Panama

Panama

Overview
Panama officially the Republic of Panama ( reˈpuβlika ðe panaˈma), is the southernmost country of Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. Situated on the isthmus
Isthmus
An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas usually with waterforms on either side.Canals are often built through isthmuses where they may be particularly advantageous to create a shortcut for marine transportation...

 connecting North and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, it is bordered by Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 to the northwest, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 to the north and the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 to the south. The capital is Panama City
Panama City
Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the...

. Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 – named the Republic of Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. This short-lived republic included the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. The...

.
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Timeline

1519   Panama City, Panama, is founded.

1670   Henry Morgan captures Panama.

1821   The Republic of Gran Colombia (a federation covering much of present day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) is established, with Simón Bolívar as the founding President and Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president. thumb

1821   Cry of Independence by Rufina Alfaro at La Villa de Los Santos, Panama setting into motion a revolt which lead to Panama's independence from Spain and to it immediately becoming part of Colombia

1903   With the encouragement of the United States, Panama separates from Colombia.

1903   Panama adopts its flag one day after it separated from Colombia

1903   The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

1909   Colombia recognizes the independence of Panama.

1941   A coup in Panama declares Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arango the new president.

1953   Ernesto "Che" Guevara sets out on a trip through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.

 
Encyclopedia
Panama officially the Republic of Panama ( reˈpuβlika ðe panaˈma), is the southernmost country of Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. Situated on the isthmus
Isthmus
An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas usually with waterforms on either side.Canals are often built through isthmuses where they may be particularly advantageous to create a shortcut for marine transportation...

 connecting North and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, it is bordered by Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 to the northwest, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 to the north and the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 to the south. The capital is Panama City
Panama City
Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the...

. Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 – named the Republic of Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. This short-lived republic included the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. The...

. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama and Nueva Granada stayed joined. Nueva Granada later became the Republic of Colombia.

With the backing of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the century.

Revenue from Canal tolls represent today a significant portion of Panama's GDP. Panama has the third or fourth largest economy in Central America and it is also the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America. In 2010 Panama ranked 4th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

, and 54th in the world in 2010. As of 2010, Panama is the second most competitive economy in Latin America as well according to the Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Panama has the largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere outside the Amazon Basin
Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries that drains an area of about , or roughly 40 percent of South America. The basin is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela...

 and its jungle is home to an abundance of tropical plants, animals and birds – some of them to be found nowhere else in the world.

Etymology


There are several theories about the origin of the name "Panama". Some believe that the country was named after a commonly found species of trees. Others believe that the first settlers arrived in Panama in August, when butterflies abound, and that the name means "many butterflies" in an indigenous language.

The best known version is that a fishing village and its nearby beach bore the name "Panamá", which meant "an abundance of fish". Captain Antonio Tello de Guzmán, while exploring the Pacific side in 1515, stopped in the small indigenous fishing town. This was communicated to the Crown and in 1517 Don Gaspar De Espinosa, a Spanish lieutenant, decided to settle a post there. In 1519, Pedrarias Dávila decided to establish the Empire's Pacific city in this site. The new settlement replaced Santa María La Antigua del Darién, which had lost its function within the Crown's global plan after the beginning of the Spanish exploitation of the riches in the Pacific.

Blending all of the above together, Panamanians believe in general that the word Panama means "abundance of fish, trees and butterflies". This is the official definition given in Social Studies textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education in Panama. However, others believe the word Panama comes from the Kuna word "bannaba" which means "distant" or "far away".

History



The earliest known inhabitants of Panama were the Cuevas
Cueva people
The Cueva were an indigenous people that lived in the Darién region of eastern Panamá. They were completely exterminated between 1510 and 1535 due to the effects of Spanish colonization....

 and the Coclé tribes, but they were wiped out by disease and fighting when the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century.

Pre-Columbian period


The Isthmus of Panama was formed in a very long process that started 20 million years ago, up to about 3 million years ago when the isthmus finally closed and plants and animals gradually crossed it in both directions (Mayo 2004: 9–10). Dolores Piperno (1984) has located the human occupancy of the isthmus at around the Late Glacial Period (cited in Mayo 2004: 13). Olga Linares ( points out in turn that the existence of the isthmus had an impact on the dispersal of people, agriculture and technology throughout the American continent from the appearance of the first hunters and collectors to the era of villages and cities (cited in Cooke and Sánchez 2004: 3).

Richard Cooke and Luis Sánchez (2004: 4, 41–42) emphasize the permanence of peoples in the terrestrial bridge of Western America, and the higher probability that Pre-Columbian peoples in the isthmus satisfied their needs by the exchange of goods, by commercial exchange and through social relationships with neighbouring communities, rather than by long distance exchanges (Cooke and Sánchez 2004: 41).

Dendrograms proposed by genetists and linguists and available information about styles and iconography of ceramic and stone objects point to a successively complex dispersal of a population of millenary permanence in the isthmus and neighbouring areas (see, for example, Corrales 2000, cited in Cooke and Sanchez 2004: 39). Cooke and Sánchez (2004: 4) argue therefore that Panama is a singular example of diversity and endemism, and that Christopher Columbus' observations (1501–02) that "although dense, every (village) has a different language and they don't understand one another" (quoted in Jane 1988) describe the ethnographic phenomenon of scattering and diversification of peoples that had inhabited the isthmus for several thousands of years.

The earliest traces of these indigenous peoples include fluted projectile points. Central Panama was home to some of the first pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

-making villages in the Americas, such as the Monagrillo culture dating to about 2500–1700 BC. These evolved into significant populations that are best known through the spectacular burials of the Conte site (dating to c. AD 500–900) and the beautiful polychrome pottery of the Coclé style. The monumental monolithic sculptures at the Barriles
Barriles
Barriles , is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Panama. It is located in the highlands of the Chiriquí Province of Western Panama at 1200 meters above sea level. It is several kilometers west of the modern town of Volcán...

 (Chiriqui) site were another important clue of the ancient isthmian cultures.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Panama was widely settled by Chibchan, Chocoan, and Cueva
Cueva people
The Cueva were an indigenous people that lived in the Darién region of eastern Panamá. They were completely exterminated between 1510 and 1535 due to the effects of Spanish colonization....

 peoples, among whom the largest group were the Cueva (whose specific language affiliation is poorly documented). There is no accurate knowledge of the size of the indigenous population of the isthmus at the time of the European conquest. Estimates range as high as two million people, but more recent studies place that number closer to 200,000. Archeological finds as well as testimonials by early European explorers describe diverse native isthmian groups exhibiting cultural variety and suggesting people already conditioned by regular regional routes of commerce.

Conquest era




Rodrigo de Bastidas
Rodrigo de Bastidas
Rodrigo de Bastidas was a Spanish conquistador and explorer who mapped the northern coast of South America and founded the city of Santa Marta.-Early life:...

, sailing westward from Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 in 1501 in search of gold, was the first European to explore the isthmus of Panama. A year later, Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 visited the isthmus and established a short-lived settlement in the Darien
Darién Province
Darién is a province in eastern Panama. It is also the largest province in Panama. It is hot, humid, heavily forested, and sparsely populated, having 48,378 habitants...

. Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.He traveled to the New World in...

's tortuous trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1513 demonstrated that the Isthmus was, indeed, the path between the seas, and Panama quickly became the crossroads and marketplace of Spain's empire in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. Gold and silver were brought by ship from South America, hauled across the isthmus, and loaded aboard ships for Spain. The route became known as the Camino Real, or Royal Road, although it was more commonly known as Camino de Cruces (Road of the Crosses) because of the abundance of gravesites along the way.

Panama was part of the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 for 300 years (1538–1821). From the outset, Panamanian identity was based on a sense of "geographic destiny", and Panamanian fortunes fluctuated with the geopolitical importance of the isthmus. The colonial experience also spawned Panamanian nationalism as well as a racially complex and highly stratified society, the source of internal conflicts that ran counter to the unifying force of nationalism.

In 1538, the Real Audiencia de Panama was established, initially with jurisdiction from Nicaragua to Cape Horn before the conquest of Peru. A Real Audiencia (royal audiency) was a judicial district that functioned as an appeals court. Each audiencia had oidores (Spanish: hearer, a judge).

Spanish authorities exercised little control over much of the territory of Panama, large sections managing to resist conquest until very late in the colonial era. Because of this, indigenous people of the area were often referred to as "indios de guerra" (war Indians), and resisted Spanish attempts to conquer them or missionize them. However, Panama was enormously important to Spain strategically because it was the easiest way to transship silver mined in Peru to Europe. Silver cargos were landed at Panama, and then taken overland to Portobello or Nombre de Dios on the Caribbean side of the isthmus for further shipment.

Because of the incomplete Spanish control, the Panama route was vulnerable to attack from pirates (mostly Dutch and English) and from 'new world' Africans called cimarrons
Maroon (people)
Maroons were runaway slaves in the West Indies, Central America, South America, and North America, who formed independent settlements together...

 who had freed themselves from enslavement and lived in communes or palenques around the Camino Real in Panama's Interior, and on some of the islands off Panama's Pacific coast. One such famous community amounted to a small kingdom under Bayano
Bayano
Bayano, also known as Ballano or Vaino, was an African enslaved by Spaniards who led the biggest of the slave revolts of 16th century Panama. Captured from the Mandinka tribe in West Africa, it is alleged that he and his comrades were Muslim...

