Political map of North America & the Caribbean 04 May 1904 (Panamian Rebellion): The American gains against Spain (Spanish-American War) increased its interest in procuring a Central American canal to link its Atlantic and Pacific possessions. In 1902, the US purchased the remnants of the failed French attempt to build a canal through Panama (Spooner Act), then part of war-torn Colombia (Thousand Days War). When negotiations with Colombia stalled, the US backed a Panamanian rebellion (Separation of Panama from Colombia) and gained the rights to a canal that way. Work started in 1904 and the Panama Canal was completed ten years later.