National Geographic : 1941 Nov
The National Geographic Magazine Drawn by Harry Gardner, Jr. By Land, Panama Links the Americas; by Water, Two Mighty Oceans Vital to the defense of the United States is the Panama Canal, which bisects the Isthmus at its nar rowest point. A strip of land five miles wide on either side of the "big ditch" forms the Canal Zone and belongs to the United States. This area is heavily garrisoned. Modern fortifications and squadrons of planes guard the two entrances. For four centuries Panama has been a transfer point and clearinghouse for all parts of the New World. Bananas Move from Plantation to Shipping Center by Pack Mule Other consignments are floated down rivers in dugout canoes. Annual exports of the fruit, the Republic's most important product, are valued at more than $2,500,000. The United States takes nearly the entire output. Coconuts, cocoa, hides, gum, and tortoise shell are other exports.