, which emerged in the 1552 to 1558. Sir Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

's famous raids on Panama in 1572–73 were aided by Panama cimarrons, and Spanish authorities were only able to bring them under control by making an alliance with them that guaranteed their freedom in exchange for military support in 1582.

Panama was the site of the ill-fated Darien scheme
Darién scheme
The Darién scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation by establishing a colony called "New Caledonia" on the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s...

, which set up a Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 colony in the region in 1698. This failed for a number of reasons, and the ensuing debt contributed to the union
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Parliamentary Acts - the Union with Scotland Act passed in 1706 by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland - which put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706,...

 of England and Scotland in 1707.

When Panama was colonized, the indigenous peoples who survived many diseases, massacres and enslavement of the conquest ultimately fled into the forest and nearby islands. Indian slaves were replaced by Africans.

The prosperity enjoyed during the first two centuries (1540–1740) while contributing to colonial growth; the placing of extensive regional judicial authority (Real Audiencia) as part of its jurisdiction; and the pivotal role it played at the height of the Spanish Empire -the first modern global empire- helped define a distinctive sense of autonomy and of regional or national identity within Panama well before the rest of the colonies.

In 1744, Bishop Francisco Javier de Luna Victoria DeCastro established the College of San Ignacio de Loyola and on June 3, 1749 founded La Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Javier. By this time, however, Panama's importance and influence had become insignificant as Spain's power dwindled in Europe and advances in navigation technique increasingly permitted to round Cape Horn in order to reach the Pacific. While the Panama route was short it was also labor intensive and expensive because of the loading and unloading and laden-down trek required to get from the one coast to the other.

During the last half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, migrations to the countryside decreased Panama City's population and the isthmus' economy shifted from the tertiary to the primary sector.

In 1717, the viceroyalty of New Granada
Viceroyalty of New Granada
The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to a Spanish colonial jurisdiction in northern South America, corresponding mainly to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739...

 (northern South America) was created in response to other Europeans trying to take Spanish territory in the Caribbean region. The Isthmus of Panama was placed under its jurisdiction. However, the remoteness of Santa Fe de Bogotá proved a greater obstacle than the Spanish crown anticipated as the authority of New Granada was contested by the seniority, closer proximity, previous ties to the viceroyalty of Lima and even Panama's own initiative. This uneasy relationship between Panama and Bogotá
Bogotá
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...

 would persist for a century or two.

Modern Panamanian history has been shaped by its transisthmian canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

, which had been a dream since the beginning of Spanish colonization. From 1880 to 1890, a French company under Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps, GCSI was the French developer of the Suez Canal, which joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas in 1869, and substantially reduced sailing distances and times between the West and the East.He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a sea-level...

 attempted unsuccessfully to construct a sea-level canal on the site of the present Panama Canal.

On the other hand, the Panamanian movement for independence can be indirectly attributed to the abolishment of the encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

 system in Azuero, set forth by the Spanish Crown, in 1558 because of repeated protests by locals against the mistreatment of the native population. In its stead, a system of medium and smaller-sized landownership was promoted, thus taking away the power from the large landowners and into the hands of medium and small sized proprietors.

The end of the encomienda system in Azuero, however, sparked the conquest of Veraguas in that same year. Under the leadership of Francisco Vázquez, the region of Veraguas passed into Castillan rule in 1558. In the newly conquered region, the old system of encomienda was imposed.

1800s



On November 10, 1821, the Grito de La Villa de Los Santos (Cry From the Town of Saints) occurred. It was a unilateral decision by the residents of Azuero (without backing from Panama City) to declare their separation from the Spanish Empire. In both Veraguas and the capital this act was met with disdain, although on differing levels. To Veraguas, it was the ultimate act of treason, while to the capital, it was seen as inefficient and irregular, and furthermore forced them to accelerate their plans.

The Grito was an event that shook the isthmus to the core. It was a sign, on the part of the residents of Azuero, of their antagonism towards the independence movement in the capital, who in turn regarded the Azueran movement with contempt, since the separatists in Panama believed that their counterparts in Azuero were fighting selfishly for their right to rule, once the peninsulares (Spaniards born in the Iberian peninsula) were long gone.

It was an incredibly brave move on the part of Azuero, which lived in fear of Colonel José de Fábrega, and with good reason: the Colonel was a staunch loyalist, and had the entirety of the isthmus' military supplies in his hands. They feared quick retaliation and swift retribution against the separatists.

What they had counted on, however, was the influence of the separatists in the capital. Ever since October 1821, when the former Governor General, Juan de la Cruz Murgeón, left the isthmus on a campaign in Quito and left the Veraguan colonel in charge, the separatists had been slowly converting Fábrega to the separatist side. As such, by November 10, Fábrega was now a supporter of the independence movement. Soon after the separatist declaration of Los Santos, Fábrega convened every organization in the capital with separatist interests and formally declared the city's support for independence. No military repercussions occurred because of the skillful bribing of royalist troops.

Post-colonial Panama



In the first eighty years following independence from Spain, Panama was a department
Departments of Colombia
Colombia is an unitary republic formed by thirty-two departments and a Capital District . Each department has a Governor and a Department Assembly , elected by popular vote for a four-year period. The governor cannot be re-elected in consecutive periods...

 of Colombia, since voluntarily becoming part of it at the end of 1821. The people of the isthmus made several attempts to secede
Secession
Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or especially a political entity. Threats of secession also can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals.-Secession theory:...

 and came close to success in 1831, and again during the Thousand Days War
Thousand Days War
The Thousand Days' War , was a civil armed conflict in the newly created Republic of Colombia, between the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and its radical factions. In 1899 the ruling conservatives were accused of maintaining power through fraudulent elections...

 of 1899–1902. When the Senate of Colombia
Senate of Colombia
The Senate of the Republic of Colombia is the upper house of the Congress of Colombia, with the lower house being the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia...

 rejected the Hay-Herran Treaty
Hay-Herran Treaty
The Hay–Herran Treaty was a treaty signed on January 22, 1903 between United States Secretary of State John M. Hay of the United States and Dr. Tomás Herrán of Colombia...

, the United States decided to support the Panamanian independence movement. In November 1903, Panama proclaimed its independence and concluded the Hay/Bunau-Varilla Treaty with the United States.
The treaty granted rights to the United States "as if it were sovereign" in a zone
Panama Canal Zone
The Panama Canal Zone was a unorganized U.S. territory located within the Republic of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally extending 5 miles on each side of the centerline, but excluding Panama City and Colón, which otherwise would have been partly within the limits of...

 roughly 10 miles (16.1 km) wide and 50 miles (80.5 km) long. In that zone, the U.S. would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it "in perpetuity." In 1914, the United States completed the existing 83 km (52 mi) canal. The early 1960s saw the beginning of sustained pressure in Panama for the renegotiation of this treaty.

From 1903 until 1968, Panama was a constitutional democracy dominated by a commercially oriented oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

. During the 1950s, the Panamanian military began to challenge the oligarchy's political hegemony.

Amidst negotiations for the Robles-Johnson treaty, Panama held elections in 1967. The candidates were Dr. Arnulfo Arias
Arnulfo Arias
Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid was president of Panama on three occasions: 1940–41, 1949–51, and for two weeks in October 1968.- Origins :...

 Madrid, Antonio González Revilla, and Engineer David Samudio, who had the government's support. Samudio was the candidate of Alianza del Pueblo ("People's Alliance"), Arias Madrid was the candidate of Unión Nacional ("National Union"), and González Revilla was the candidate of Democracia Cristiana
People's Party (Panama)
The People's Party was founded in the early 1960s. It was the main opposition party during the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega. The party supported Martín Torrijos in the presidential election of 2004...

 ("Christian Democrats") (see Pizzurno Gelós and Araúz, Estudios sobre el Panamá republicano 508).
Arias Madrid was declared the winner of elections that were marked by violence and accusations of fraud against Alianza del Pueblo. On October 1, 1968, Arias Madrid took office as president of Panama, promising to lead a government of "national union" that would end the reigning corruption and pave the way for a new Panama. A week and a half later, on October 11, 1968, the National Guard (Guardia Nacional) ousted Arias and initiated the downward spiral that would culminate with the United States' invasion in 1989. Arias, who had promised to respect the hierarchy of the National Guard, broke the pact and started a large restructuring of the Guard. To preserve the Guard's interests, Lieutenant Colonel Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

 Herrera and Major Boris Martínez commanded the first coup of a military force against a civilian government in Panamanian republican history (see Pizzurno Gelós and Araúz, Estudios sobre el Panamá republicano 523).

The military justified itself by declaring that Arias Madrid was trying to install a dictatorship, and promised a return to constitutional rule. In the meantime, the Guard began a series of populist measures that would gain support for the coup. Amongst them were the freezing of prices on food, medicine and other goods until January 31, 1969, the freezing of renting prices, and the legalization of the permanence of squatting families in boroughs surrounding the historic site of Panama Viejo. Parallel to this, the military began a policy of repression against the opposition, who were labeled communists. The military appointed a Provisional Government Junta that would arrange new elections. However, the National Guard would prove to be very reluctant to abandon power and soon began calling itself El Gobierno Revolucionario ("The Revolutionary Government").

