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Jeremy Cooke in the canal zone
"An outstanding engineering achievement"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 14:17 GMT
Special report: Panama Canal handover




BBC News Online tells the epic story behind one of the century's greatest maritime achievements, and looks at what its handover by the US to Panama means for the future:


Changing hands



End of an era
The United States hands over control of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian people - ending more than 80 years of US occupation of the canal zone.


  • Panama in control
    For many Panamanians the handover of the canal is the true moment of independence, writes regional analyst Nick Caistor.

  • America's strategic artery
    The Panama Canal has been a blunt reminder of one nation's dominance in the world, writes Washington Correspondent Richard Lister.



    The canal story



  • Old World dreams
    For centuries governments and adventurers dreamed of building a transoceanic canal, but when construction began in 1881 engineers were ill-prepared for the challenges ahead.

  • New World success
    When the canal was completed, it proved the basis for realising Roosevelt's dream of turning the US into a 20th century superpower.

  • Picture Gallery: Canal in the jungle

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    From the archives
    Pictures of the massive engineering effort that went into building the canal


    Bridging the continent


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