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Photo of the construction of the Panama Canal
Building the canal through the jungles of Panama in 1913

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President Jimmy Carter Signed the Panama Canal Treaty
September 7, 1977

How many times have you taken a shortcut through a neighbor's backyard? The U.S. created a 51-mile shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through a distant neighbor's "backyard" and called it the Panama Canal. Of course, the U.S. got permission from Panama first, back in 1904.

On September 7, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed the Panama Canal Treaty and Neutrality Treaty promising to give control of the canal to the Panamanians by the year 2000.

Why was this shortcut for ships needed, and how did the U.S. build one through the jungles of Panama?

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