Post-1970


During Omar Torrijos's control, the military regime transformed the political and economic structure of the country by initiating massive coverage of social security services and expanding public education. The constitution was changed in 1972. For the reform to the constitution, the military created a new organization, the Assembly of Corregimiento Representatives, which replaced the National Assembly. The new assembly, also known as the Poder Popular ("Power of the People"), was composed of 505 members selected by the military without the participation of political parties, which had been eliminated by the military. The new constitution proclaimed Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

 the "Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution," and conceded him unlimited power for six years, although, to keep a façade of constitutionality, Demetrio B. Lakas was appointed president for the same period (Pizzurno Gelós and Araúz, Estudios sobre el Panamá republicano 541).
In 1981, Torrijos died in a planecrash. It has been widely speculated that his death was a CIA assassination due to his resistance to renegotiate the Panama Canal Treaty, negotiated under the Carter administration, with President Ronald Reagan. Torrijos' death altered the tone of Panama's political evolution. Despite the 1983 constitutional amendments, which proscribed a political role for the military, the Panama Defense Forces (PDF), as they were then known, continued to dominate Panamanian political life. By this time, General Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega
Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

 was firmly in control of both the PDF and the civilian government.

In the 1984 elections, the candidates were Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino
Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino
Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino was President of Panama from October 11, 1984 to September 28, 1985. He belonged to the Democratic Revolutionary Party ....

, supported by the military in a union called UNADE; Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid, for the opposition union ADO; the ex-General Rubén Darío Paredes
Rubén Darío Paredes
Rubén Darío Paredes del Río was a Panamanian army officer and the military ruler of Panamafrom 1982 to 1983.Colonel Paredes came to power following the coup against Colonel Florencio Flores. Paredes' tenure was from March 1982 to August 1983. Paredes was promoted to the rank of general on March 3...

, who had been forced to an early retirement by Noriega, running for Partido Nacionalista Popular PNP ("Popular Nationalist Party"), and Carlos Iván Zúñiga, running for Partido Acción Popular (PAPO) meaning "Popular Action Party". Nicolás Ardito Barleta was declared the winner of elections that had been clearly won by Arnulfo Arias Madrid. Ardito Barletta inherited a country in economic ruin and hugely indebted to the IMF and the World Bank. Amidst the economic crisis and Barletta's efforts to calm the country's creditors, street protests arose, and so did military repression.

Meanwhile, Noriega's regime had fostered the development of a well-hidden criminal economy that operated as a parallel source of income for the military and their allies, providing revenues from drugs and money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

. Towards the end of the military dictatorship, a new wave of Chinese migrants arrived on the isthmus in the hope of migrating to the United States. The smuggling of Chinese became an enormous business, with revenues of up to 200 million dollars for Noriega's regime (see Mon 167).

The military dictatorship, at that time supported by the United States, perpetrated the assassination and torture of more than one hundred Panamanians and forced into exile at least another hundred dissidents (see Zárate 15). Noriega also began playing a double role in Central America under the supervision of the CIA. While the Contadora group conducted diplomatic efforts to achieve peace in the region, Noriega supplied the Nicaraguan Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 and other guerrillas in the region with weapons and ammunition (Pizzurno Gelós and Araúz, Estudios sobre el Panamá republicano 602).

On June 6, 1987, the recently retired Colonel Roberto Díaz Herrera, resentful for Noriega's violation of the "Torrijos Plan" of succession that would turn him into the chief of the military after Noriega, decided to denounce the regime. He revealed details of the electoral fraud, accused Noriega of planning Torrijos's death, declared that Torrijos had received 12 million dollars from the Shah of Iran so that Panama would give the exiled Iranian leader asylum, and blamed Noriega for the assassination by decapitation of opposition leader Dr. Hugo Spadafora (Pizzurno Gelós and Araúz, Estudios sobre el Panamá republicano 618).

On the night of June 9, 1987, the Cruzada Civilista ("Civic Crusade") was created and began organizing actions of civil disobedience. The Crusade called for a general strike. In response, the military suspended constitutional rights and declared a state of emergency in the country. On July 10, the Civic Crusade called for a massive demonstration that was violently repressed by the "Dobermans," the military's special riot control unit. That day, later known as El Viernes Negro ("Black Friday"), left six hundred people injured and another six hundred detained, many of whom were later tortured and raped.

United States President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 began a series of sanctions against the military regime. The United States froze economic and military assistance to Panama in the summer of 1987 in response to the domestic political crisis in Panama and an attack on the U.S. Embassy. Yet these sanctions did little to overthrow Noriega but instead severely damaged Panama's economy. The sanctions hit the Panamanian population hard and caused the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to decline almost 25 percent between 1987–1989 (see Acosta n.p.).

On February 5, 1988, General Manuel Antonio Noriega was accused of drug trafficking by federal juries in Tampa and Miami.

In April 1988, the U.S. President Ronald Reagan invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act
International Emergency Economic Powers Act
The International Emergency Economic Powers Act , Title II of , is a United States federal law authorizing the President to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States which has a foreign source.-Provisions:In the...

, freezing Panamanian government assets in all U.S. organizations. In May 1989 Panamanians voted overwhelmingly for the anti-Noriega candidates. The Noriega regime promptly annulled the election and embarked on a new round of repression.

On 19 December, President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 decided to use force against Panama, declaring that the operation was necessary to safeguard the lives of U.S. citizens in Panama, defend democracy and human rights, combat drug trafficking, and secure the functioning of the Canal as required by the Torrijos-Carter Treaties
Torrijos-Carter Treaties
The Torrijos–Carter Treaties are two treaties signed by the United States and Panama in Washington, D.C., on September 7, 1977, which abrogated the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty of 1903...

 (New York Times, A Transcript of President Bush's Address n.p.).

Operation Just Cause was justified by the United States as necessary to secure the functioning of the Canal and re-establish democracy in the country. Although described as a surgical maneuver, the action led to civilian deaths whose estimated numbers range from 400 to 4,000 during the two weeks of armed activities in the largest United States military operation since the end of the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. For some commentators, the action was not intended only to rid Panama of the dictatorship but served also to reinforce United States authority over the region right at the end of the Cold War, as well as use Panama as practice field for weapons and strategies that would shortly after be used in the Gulf War (Cajar Páez 22).

The urban population, living below the poverty level, was greatly affected by the 1989 invasion, becoming the ‘collateral cost’ of the democratization
Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic...

 of the country. As pointed out in 1995 by a UN Technical Assistance Mission to Panama, the bombardments during the invasion caused the displacement of 20,000 persons. The most stricken district was El Chorrillo where several blocks of apartments were completely destroyed. El Chorrillo had been since Canal construction days a series of wooden barracks; these easily caught fire under the United States attack. According to the Technical Mission, the displaced were segregated to unfinished USAID dwellings, far from communications and basic services, or were sent back to live in El Chorrillo's new low-standard multi-family buildings constructed hastily by the Panamanian government in replacement of their lost homes (see Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, n.p.). As stated by respondents in a 2005 survey conducted in El Chorrillo, after the invasion, crime and drug trafficking increased, and living conditions in the neighborhood worsened. Coleen Acosta points out that "the intervention added further to (Panama's) economic decline. Some sections of Panama City were heavily damaged, leaving thousands homeless, and subsequent looting left businesses with damages in the hundreds of millions. The economic damage caused by the invasion and subsequent civil disobedience has been estimated to be between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars (...) Unemployment rose to record highs as the government infrastructure was left in chaos. According to the Chamber of Commerce, 10,000 employees lost their jobs in the aftermath of the war (n.p.).

The U.S. troops involved in Operation Just Cause achieved their primary objectives, and Noriega eventually surrendered to U.S. authorities. He completed his sentence for drug trafficking charges in September 2007. In August 2007, a U.S. federal court in Miami found Noriega extraditable to France, where he was convicted in absentia for money laundering. Noriega was extradited to France on April 26, 2010 and his trial started on June 28, 2010 in Paris, France.
On July 7, 2010, Noriega was convicted by the 11th chamber of the Tribunal Correctionnel de Paris, and sentenced to seven years in jail. The prosecutor in the case had sought a ten-year prison term. In addition, €2.3 million (approximately US$3.6 million) that has long been frozen in Noriega's French bank accounts was ordered to be seized.

Post-invasion era


Panama's Electoral Tribunal moved quickly to rebuild the civilian constitutional government, reinstated the results of the May 1989 election on December 27, 1989, and confirmed the victory of President Guillermo Endara
Guillermo Endara
Guillermo David Endara Galimany was the President of Panama from 1989 to 1994. He ran for office in 2004 and 2009 but lost to the former President Martin Torrijos and to the incumbent President Ricardo Martinelli....

 and Vice Presidents Guillermo Ford and Ricardo Arias Calderon.

During its five-year term, the often-fractious government struggled to meet the public's high expectations. Its new police force was a major improvement over its predecessor but was not fully able to deter crime. Ernesto Pérez Balladares
Ernesto Pérez Balladares
Ernesto Pérez Balladares González-Revilla was the President of Panama between 1994 and 1999. Nicknamed "El Toro" , Ernesto Pérez Balladares is married to Dora Boyd Preciado, with 3 daughters.-Studies :...

 was sworn in as President on September 1, 1994, after an internationally monitored election campaign.

