As the American tropics came under the influence of the United States during the nineteenth century, policymakers, businesspeople, and bureaucrats began to act directly on the region. Based on firsthand experience and on knowledge gained from published accounts, a picture of Central America, particularly Panama, began to take shape in the collective imagination. Eventually two general narratives--one positive, one negative--emerged. These contradictory narratives were used to legitimate imperialist intervention and actions in the Panama Canal Zone in the early twentieth century.
Keywords: imperialism, Panama, Panama Canal Zone, representation, tropics.
DR. FRENKEL is a professor of geography at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98198-3550.
To contact the author:
Prof. Stephen Frenkel
Department of Geography
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3550
Phone: (206) 543-3313 fax