Before the construction of the Panama Canal began, the United States bought a ten-mile-wide strip of land across Panama. Since 1903, this piece of land, which A stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and cuts Panama in two, has been an American possession, known as the Panama Canal Zone.
The Panama Canal Zone extends for five miles on each side of the canal. Its area is 647 square miles, and its population of 40,000 is made up mostly of American citizens known as “Zonians”.
The Canal Zone and the Panama Canal itself were originally to he the property of the United States forever. But a new treaty signed in 1977 gave the Canal Zone back to Panama. In the year 2000, the canal will be turned over to Panama, too.