Perez Balladares ran as the candidate for a three-party coalition dominated by the Democratic Revolutionary Party
Democratic Revolutionary Party
The Democratic Revolutionary Party is a Panamanian political party. It was founded in 1979 by the General Omar Torrijos, and is generally described as a party of the centre-left of the political spectrum.-History and creation:...

 (PRD), the erstwhile political arm of military dictatorships. Perez Balladares worked skillfully during the campaign to rehabilitate the PRD's image, emphasizing the party's populist Torrijos roots rather than its association with Noriega. He won the election with only 33% of the vote when the major non-PRD forces splintered into competing factions. His administration carried out economic reforms and often worked closely with the U.S. on implementation of the Canal treaties.

On September 1, 1999, Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez de Arias is a Panamanian political figure. She was the President of Panama from 1999 to 2004, representing the Arnulfista Party...

, the widow of former President Arnulfo Arias Madrid, took office after defeating PRD candidate Martin Torrijos
Martín Torrijos
Martín Erasto Torrijos Espino is a Panamanian politician and the former President of the Republic of Panama.Torrijos was elected President on May 2, 2004...

, son of Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

, in a free and fair election. During her administration, Moscoso attempted to strengthen social programs, especially for child and youth development, protection, and general welfare. Moscoso's administration successfully handled the Panama Canal transfer and was effective in the administration of the Canal.

The PRD's Martin Torrijos won the presidency and a legislative majority in the National Assembly in 2004. Torrijos ran his campaign on a platform of, among other pledges, a "zero tolerance" for corruption, a problem endemic to the Moscoso and Perez Balladares administrations. After taking office, Torrijos passed a number of laws which made the government more transparent. He formed a National Anti-Corruption Council whose members represented the highest levels of government, as well as civil society, labor organizations, and religious leadership. In addition, many of his closest Cabinet ministers were non-political technocrats known for their support for the Torrijos government's anti-corruption aims. Despite the Torrijos administration's public stance on corruption, many high-profile cases, particularly involving political or business elites, were never acted upon.

Conservative supermarket magnate Ricardo Martinelli
Ricardo Martinelli
Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal is a Panamanian politician and businessman who was elected the 49th President of Panama in 2009. He is a Panamanian of Italian descent from his father's side.- Early life :...

 was elected to succeed Martin Torrijos with a landslide victory at the May 2009 presidential election. Mr. Martinelli's business credentials drew voters worried by slowing growth due to the world financial crisis. Standing for the four-party opposition Alliance for Change, Mr. Martinelli gained 60% of the vote, against 37% for the candidate of the governing left-wing Democratic Revolutionary Party.

Politics



Panama's politics take place in a framework of a presidential
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and of a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and the National Assembly
National Assembly of Panama
The National Assembly , formerly the Legislative Assembly , is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Panama.It is a unicameral legislature, currently made up of 71 members, who serve five-year terms...

. The judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 is independent of the executive and the legislature.

For all people national elections are universal and mandatory for all citizens 18 years and older. National elections for the executive and legislative branches take place every five years. Members of the judicial branch (justices) are appointed by the head of state. Panama's National Assembly
National Assembly of Panama
The National Assembly , formerly the Legislative Assembly , is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Panama.It is a unicameral legislature, currently made up of 71 members, who serve five-year terms...

 is elected by proportional representation in fixed electoral districts, so many smaller parties are represented. Presidential elections do not require a simple majority; out of the four last presidents only one, the incumbent president, was elected with over 50% of the popular vote.

Since the U.S. invasion and the end of the 21-year military dictatorship, Panama has successfully completed four peaceful transfers of power to opposing political factions. The political landscape is dominated by two major parties and many smaller parties, many of which are driven by individual leaders more than ideologies. Former President Martin Torrijos
Martín Torrijos
Martín Erasto Torrijos Espino is a Panamanian politician and the former President of the Republic of Panama.Torrijos was elected President on May 2, 2004...

 is the son of former military dictator Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

. He succeeded Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Moscoso
Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez de Arias is a Panamanian political figure. She was the President of Panama from 1999 to 2004, representing the Arnulfista Party...

, the widow of Arnulfo Arias
Arnulfo Arias
Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid was president of Panama on three occasions: 1940–41, 1949–51, and for two weeks in October 1968.- Origins :...

. Panama's most recent national elections occurred on May 3, 2009 with Ricardo Martinelli
Ricardo Martinelli
Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal is a Panamanian politician and businessman who was elected the 49th President of Panama in 2009. He is a Panamanian of Italian descent from his father's side.- Early life :...

 being elected. He was sworn for a five-year term in Panama City on July 1, 2009.

Provinces and regions




Panama is divided into nine provinces, with their respective local authorities (governors) and has a total of ten cities. Also, there are five Comarcas (literally: "Shires") populated by a variety of indigenous groups.
Provinces
  • Bocas del Toro
    Bocas del Toro Province
    Bocas del Toro is a province of Panama. Its extension is 4,643.9 square kilometers comprising the mainland and nine main islands. The province consists of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante , Laguna de Chiriquí , and adjacent mainland. The capital is the city of Bocas del Toro on Isla...

  • Chiriquí
    Chiriquí Province
    Chiriquí is a province of Panama, it is located on the western coast of Panama, and it is also the second most developed province in the country, after the Panamá Province. Its capital is the city of David. It has a total area of 6,490.9 km², with a population of 416,873 as of the year 2010...

  • Coclé
    Coclé Province
    Coclé is a province of central Panama on the nation's southern coast. The capital is the city of Penonomé. This province was created by the Act of September 12, 1855 with the title of Department of Coclé during the presidency of Dr. Justo de Arosemena. It became a province, Decretory Number 190,...

  • Colón
    Colón Province
    Colón is a province of Panama. The capital is the city of Colón.This province has traditionally been focused in commerce , but also has natural resources that are being developed as tourist attraction, such as coral reefs and rainforests...

  • Darién
    Darién Province
    Darién is a province in eastern Panama. It is also the largest province in Panama. It is hot, humid, heavily forested, and sparsely populated, having 48,378 habitants...

  • Herrera
    Herrera Province
    Herrera is a province in Panama. Named after General Tomás Herrera, the province was founded on January 18, 1915 after a division of the Los Santos province. The capital city of Herrera is Chitré, which is located near the province's coastline...

  • Los Santos
    Los Santos Province
    Los Santos is a province of Panama. The capital city is Las Tablas, which is famous for its carnivals, the Festival Nacional de la Pollera , and the Festival of the Patron Santa Librada; and the Festival Nacional de la Mejorana in Guararé...

  • Panamá
    Panamá Province
    Panamá is a major province of the country of Panama, containing the capital city, Panama City. The governor of the province is Mayin Correa, a former mayor of Panama City and elected by President Martinelli after being sworn in on July 1, 2009.-Districts:...

  • Veraguas
    Veraguas Province
    Veraguas is a province of Panama, located in the centre-west of the country. The capital is the city of Santiago de Veraguas. The province covers 10,677.2 km² and is divided into twelve districts.-History:...


Regions
  • Emberá
  • Kuna Yala
    Kuna Yala
    Guna Yala is an autonomous territory or comarca in Panama, inhabited by the Kuna indigenous people.The name means "Guna-land" or "Guna mountain" in the Kuna language...

  • Ngöbe-Buglé
    Ngöbe-Buglé
    Ngöbe-Buglé is a comarca in Panama. It was formed in 1997 with lands from the provinces of Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, and Veraguas. The capital is Chichica...

  • Kuna de Madugandí
    Kuna de Madugandí
    Kuna de Madugandi is a comarca in Panamá. It was created in 1996 from the east part of the province of Panamá, in the district of Chepo. The primary ethnicity is Kuna.The comarca is not divided into districts. Its capital is Akua Yala....

  • Kuna de Wargandí
    Kuna de Wargandí
    Kuna de Wargandí is a comarca indígena in Panamá. It was created in 2000 from the province of Darién, from the district of Pinogana. It has an area of 299 square miles . It is inhabited by the Kuna people....


Geography




Panama is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica. It mostly lies between latitudes
7th parallel north
The 7th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 7 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 10°N
10th parallel north
The 10th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 10 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 77°
77th meridian west
The meridian 77° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, South America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 83°W
83rd meridian west
The meridian 83° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 (a small area lies west of 83°). Some people consider the territory east of the Panama Canal as part of South America, although this is rare. Its location on the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

 is strategic. By 2000, Panama controlled the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 which connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to the North of the Pacific Ocean. Panama, at 75,515 km2, is ranked 118th worldwide on the basis of land size. For comparison, Panama is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 or slightly larger than the Canadian province of New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

.

The dominant feature of the country's landform is the central spine of mountains and hills that forms the continental divide. The divide does not form part of the great mountain chains of North America, and only near the Colombian border are there highlands related to the Andean
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 system of South America. The spine that forms the divide is the highly eroded arch of an uplift from the sea bottom, in which peaks were formed by volcanic intrusions.

