The Panama Canal Zone issued its own stamps from its inception in 1904 until 1979 when joint jurisdiction with Panama began; Panama handled postal activities from that point forward. The earliest issues were overprinted stamps of Panama and then the United States. Subsequent local designs feature the canal and the people who made it happen.
The first of these, issued in 1928, include a 12-cent stamp depicting Lt. Col. David DuBose Gaillard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who was placed in charge of completing the notoriously difficult Culebra Cut, a major segment of the canal connecting Gatun Lake with the Gulf of Panama. Following the success of his project, Gaillard died just months before the canal opened. The cut was renamed Gaillard Cut in his honor. Stamps of the 1931 airmail issue show the Gaillard Cut.