Panama


Panama
   A province of Colombia until 1903. Colombia’s rejection of the Hay-Herrán Treaty on August 12, 1903, greatly disappointed the province of Panama and sparked off its secession. The conspirators, prodded and manipulated by a Frenchman, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, a frustrated stockholder of the New Panama Canal Company who had been chief engineer of the initial organization, all lived on the Isthmus and were all connected, one way or another, to the isthmian railroad company: Senator José Augustín Arango, Doctor Manuel Amador Guerrero, Senator José Domingo de Obaldía, governor of the province, as well as lesser figures. They formed a junta headed by Arango in late May, began to establish contacts in Washington in September, and eventually received unofficial assurances by early October.
   On November 3, 1903, the Panamanian secessionists launched their revolution with the blessing of the United States, and the next day proclaimed the independence of the Isthmus - recognized by Washington on November 6. Arango headed the provisional government, which appointed Bunau-Varilla minister plenipotentiary to Washington. Signed on November 18, the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was less advantageous than the abortive Hay-Herrán accord and virtually made Panama an American protectorate. Obaldía would ultimately succeed the discredited Bunau-Varilla as Panamanian minister to Washington, then Amador as president of the Isthmian republic.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Bunau-Varilla, Philippe. Panama: The Creation, Destruction, and Resurrection. New York: McBride, Nast and Co., 1914;
    McCullough, David. The Path between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870–1914. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977.
   SERGE RICARD

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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