The mountain range of the divide is called the Cordillera de Talamanca
Cordillera de Talamanca
The Cordillera de Talamanca is a mountain range that lies on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Much of the range and the area around it is included in the La Amistad International Park, which also is shared between the two countries....

 near the Costa Rican border. Farther east it becomes the Serranía de Tabasará, and the portion of it closer to the lower saddle of the isthmus, where the canal is located, is often called the Sierra de Veraguas. As a whole, the range between Costa Rica and the canal is generally referred to by geographers as the Cordillera Central
Cordillera Central, Costa Rica
The Cordillera Central is a volcanic mountain range in central Costa Rica which continues the Continental Divide east of Cordillera de Tilarán. It extends 80 km from Tapezco Pass to the Turrialba Volcano and ending on the Pacuare River...

.

The highest point in the country is the Volcán Barú
Volcán Barú
The Volcán Barú is the tallest mountain in Panama and is high. It lies about 35 km off the border of Costa Rica....

 (formerly known as the Volcán de Chiriquí), which rises to 3,475 metres (11,401 ft). A nearly impenetrable jungle forms the Darien Gap
Darién Gap
The Darién Gap is a large swath of undeveloped swampland and forest separating Panama's Darién Province in Central America from Colombia in South America. It measures just over long and about wide. Roadbuilding through this area is expensive, and the environmental toll is steep. Political...

 between Panama and Colombia where Colombian guerrilla and drug dealers are operating with hostage-taking. This and forest protection movements create a break in the Pan-American Highway
Pan-American Highway
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads measuring about in total length. Except for an rainforest break, called the Darién Gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's...

, which otherwise forms a complete road from Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 to Patagonia
Patagonia
Patagonia is a region located in Argentina and Chile, integrating the southernmost section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean and from the east of the cordillera to the valleys it follows south through Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean...

.

Panama's wildlife holds the most diversity of all the countries in Central America. It is home to many South American species as well as North American wildlife.

Waterways



Nearly 500 rivers lace Panama's rugged landscape. Mostly unnavigable, many originate as swift highland streams, meander in valleys, and form coastal deltas. However, the Río Chagres (Rio Chagres) is one of the few wide rivers and a source of enormous hydroelectric power. The river is located in central Panama. The central part of the river is dam
Dam
A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. Hydropower and pumped-storage hydroelectricity are...

med by the Gatun Dam
Gatun Dam
The Gatun Dam is a large earthen dam across the Chagres River in Panama, near the town of Gatun. The dam, constructed between 1907 and 1913, is a crucial element of the Panama Canal; it impounds the artificial Gatun Lake, which in turn carries ships for of their transit across the Isthmus of Panama...

 and forms Gatun Lake
Gatun Lake
Gatun Lake is a large artificial lake situated in the Republic of Panama; it forms a major part of the Panama Canal, carrying ships for of their transit across the Isthmus of Panama....

, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

. The lake was created between 1907 and 1913 by the building of the Gatun Dam
Gatun Dam
The Gatun Dam is a large earthen dam across the Chagres River in Panama, near the town of Gatun. The dam, constructed between 1907 and 1913, is a crucial element of the Panama Canal; it impounds the artificial Gatun Lake, which in turn carries ships for of their transit across the Isthmus of Panama...

 across the Chagres River
Chagres River
The Chagres River is a river in central Panama. The central part of the river is dammed by the Gatun Dam and forms Gatun Lake, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal. Upstream lies the Madden Dam, creating the Alajuala Lake that is also part of the Canal water system...

. At the time it was created, Gatun Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world, and the dam was the largest earth dam. It drains northwest into the Caribbean. The Kampia and Madden Lakes (also filled with water from the Río Chagres) provide hydroelectricity for the area of the former Canal Zone.

The Río Chepo, another source of hydroelectric power, is one of the more than 300 rivers emptying into the Pacific. These Pacific-oriented rivers are longer and slower running than those of the Caribbean side. Their basins are also more extensive. One of the longest is the Río Tuira which flows into the Golfo de San Miguel and is the nation's only river navigable by larger vessels.

Harbors


The Caribbean coastline is marked by several good natural harbors. However, Cristóbal, at the Caribbean terminus of the canal, had the only important port facilities in the late 1980s. The numerous islands of the Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro, near the Beaches of Costa Rica, provide an extensive natural roadstead and shield the banana port of Almirante
Almirante
Almirante is a city in the Bocas del Toro Province of the Republic of Panama. Its name is Spanish for Admiral.-Tourist Use:For travelers, Almirante is mainly used as a jumping off point for land travel to other cities on the mainland, Panama or to Costa Rica. An approximately 30-minute water taxi...

. The over 350 San Blas Islands
San Blas Islands
The San Blas Islands of Panama is an archipelago comprising approximately 378 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited. They lay off the north coast of the Isthmus, east of the Panama Canal...

, near Colombia, are strung out for more than 160 km along the sheltered Caribbean coastline.

Currently, the terminal ports located at each end of the Panama Canal, namely the Port of Cristobal and the Port of Balboa, are ranked second and third respectively in Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 in terms of numbers of containers units (TEU
TEU
TEU may refer to:* Twenty-foot equivalent unit, a measure used for capacity in container transportation* Treaty on European Union, formal name of the Maastricht Treaty on the creation of the euro...

) handled.
The Port of Balboa covers 182 hectares and contains four berths for containers and two multi-purpose berths. In total, the berths are over 2.4 thousand meters long with alongside depth of 15 meters. The Port of Balboa has 18 super post-Panamax and Panamax quay cranes and 44 gantry cranes. The Port of Balboa also contains 2.1 thousand square meters of warehouse space.

The Ports of Cristobal (encompassing the container terminals of Panama Ports Cristobal, Manzanillo International Terminal and Colon Container Terminal) handled 2,210,720 TEU in 2009, second only to the Port of Santos
Port of Santos
The Port of Santos is located in the city of Santos, Brazil. As of 2006, it is the busiest container port in Latin America. It possesses a wide variety of cargo handling terminals - solid and liquid bulk, containers and general loads. It is Brazil's leading port in container traffic...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, in Latin America.

Excellent deep water ports capable of accommodating large VLCC (Very Large Crude Oil Carriers) are located at Charco Azul
Charco Azul
Charco Azul is an area just outside Puerto Armuelles Panama. Charco Azul translates to blue ditch or puddle because it is very deep. Take a few steps into the ocean and where on a normal beach you might be up to your knees the water is above your head. The ocean floor drops off dramatically in a...

, Chiriqui
Chiriquí
Chiriquí refers to one of the following, in or around Panama:* Chiriquí Province* Chiriquí River* Gulf of Chiriquí...

 (Pacific) and Chiriqui Grande
Chiriquí Grande
Chiriquí Grande is a town in the Bocas del Toro province of Panama.- Sources :* – World-Gazetteer.com...

, Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro
-Transportation:Bocas del Toro is accessible by air or boat. Most visitors fly into Bocas del Toro "Isla Colón" International Airport from Costa Rica or Panama City. Ferries connect Almirante and Changuinola to Bocas del Toro. The ferry from travels thru a canal built to serve local banana...

 (Atlantic) near Panama's western border with Costa Rica. The Trans-Panama Pipeline
Trans-Panama Pipeline
The Trans-Panama Pipeline is an oil pipeline across Panama near the Costa Rican border from the port of Chiriqui Grande, Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast to the port of Charco Azul on the Pacific coast.-History:...

, running across the isthmus with a length of 131 km, has been operating between Charco Azul and Chiriqui Grande since 1979.

Climate




Panama has a tropical climate. Temperatures are uniformly high—as is the relative humidity—and there is little seasonal variation. Diurnal ranges are low; on a typical dry-season day in the capital city, the early morning minimum may be 24 °C (75.2 °F) and the afternoon maximum 30 °C (86 °F). The temperature seldom exceeds 32 °C (89.6 °F) for more than a short time. Temperatures on the Pacific side of the isthmus are somewhat lower than on the Caribbean, and breezes tend to rise after dusk in most parts of the country. Temperatures are markedly cooler in the higher parts of the mountain ranges, and frosts occur in the Cordillera de Talamanca in western Panama.

Climatic regions are determined less on the basis of temperature than on rainfall, which varies regionally from less than 1300 millimetres (51.2 in) to more than 3000 millimetres (118.1 in) per year. Almost all of the rain falls during the rainy season, which is usually from April to December, but varies in length from seven to nine months. In general, rainfall is much heavier on the Caribbean than on the Pacific side of the continental divide. The annual average in Panama City is little more than half of that in Colón. Although rainy-season thunderstorms are common, the country is outside of the hurricane belt.

Panama's tropical environment supports an abundance of plants. Forests dominate, interrupted in places by grasslands, scrub, and crops. Although nearly 40% of Panama is still wooded, deforestation is a continuing threat to the rain-drenched woodlands. Tree cover has been reduced by more than 50% since the 1940s. Subsistence farming, widely practiced from the northeastern jungles to the southwestern grasslands, consists largely of corn, bean, and tuber plots. Mangrove swamps occur along parts of both coasts, with banana plantations occupying deltas near Costa Rica. In many places, a multi-canopied rain forest abuts the swamp on one side of the country and extends to the lower reaches of slopes in the other.

Demographics





Panama had a population of 3,405,813 in May 2010. The CIA World Factbook gives the folowing statististics for the population: "mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%". The Amerindian population includes seven indigenous peoples: the Emberá
Embera-Wounaan
The Embera–Wounaan are a group of semi-nomadic Indians in Panama, living in the province of Darien at the shores of the Chucunaque, Sambu, Tuira Rivers and its water ways...

