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Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty


HAYBUNAU-VARILLA TREATY was signed on 18 November 1903 by Secretary of State John M. Hay and Philippe Bunau-Varilla, a French canal investor who had helped organize the Panamanian revolt against Colombia and acted as the new ruling junta's envoy to Washington. The treaty provided that the United States guarantee the independence of Panama, while receiving in perpetuity a ten-mile-wide strip of territory for the construction of a canal. The United States was made fully sovereign over this zone and retained the right to intervene elsewhere in Panama as necessary to keep order. In return, the United States agreed to pay Panama $10 million and an annuity of $250,000 from canal revenues. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty on 23 February 1904. Because of U.S. support for Panamanian secession, relations with Colombia remained fragile until Washington paid that country $25 million in restitution, or "canalimony," under the Thomson-Urrutia Treaty of 1921.


LaFeber, Walter. The Panama Canal: the Crisis in Historical Perspective. Updated ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Major, John. Prize Possession: The United States and the Panama Canal, 19031979. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Schoonover, Thomas D. The United States in Central America, 18601911: Episodes of Social Imperialism and Imperial Rivalry in the World System. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991.

Max Paul Friedman

See also Panama Canal .

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