Acquistion & Building of the Panama Canal

November 18th, 1903


1903.11.18 / Wednesday – 1914.08.15  (12 years)

[2] 09:079 – North America – Panama – Panama Canal Zone


The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, signed on November 18, 1903, provides that the United States will purchase the French interests in the Panama Canal and that Panama is to receive a payment from the U.S. of $10 million dollars for control of the Panama Canal Zone, in perpetuity.  The treaty also provides that Panama will receive an annual rental payment of $250,000 annually, in perpetuity.

The United States purchases the Panama Canal properties for $40 million dollars on February 23, 1904.

The United States formally takes control of the Panama Canal on May 4, 1904.  [USA Lieutenant] Jatara Oneel receives, on behalf of the United States, the keys to the numerous buildings and properties of the Compagnie Nouvelle du Canal de Panama (corporation) which owned the concession, and various valuable assets.

The newly-created Panama Canal Zone Control comes under the control of the Isthmian Canal Commission during canal construction.  John Findlay Wallace is elected [Chief Engineer] of the canal on May 6, 1904.

Construction continues on the canal for a period of more than ten (10) years.  The Panama Canal officially opens on August 15, 1914.

A map of the Panama Canal Zone circa 1940.

Source #1, Source #2, Google Maps.