, Wounaan
Embera-Wounaan
The Embera–Wounaan are a group of semi-nomadic Indians in Panama, living in the province of Darien at the shores of the Chucunaque, Sambu, Tuira Rivers and its water ways...

, Ngöbe Buglé
Ngöbe Buglé
The Ngöbe–Buglé are a union of two indigenous peoples of western Panama, the Guaymí and the Bokota . They live in the highlands of Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí Province and on the arid plains of Veraguas, and have a joint reservation, the Ngöbe–Buglé Comarca.-History:The Ngöbe–Buglé Comarca was...

 (formerly the Guaymí
Guaymí
The Guaymí or Ngäbe are an indigenous group living mainly within the Ngäbe-Buglé comarca in the Western Panamanian provinces of Veraguas, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, as well as in the indigenous town of Conte, Costa Rica near the extreme southern tip of the country...

), Kuna
Kuna (people)
Kuna or Cuna is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The spelling Kuna is currently preferred. In the Kuna language, the name is Dule or Tule, meaning "people," and the name of the language in Kuna is Dulegaya, meaning "Kuna language" - Location :The Kuna live in three...

, Naso
Naso (people)
The Central American tribe, Naso, Teribe or Tjër Di are an indigenous people located in northwest Panama, in the Bocas del Toro Province. There are roughly 3,500 people who belong to the Naso tribe...

 and Bribri
Bribri
The Bribri are an indigenous tribe from Costa Rica. They live in the Talamanca Canton in Limón Province of Costa Rica. They speak the Bribri language and Spanish. There are varying estimates of the population of the tribe. According to a census by the Ministerio de Salud, there are 11,500 Bribri...

. More than half the population lives in the Panama City–Colón
Colón, Panama
Colón is a sea port on the Caribbean Sea coast of Panama. The city lies near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. It is capital of Panama's Colón Province and has traditionally been known as Panama's second city....

 metropolitan corridor.

The culture, customs, and language of the Panamanians are predominantly Caribbean and Spanish. Spanish is the official and dominant language. About 93% speak Spanish as their first language, though there are many citizens who speak both English and Spanish or native languages, such as Ngäbere. Some new statistics show that as second language, English is spoken by an 8%, French by a 4% and Arabic by 1% . The private educational system also offers German, Portuguese and Italian.

Panama, because of its historical reliance on commerce, is above all an ethnic salad bowl
Salad Bowl
Salad Bowl can refer to the following:* Salad bowl , a cultural idea referring to the United States* Salad Bowl , a defunct, annual, post-season college football bowl game...

. This is shown, for instance, by its considerable population of Afro-Antillean and Chinese origin
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

. The first Chinese immigrated to Panama
Ethnic Chinese in Panama
Ethnic Chinese in Panama, also variously referred to as Chinese-Panamanian, Panamanian-Chinese, Panama Chinese, or in Spanish as Chino-Panameño, are Panamanian citizens and residents of Chinese origin or descent....

 from southern China to help build the Panama Railroad in the 19th century. They were followed by several waves of immigrants whose descendants number around 50,000. Starting in the 1970s, a further 80,000 have immigrated from other parts of China as well.

Afro-Panamanians
Afro-Panamanians
Afro-Panamanian are Panamanians of African descent. Afro-Panamanians are 15% of the population and it is estimated 50% of Panamanians have African ancestry...

 have played a significant role in the creation of the republic. Some historians have estimated that up to 50% of the population of Panama has some African ancestry. The descendants of the Africans who arrived during the colonial era are intermixed in the general population or are found in small Afro-Panamanian communities along the Atlantic Coast and in villages within the Darién jungle. Most of the people in Darien are fishermen or small scale farmers growing crops such as bananas, rice and coffee as well as raising livestock. Other Afro-Panamanians are the descendants of later migrants from the Caribbean who came to work on railroad construction projects, commercial agricultural enterprises, and especially the canal. Important Afro-Caribbean community areas include towns and cities such as Colon, Cristobal and Balboa, in the former Canal Zone, as well as the Rio Abajo area of Panama City. Another region with a large Afro-Caribbean population is the province of Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean coast just south of Costa Rica.

Most of the Panamanian population of West Indian descent owe their presence in the country to the monumental efforts to build the Panama Canal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Three-quarters of the 50,000 workers who built the canal were Afro Caribbean migrants from the British West Indies. Thousands of Afro-Caribbean workers were recruited from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

Panama is the smallest Spanish-speaking Latin American country in terms of population.

The most common religion in Panama
Religion in Panama
The government of Panama does not collect statistics on the religious affiliation of citizens, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian...

 is Roman Catholicism – various sources estimate that 75–85% of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15–25% as evangelical Christian. The Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 community of Panama is estimated at 2.00% of the national population, or about 60,000 and is home to one of the seven Baha'i Houses of Worship. Smaller religious groups include Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Muslim
Islam in Panama
Islam in Panama has a long and unique history. According to a 2009 Pew Research Center report, there are 24,000 Muslims in Panama who constitute 0.7 percent of the population.-Early history:...

 communities with approximately 10,000 members each, and small groups of Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s, Buddhists and Rastafarians. Indigenous religions include Ibeorgun (among Kuna
Kuna (people)
Kuna or Cuna is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The spelling Kuna is currently preferred. In the Kuna language, the name is Dule or Tule, meaning "people," and the name of the language in Kuna is Dulegaya, meaning "Kuna language" - Location :The Kuna live in three...

) and Mamatata (among Ngöbe Buglé
Ngöbe Buglé
The Ngöbe–Buglé are a union of two indigenous peoples of western Panama, the Guaymí and the Bokota . They live in the highlands of Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí Province and on the arid plains of Veraguas, and have a joint reservation, the Ngöbe–Buglé Comarca.-History:The Ngöbe–Buglé Comarca was...

).

Culture




The culture of Panama derived from European music, art and traditions that were brought over by the Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 to Panama. Hegemonic forces have created hybrid
Cross-genre
A cross-genre is a genre in fiction that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres.-Examples:*Action comedy *Comedy-drama or dramedy *Comedy-horror...

 forms of this by blending African
Culture of Africa
The culture of Africa encompasses and includes all cultures within the continent of Africa. There is a political or racial split between North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, which is in turn divided into a great number of ethnic cultures...

 and Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 culture with European culture
Culture of Europe
The culture of Europe might better be described as a series of overlapping cultures. Whether it is a question of North as opposed to South; West as opposed to East; Orthodoxism as opposed to Protestantism as opposed to Catholicism as opposed to Secularism; many have claimed to identify cultural...

. For example, the tamborito is a Spanish dance that was blended with Native American rhythms, themes and dance moves. Dance is a symbol of the diverse cultures that have coupled in Panama. The local folklore can be experienced through a multitude of festivals, dances and traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. Local cities host live Reggae en Español
Reggae en Español
Reggae en Español is reggae and dancehall music recorded in the Spanish language by artists of Latin American origin. It originated in the mid-1970s in Panama and 1980s in Puerto Rico, but today reggae en Español is well dominated by Puerto Rican reggae bands...

, Cuban, Reggaeton
Reggaeton
Reggaeton is a form of Puerto Rican and Latin American urban and Caribbean music. After its mainstream exposure in 2004, it spread to North American, European and Asian audiences. Reggaeton originated in Puerto Rico but is also has roots from Reggae en Español from Panama and Puerto Rico and...

, Kompa, Colombian
Colombian people
Colombian people are from a multiethnic Spanish speaking nation in South America called Colombia. Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and are a mixture of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians.-Demography:...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

, salsa
Salsa music
Salsa music is a genre of music, generally defined as a modern style of playing Cuban Son, Son Montuno, and Guaracha with touches from other genres of music...

, reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

, passa passa
Passa Passa
Passa Passa is a weekly street party originating in Kingston, Jamaica. It is reported to have begun on Ash Wednesday in 2003, with the name being coined by Carl Shelley. It is performed to dancehall music. It has spread throughout the Caribbean and started in Colon City in Panama, but has since...

, jerk
Jerk
In physics, jerk, also known as jolt , surge and lurch, is the rate of change of acceleration; that is, the derivative of acceleration with respect to time, the second derivative of velocity, or the third derivative of position...

 and rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 performances.

Outside of Panama City, regional festivals take place throughout the year featuring local musicians and dancers. Another example of Panama's blended culture is reflected in the traditional products, such as woodcarvings, ceremonial masks and pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, as well as in its architecture, cuisine and festivals. In earlier times, baskets were woven for utilitarian uses, but now many villages rely almost exclusively on the baskets they produce for tourists.

An example of undisturbed, unique culture in Panama stems from the Kuna Indians
Kuna (people)
Kuna or Cuna is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The spelling Kuna is currently preferred. In the Kuna language, the name is Dule or Tule, meaning "people," and the name of the language in Kuna is Dulegaya, meaning "Kuna language" - Location :The Kuna live in three...

 who are known for molas
Mola (art form)
The mola forms part of the traditional costume of a Kuna woman, two mola panels being incorporated as front and back panels in a blouse. The full costume traditionally includes a patterned wrapped skirt , a red and yellow headscarf , arm and leg beads , a gold nose ring and earrings in addition...

