The Panama Canal] Imperialism in Egypt

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[The Panama Canal]

Imperialism in Egypt

At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States began to expand overseas. It contended with other countries for influence around the world. Britain and France had been waging a similar imperialist contest since the mid-1800s. Egypt was one center of their competition. The timeline below shows some of the main events.

1859 A private French company begins to construct a canal to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. The construction is opposed by British diplomats. They fear that France will dominate this new route to the East.
1869 Egypt’s role in the building of the canal practically bankrupts the already poor nation. The canal is completed.
1875 The Egyptian ruler, Ismail Pasha, has to sell Egypt’s shares in the canal to the British, who now control the canal.
1876 Great Britain and France set up a commission to handle Egyptian finances.
1879 Great Britain and France oversee the removal of Ismail Pasha. Tewfik Pasha is set up as head of the government, but the French and British actually control the nation.
1882 Egyptians try unsuccessfully to throw out the British. Great Britain occupies and takes over Egypt.
1888 The Suez Canal Convention leads to a declaration of neutrality for the Suez Canal.
1898 Challenging the British claims, France occupies Fashoda in the Sudan. The British force France to withdraw. France gives up all claims in the area.
1914 Great Britain makes Egypt a British protectorate.
1919 Egyptians rebel against Great Britain. Talks on Egyptian independence begin.
1922 Egypt becomes independent, although Great Britain will maintain a strong presence there for more than 30 years.

Why was the location of the Suez Canal important?


The Struggle for the Panama Canal

1 While Americans had long adhered to the belief that it was to not exert power and control over other nations and peoples, the enormous economic growth of the United States in the late 1800s inspired many people to begin to think of the U.S. as a world power. This economic imperialism encouraged U.S. business leaders to promote access to the Pacific via a Central American canal. Supporters of military sea power also urged the U.S. government to consider the canal as an important strategic move for national security.

2 Under the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt, the dreams of U.S. imperialists were given free reign. Roosevelt was fond of quoting a West African proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far” as his motto for pursuing his goals of expanding United States influence in Latin America. This mode of diplomacy became popularly known as “Big Stick” diplomacy.

3 With the passage of the Hay-Pauncefort Treaty in 1901, the British government gave up its right to joint construction of a canal through the Isthmus of Panama and ceded exclusive rights to the United States. In 1903, under the terms of the Hay-Herran Treaty, the United States offered Colombia (which then occupied Panama) $10 million and a yearly payment of $250,000 for a 99-year lease for construction of a canal. Colombia was hesitant to cooperate with the United States’s desire for a canal and rejected the Hay-Herran Treaty.

4 Events in Panama were in Roosevelt’s favor, though. Panamanian leaders who supported the building of the canal began to plot against the Colombian government. On November 3, 1903, the Panamanians began their revolution. While U.S. warships blocked Colombian troops from landing in Panama, the rebels easily took over and declared Panama an independent nation. With unusual speed the U.S. Senate ratified the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty on November 18, 1903, which granted the United States exclusive canal rights. Construction on the canal began in 1904 and was finished 10 years later.
(You can read more about the Panama Canal in your textbook pages 691 – 693)

(text book page 692)

(text book page 693)

Geography Activity Identify each of the following by writing the numbers on the map next to the correct label.
12. __________ Pacific Ocean

13. __________ Caribbean Sea

14. __________ Panama Canal Zone

15. __________ Panama

22.4 Review Questions
True and False
__________1. The United States needed a canal across Central America so that it could move its navy more quickly between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.

__________2. As U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt thought the Panama Canal was a bad idea.

__________3. The United States gained control of the canal zone by discouraging a revolution in Panama.


Dollar Diplomacy Roosevelt Corollary yellow fever

William C. Gorgas 6,000

4. Tropical diseases such as ____________________ caused many problems for workers building the canal.

5. Dr. ____________________ organized a huge effort to rid the canal route of mosquitoes.

6. Some ____________________ lives were lost in building the canal, and it cost well over $600 million between the French and American efforts.

7. The ____________________ was added to the Monroe Doctrine, establishing the United States as the “police officer” of the Western Hemisphere. The ____________________ said that the United States would not allow any European nation to colonize the American continents.

8. President Taft’s policy, called ____________________, emphasized using U.S. economic power and business investment to influence Latin American governments.

Short Answer

9. Why was the location of the Panama Canal important?


10. How did the United States benefit from the construction of the Panama Canal? What were the drawbacks?


11. Compare and Contrast the actions of Great Britain and the situation in Egypt to the actions of America and the situation in Panama.


Analyzing Political Cartoons

  1. What do the ships in the foreground represent?


  1. What does the image of Roosevelt slinging dirt on Bogota symbolize?


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