Panama Canal Zone.
Like little mirrors, stamps from every country around the world chronicle world history and culture. Stamps are more than just a tool to show prepayment for mail delivery service, stamps also tell a story – and each one has a tale of its own.
Postage stamps and postal history of the Canal Zone is a subject that spans nearly 75 years. Postal history during that time concerns postage stamps used and mail sent to and from the Panama Canal Zone. The Republic of Panama was formally part of Colombia, and after it seceded from Columbian control, with assistance from the United States, it established itself as an autonomous nation where it immediately became necessary to establish its own post offices and issue its own postage stamps. The "Canal Zone", a strip of territory 50 miles (80 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide across the Isthmus of Panama, was ceded to the United States for the purpose of constructing and operating the canal which would connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Upon the establishment of the Canal Zone in 1903, seventeen post offices had also been established and were operated by the U.S. Government from 1904 up until October 1978. The Canal Zone and its post offices, with the main postal center located in Cristobal, operated as a separate and independent government agency from Panama under the direct authority of the President of the United States.
The latter years of the Canal Zone saw few stamps issued and those that were issued were mainly for new first-class postal rates (which paralleled those of the United States). On September 7, 1977, Panama and the US signed the Torrijos-Carter Treaties transferring control of the Panama Canal from the US to Panama. The last stamp (fifteen cents) of the Zone was issued on October 25, 1978, and depicted a Canal towing locomotive and a ship in a lock (below). Thereafter Panama took over the administration of postal service and, after a brief transition period, Canal Zone stamps became invalid.
For more information about the history of Canal Zone stamps, visit HERE