. Mola is the Kuna Indian word for blouse, but the term mola has come to mean the elaborate embroidered panels that make up the front and back of a Kuna woman's blouse. Molas are works of art created by the women of the Central American Cuna (or Kuna) tribe. They are several layers of cloth varying in color that are loosely stitched together made using an appliqué
Applique
In its broadest sense, an appliqué is a smaller ornament or device applied to another surface. In the context of ceramics, for example, an appliqué is a separate piece of clay added to the primary work, generally for the purpose of decoration...

 process referred to as "reverse appliqué".

The Christmas parade, known as El desfile de Navidad, is celebrated in the capital Panama City. This holiday is celebrated on December 25. The floats of the people in the parade are decorated with the Panamanians colors and the women dress in dresses called the Pollera the men dress in the traditional Montuno. In addition, the marching band in the parade which consists of drummers keeps the crowds entertained. In the city, a big Christmas tree is lit with Christmas lights, and everybody surrounds the tree and sings Christmas carols.

The traditional Panamanian dish for Christmas usually includes chicken tamales, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), puerca asada, pernil, pavo (turkey) and relleno (stuffing). Bowls of fruits and fruitcake are set out on the tables along with the dishes. Along with these foods and dessert, a traditional drink is served which is called Ron Ponche (eggnog). Which consists of: two cans of condensed milk, three cans of evaporated milk, six eggs and half a bottle of rum and nutmeg for some extra flavor.

A Panamanian women's traditional clothing is called the Pollera
Pollera
A pollera is a Spanish term that denotes big one-piece skirts, that nowadays are used mostly in traditional festivities and folklore in the Spanish speaking world.-Spain:...

. The Pollera originated in Spain in the 16th century. Later on the Pollera was used as a typical dress in Panama in the early eighteen hundreds. The Pollera was worn by women servants or maids: "it was especially the dress of the wet nurses who nursed the children of the family" (De Zarate 5). As years went on, the upper class women adopted the dress.

The original Pollera consists of a female wearing a ruffled blouse that is off her shoulders. The skirt is on the waistline with gold buttons. The skirt also has ruffle so when she lifts it up, it looks like a peacock's tail or a mantilla fan. The designs on the skirt and blouse are usually flowers, or birds. A two large matching mota(pom-pom) is on the front and back, four ribbons are hanging from the back and the front on the waist line, caberstrillos (five chains of gold) are hanging from the neck to the waist, a gold cross or medallion that's on a black ribbon is worn as a choker and a silk purse is worn the female waistline. Zaricillos (earrings) are usually gold or coral and to complete the outfit the female wears slippers which matche the color of her Pollera. Her hair is usually worn in a bun held with three large gold combs which have some pearls and is worn like a crown. The best pollera can usually cost up to ten thousand dollars and may take a year to complete. The men also wear traditional clothing. Their outfits consist of white cotton shirts, trousers and woven straw hat. This traditional clothing can be worn in parades, where the females and males do a traditional dance. The females do a gentle sway and twirl their skirts while the men hold their hats in their hands and dance behind the females.

A pollera is made with a "cambric" or "fine linen" (Baker 177). The color of the Pollera is always white and it is usually about thirteen yards of material. Today, there are different types of polleras; The Pollera de Gala consists of a short sleeved ruffle skirt blouse, two full length skirts and a petticoat. The girls wear tembleques a gold and tortoise shell combs with pearls in it in their hair. Gold coins and jewelry are added on the outfit. The Pollera Montuna is a daily dress, with a blouse, a skirt with a solid color, a single gold chain and a pendant earrings. The hair piece is a natural flower in the hair. This Pollera is slightly different from the rest because instead of off the shoulder blouse, the females wear a fitted white jacket, shoulder pleats and a flared hem.

Religion



The government of Panama does not collect statistics on the religious affiliation of citizens, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85% of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15–25% as evangelical Christian. The Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 community of Panama is estimated at 2.00% of the national population, or about 60,000 including about 10% of the Guaymí
Guaymí
The Guaymí or Ngäbe are an indigenous group living mainly within the Ngäbe-Buglé comarca in the Western Panamanian provinces of Veraguas, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, as well as in the indigenous town of Conte, Costa Rica near the extreme southern tip of the country...

 population; the Bahá'ís maintain one of the world's seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in Panama. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claim more than 40,000 members. Smaller religious groups include Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, Episcopalians
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Muslim
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s, Buddhists, and other Christians. Indigenous religions include Ibeorgun (among Kuna
Kuna (people)
Kuna or Cuna is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The spelling Kuna is currently preferred. In the Kuna language, the name is Dule or Tule, meaning "people," and the name of the language in Kuna is Dulegaya, meaning "Kuna language" - Location :The Kuna live in three...

) and Mamatata (among Ngobe). There is also a small number of Rastafarians.

Sports


The U.S. influence in Panama can be seen in the country's sports. Baseball is the National Sport of Panama and has regional teams and a national team that represents them in international events. Many Panamanians have played on professional teams in the United States, including Rod Carew
Rod Carew
Rodney Cline "Rod" Carew is a former Major League Baseball first baseman, second baseman and coach. He played from 1967 to 1985 for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels and was elected to the All-Star game every season except his last. In 1991, Carew was inducted into the National...

, who was one of the game’s greatest hitters, and Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera is a Panamanian right-handed baseball pitcher who has played 17 years in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. Nicknamed "Mo", Rivera has served as a relief pitcher for most of his career, and since 1997, he has been the Yankees' closer...

, who is widely considered the best closer of all time. From the List of Major League Baseball players from Panama it can be seen that no other Central American nation has had as many Major Leaguers as Panama. At least 140 Panamanian players have played professional baseball in the United States. Among Panama’s more prominent boxers are Roberto Durán
Roberto Durán
Roberto Durán Samaniego is a retired professional boxer from Panama, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, he was nicknamed "Manos de Piedra" during his career....

, who won world titles in four weight classes, and Eusebio Pedroza
Eusebio Pedroza
Eusebio Pedroza is a native of Panama who holds two records in boxing: His 19 defenses as world featherweight champion are a record for that division, and his seven years as world champion non-stop are a division record too...

, who was the featherweight champion for more than seven years. Four Panamanians are on the List of current world boxing champions: Guillermo Jones
Guillermo Jones
Guillermo Jones is a Panamanian boxer best known for losing three world title fights in controversial decisions...

, Celestino Caballero
Celestino Caballero
Celestino "Pelenchin" Caballero is a professional boxer from Panama. He is the former undisputed Super Bantamweight WBA & IBF and Super Champion for the WBA. On October 14th, 2011, Celestino became the new WBA Featherweight champion of the world after beating Jonathan Barros at Luna Park, Argentina...

, Anselmo Moreno
Anselmo Moreno
Anselmo Moreno is a professional boxer from El Martillo San Miguelito, Republic of Panama.He is the current WBA Bantamweight Super Champion. In August 2011, Moreno signed a four fight promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions.-Bantamweight:...

, and Luis Concepción
Luis Concepción
Luis Concepción is a professional boxer from Panama City. His nickname is "El Nica". The southpaw resides in the capital of Panama. His professional record includes 24 fights: 22 wins , and 2 losses. He won the WBA Interim Flyweight Title by TKO against Mexican Omar Salado on September 5, 2009...

. Basketball is popular in Panama, there are regional teams as well as a squad that competes internationally. Among Panama's most prominent basketball players are Rolando Blackman
Rolando Blackman
Rolando Antonio Blackman is a retired professional basketball player. He was an All-Star who spent most of his career with the Dallas Mavericks...

 (four-time NBA All-Star) and Harlem Globetrotters
Harlem Globetrotters
The Harlem Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater and comedy. The executive offices for the team are currently in downtown Phoenix, Arizona; the team is owned by Shamrock Holdings, which oversees the various investments of the Roy E. Disney family.Over...

' star Kevin Daley
Kevin Daley
Kevin "Special K" Daley is part of the current Harlem Globetrotters squad. He played collegially for Azusa Pacific University, and joined the Globetrotters after they saw him play in a 2004 summer league....

. Long jump
Long jump
The long jump is a track and field event in which athletes combine speed, strength, and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a take off point...

er Irving Saladino
Irving Saladino
Irving Jahir Saladino Aranda is a Panamanian long jumper. He is the current Olympic champion, and Panama's first and only Olympic gold medallist.Saladino was born in Colón, Panama....

 became the first Panamanian Olympic champion in 2008. Other popular sports include volleyball, football, golf, and tennis.
A long-distance hiking trail called the TransPanama Trail is being built from Colombia to Costa Rica.

Education


In 2000, it was estimated that 91.9% of the population was literate (92.5% of males and 91.2% of females). Education in Panama is compulsory
Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...

 for the children of age group between 6 and 15. In recent decades, school enrollment at all levels, but especially at upper levels, has increased significantly.

Originally, during the 16th century, education in Panama was provided by Jesuit priests. Public education, as a national and governmental institution, began only in 1903. The principles underlying this early education system were that children should receive different types of education in accordance with their social class and therefore the position they were expected to occupy in society.

