Panama is the skinniest bit of the Americas' waist. It hosts the sibling of the Suez Canal. The 1956 Suez Crisis is a decent choice of bookmark for the end of Britain's age as the preeminent global power. With the backing of the United States, Panama ceded from Colombia in 1903. The US had just defeated Spain in the 1898 Spanish-American war that ended Spain's global power. Panama had been under Spanish rule for almost 300 years (1538 -1821). It had been enormously important to Spain as the easiest way to transport silver from Peru to Europe. It was also the cite of the Darien Scheme - a failed attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by setting up a colony. The failure of this commercial venture, and ensuing debt, was a contributory factor in 1707 Act of Union between England and Scotland. An 'independent' Panama allowed the Americans to finance the building of the Panama Canal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. Long live the new global power.