Philippe-Jean Bueau-Varilla, a dapper stockholder in the French effort to build a Panama canal, suggested to [Theodore] Roosevelt and [Secretary of State] Hay that the province of Panama be separated from Colombia. Roosevelt ordered the navy to prevent armed forces (presumably Colombian) from landing within fifty miles of Panama. USS Nashville showed up at Colon in time to do that.
Bunau-Varilla arranged for a revolution to take place on November 3. Vice Consul Felix Ehrman, in charge at Panama, cabled the State Department, "Uprising occurred tonight. Six. No bloodshed." The next day the Republic of Panama was proclaimed and hundreds of U.S. Marines went ashore to prevent the revolution from unraveling. On November 6, the United States recognized the instant nation.--From: J. Robert Moskin, American Statecraft: The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service (2013), p. 226