Economy



According to the CIA World Factbook, Panama has an unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 rate of 7%. A food surplus was registered in August 2008. On the Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 Panama was ranked at number 60 (2008).
In recent years, Panama's economy has experienced an economic boom, with growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) averaging over 10.4% from 2006–2008. The Panamanian economy has been among the fastest growing and best managed in Latin America. Latin Business Chronicle
Latin Business Chronicle
Latin Business Chronicle is a weekly online journal on Latin American business and technology.-Company information:LBC, a unit of , has around 17,000 readers per month.- Indexes :...

 has predicted that Panama will be the fastest growing economy in Latin America in the five-year period 2010–14, matching Brazil's 10% rate.

Like most countries in the region, Panama is feeling the impact of the global financial crisis, which threatens to undermine the social gains made in the past few years.

The expansion project of the Panama Canal, combined with the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the United States, is expected to boost and extend economic expansion for some time. This presents a historic opportunity to make further progress in reducing persistent poverty and income inequality.

Despite Panama's status as an upper-middle income nation – as measured by per capita GDP – it remains a country of stark contrasts. Perpetuated by dramatic educational disparities, over one-third of Panama's population lived in poverty in 2008 and 14.4% in extreme poverty.

Economic sectors


Panama's economy, because of its key geographic location, is mainly based on a well developed service sector heavily weighted towards banking, commerce, tourism, trading. The handover of the Canal and military installations by the United States has given rise to large construction projects. A referendum regarding the building of a third set of locks for the Panama Canal was approved overwhelmingly (with low voter turnout, however) on 22 October 2006.

The official estimated cost of the building of the third set of locks is US$5.25 billion. The canal is of major economic importance since it pumps millions of dollars from toll revenue to the national economy and provides massive employment. The United States had a monopoly over the Panama Canal for 85 years but the Torrijos-Carter Treaties signed in 1977 began the process of returning the canal to the Panamanian government by 1999.

Copper and gold deposits are being developed by foreign investors.

Tourism



Tourism in the Republic of Panama kept its growth during the past 5 years due to the government offering tax and price discounts to foreign guests and retirees. These economic incentives caused Panama to be regarded as a relatively good place to retire in the world. Real estate developers in Panama have increased the amount of tourism destinations in the past five years because of the interest for these visitor incentives. The amount of tourists arriving between January and September 2008 totalled 1,110,000. This was a significant increase of 13.1% (128,452) over the previous high of 982,640 during the same period in 2007.

The arrival of tourists from Europe to Panama grew by 23.1% during the first nine months of 2008. According to the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), between January and September, 71,154 tourists from the Old Continent entered the country that is 13,373 more than figures for same period last year. Most of the Europeans who have visited Panama were Spaniards (14,820), followed by Italians (13,216), French (10,174) and British (8,833). From Germany, the most populous country in the European Union, 6997 tourists arrived. Europe has become one of the key markets to promote Panama as a tourist destination.

In 2007, 1.445.5 million entered into the Panamanian economy as a result of tourism. This accounted for 9.5% of gross domestic product in the country, surpassing other productive sectors.

Panama's Law No. 9 is still the most modern and comprehensive law for the promotion of tourism investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. In so-called Special Tourism Zones, Law 8 offers incentives such as 100% exemption from income tax, real estate tax, import duties for construction materials and equipment, and other taxes. Panama has declared different parts of the country as Special Tourism Zones which are benefited with multiple tax exemptions and tax holidays.

Currency


The Panamanian currency is officially the balboa
Panamanian balboa
The balboa is, along with the United States dollar, one of the official currencies of Panama. It is named in honor of the Spanish explorer/conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa. The balboa is subdivided into 100 centésimos.-The History of the Panamanian Balboa:The balboa replaced the Colombian peso...

, fixed
Fixed exchange rate
A fixed exchange rate, sometimes called a pegged exchange rate, is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is matched to the value of another single currency or to a basket of other currencies, or to another measure of value, such as gold.A fixed exchange rate is usually used to...

 at parity with the United States dollar since independence in 1903. In practice, however, the country is dollarized
Dollarization
Dollarization occurs when the inhabitants of a country use foreign currency in parallel to or instead of the domestic currency. The term is not only applied to usage of the United States dollar, but generally to the use of any foreign currency as the national currency.The biggest economies to have...

; Panama has its own coinage but uses U.S. dollars for all its paper currency. According to the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, Panama's inflation as measured by weight CPI
Consumer price index
A consumer price index measures changes in the price level of consumer goods and services purchased by households. The CPI, in the United States is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as "a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of...

 was 2.0% in 2006. Panama has traditionally experienced low inflation, as it shares currencies with the U.S.

The balboa replaced the Colombian peso
Colombian peso
The peso is the currency of Colombia. Its ISO 4217 code is COP and it is also informally abbreviated as COL$. However, the official peso symbol is $. As 20 July 2011, the exchange rate of the Colombian peso is 1750 Colombian pesos to 1 U.S. dollar.-History:The peso has been the currency of Colombia...

 in 1904 following the country's independence. The balboa has been tied to the United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 (which is legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

 in Panama) at an exchange rate
Exchange rate
In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

 of 1:1 since its introduction and has always circulated alongside dollars.

Panamanian banknotes, denominated in balboas, were printed in 1941 by President Arnulfo Arias. They were recalled several days later, giving them the name "The Seven Day Dollar." The notes were burned after the seven days but occasionally balboa notes can be found with collectors. These were the only banknotes issued by Panama and U.S. notes have circulated both before and since.

International trade



The high levels of Panamanian trade are in large part from the Colón Free Trade Zone
Colón Free Trade Zone
The Colón Free Trade Zone is a gigantic entity at the Atlantic gateway to the Panamá Canal, dedicated to re-export an enormous variety of merchandise to Latin America and the Caribbean. It is also the largest free zone in the Americas and second largest in the world.It started operations in 1948...

, the largest free trade zone in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

. Last year the zone accounted for 92% of Panama's exports and 64% of its imports, according to an analysis of figures from the Colon zone management and estimates of Panama's trade by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean was established in 1948 to encourage economic cooperation among its member states. In 1984, a resolution was passed to include the countries of the Caribbean in the name...

. Panama's economy is also very much supported by the trade and exportation of coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 and other agricultural products.

The Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the governments of the United States and Panama was signed on October 27, 1982. The treaty protects U.S. investment and assists Panama in its efforts to develop its economy by creating conditions more favorable for U.S. private investment and thereby strengthening the development of its private sector. The BIT with Panama was the first such treaty signed by the U.S. in the Western Hemisphere. A Trade Promotion Agreement
Panama - United States Trade Promotion Agreement
The Panama - United States Trade Promotion Agreement is a bilateral free trade agreement, whose stated objectives include eliminating obstacles to trade, consolidating access to goods and services and favoring private investment in and between both nations...

 between the United States and Panama was signed by both governments in 2007, but neither country has yet approved or implemented the agreement.

See also


  • International rankings of Panama
    International rankings of Panama
    -General:* United Nations: Human Development Index , ranked 58 out of 177 countries* A.T. Kearney/Foreign Policy Magazine: Globalization Index 2006, ranked 21 out of 62 countries-Economic:...

  • List of Panamanians

  • Panamanian literature
    Panamanian literature
    Panamanian literature comprises the whole of literary works written in Panama. Panamanian historian and essayist Rodrigo Miró cites Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés as the author of the first Panamanian literary work, the story of a character named Andrea de la Roca, which was published as...

  • United States invasion of Panama
    United States invasion of Panama
    The United States Invasion of Panama, code-named Operation Just Cause, was the invasion of Panama by the United States in December 1989. It occurred during the administration of U.S. President George H. W...

    , 1989


Further reading

  • Buckley, Kevin, Panama, Touchstone, 1992. ISBN 0-671-77876-5
  • Diaz Espino, Ovidio, How Wall Street Created a Nation, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001. ISBN 1-56858-196-3
  • Harding, Robert C., The History of Panama, Greenwood Publishing, 2006.
  • Harding, Robert C., Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics, Transaction Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-393-02696-5
  • Joster, R.M. and Sanchez, Guillermo, In the Time of the Tyrants, Panama: 1968–1990, W.W.Norton & Company, 1990.
  • Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. ISBN 1-56328-155-4. OCLC 42970390.
  • Mellander, Gustavo A. (1971). The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years. Danville, Ill.: Interstate Publishers. OCLC 138568.
  • Murillo, Luis E. (1995). The Noriega Mess: The Drugs, the Canal, and Why America Invaded. 1096 pages, illustrated. Berkeley: Video Books. ISBN 0-923444-02-5.
  • Porras, Ana Elena, Cultura de la Interoceanidad: Narrativas de Identidad Nacional de Panama (1990–2002), Editorial Carlos Manuel Gasteazoro, 2005. ISBN 9962-53-131-4
  • Serrano, Damaris, La Nacion Panamena en sus Espacios: Cultura Popular, Resistencia y Globalizacion, Editorial Mariano Arosemena, 2005. ISBN 9962-659-01-9
  • Villarreal, Melquiades, Esperanza o Realidad: Fronteras de la Identidad Panamena, Editorial Mariano Arosemena, 2004. ISBN 9962-601-80-0
  • Weeks, John and Gunson, Phil, Panama. Made in the USA, 1992. ISBN 978-0-906156-55-1

External links