City, the capital, is a curious blend of old Spain,
modern America and the bazaar atmosphere of the East. In the old
part of the city with its narrow, cobblestoned streets, most of
the interesting sights are to be found. These include the Plaza
and the President's Palace, the most impressive building in the
city. The Panama Canal to the west of the city itself naturally
many visitors. An average transit takes eight hours to complete.
Colón is the second biggest city. Visitors should see the
cathedral and the statues on the promenade known as the Paseo Centenario.