As I write my new book - working title "How Teddy Took Panama" - I have to do additional research to check facts and make sure I get all the historical content correct. It is a novel and I have invented the main character - Jack Quinn - a US Secret Service Agent - but all the other main characters are straight from the history books. I have four different historical accounts of the basic story that I am weaving my novel around and I also rely on the internet for other corroboration. 

However even though I have known the true history for many years the exploits of the Frenchman Philippe Bunau-Varilla continue to amaze me. He must rank as one of history's greatest con men. He alone was the cause of the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, one that even US Secretary of State John Hay admitted was grossly unfair and gave the USA more than it ever wanted or expected. Yet such were the times and the dangers of potential retaliation from Colombia weighed heavily on the minds of the rebels in Panama.

Such was the hutzpah of this Frenchman, who hadn't visited Panama in 18 years, that he designed and had sewn up a flag for the new nation as well as giving them a draft Constitution. The Panamanians thought he represented the USA and the USA thought he represented the Panamanians. His motivation was only the opportunity to sell the old French Canal Company stock (which was worthless if the USA did not take up the canal) he and others owned and the glory of France and himself. A truly amazing figure and one my fictitious hero has difficulty controlling.

I hope to have the book finished and ready for publication by the end of the year.

Check photo gallery for an image of this infamous Frenchman.

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