On September 7, 1977, two Panama Canal treaties were signed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Gen. Omar Torrijos. These treaties changed the rules of how the canal is managed and operated. The Torrijos–Carter Treaties overrode the original 1903 Panama Canal Treaty, which granted the United States control over the Canal Zone. The zone bisects Panama in a canal 33.5 meters (110 feet) wide and 77 kilometers (48 miles) long.

The new Panama Canal Treaty (the second of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties) set a date (December 31, 1999) for Panama assuming full control of the management and operations of the canal.

bisect
Verb

to cut in half or divide equally in two.

canal
Noun

artificial waterway.

manage
Verb

to control or organize a situation or activity.

operate
Verb

to control or manage.

Panama Canal
Noun

artificial waterway between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea through the country of Panama.

treaty
Noun

official agreement between groups of people.

Noun

area separated from others by artificial or natural divisions.