Panama - the southernmost country in Central America
Anyone who hears about Panama thinks first of all of the Panama Canal.
Panama, the southernmost country in Central America, stretches between
Colombia, Costa Rica, the Caribbean islands and the gigantic Pacific Ocean. This
makes it the connecting bridge between North and South America. And of course
everyone who hears the name Panama inevitably immediately thinks of the Panama
Canal. This artificial waterway, about 82 kilometers long, is the fastest sea
connection between the east and west coast of North America and cuts through
Panama at its narrowest point. Before its completion in 1914, the ships that
operated between New York and San Francisco, for example, had to cover an
estimated 30,000 kilometers and the very dangerous journey around the notorious
Cape Horn. However, those times are long gone. And even today the canal is the
most important source of economic income in the country, which is only 25%
populated so far. Around 930,000 ships have already passed through it.
However, the fascinating and beautiful Panama has a lot more to offer than
“just” the canal. In addition to the almost 2,000 kilometers of coastline and
dense jungle, it has countless foolishly beautiful islands that are forgotten in
the Caribbean and Pacific. The "Bocas del Toro" archipelago is particularly
popular with tourists. These floating islands in the far north-west of the
country with their fantastic national park are entered via beaches that are as
white as pearls. The varied Panamanian landscape is characterized by "El
Interior", a huge savannah between the central mountains up to 3,500 meters high
and the Peninsula de Azuero.
On November 3rd, the fun-loving Panamanians celebrate their national holiday, on
which they commemorate their independence from Colombia. So it was only long
after Cristóbal Colón first landed here and Vasco Núñez de Balboa's discovery of
the Pacific Ocean that Panama became an independent republic. The split from the
Spanish colonial empire in 1821 was followed by the independence of Simón
Bolívar's founding Greater Colombia in 1903.
While in some parts of the country, especially on the Caribbean coast, the
traditional life of the Kuna Yala Indians still prevails, the contrast is formed
by Panama City, a hectic, crazy metropolis full of chaos and hellish joy. The
city is the south entrance to the canal and the economic and financial center of
the country. In addition to the “Casco Viejo”, a grandiose, but at night very
gloomy old town with countless museums and churches, it also impresses with the
Parque Natural Metropolitano with its unexpectedly rich fauna. And the
Panamericana runs through the whole republic, which meanders its entire length
from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and measures almost 28,000 kilometers at the
|Name of the country
||República de Panamá
(Republic of Panama)
|Form of government
||Panama is located in Central America on the canal of the same name,
between Costa Rica in the north and Colombia in the south.
||November 3rd (independence from Colombia in 1903)
||around 4.3 million (Credit:
||Around 64% of the population are mestizos, blacks and mulattos make
up around 14%, Caucasians, i.e. whites, are around 10% and Asians around
4%. The rest is spread across different nations.
||Approx. 80% are Catholic and around 15% are
Protestant Christians. The rest is distributed among other religions,
few are non-denominational.
||The official language is Spanish.
English and various Indian dialects are also spoken.
||Panama City with around 1.5 million residents
||Volcán Barú, 3,475 m
||Gatun, 430 km²
|International license plate
|Time difference to CET
||- 6 h
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
Before the year 1000
The first evidence of human life in what is now Panama goes as far as 5,500
BC. BC back. After that, people who were descendants of Mongolian tribes lived
here, who had come to Alaska many millennia earlier and who over time moved
further and further south.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
Abbreviationfinder website, during the colonization of South and Central America, especially by the
Spaniards, today's Panama also became part of the Spanish colonial empire. In
1500 the Spaniard Rodrigo de Bastidas explored the southern Atlantic coast in
what is now Panama. In September 1513 the Spaniard Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the
first to cross what is now Panama from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 1519 the
Spaniard Pedrarias Dávila founded a branch near what is now Panama City
(City). In 1543 the Spanish possessions in the area of today's state of Costa
Rica, Panama, Venezuela and Colombia were added to the Spanish Vice Kingdom of
Peru as New Granada. In 1717 New Granada became an independent vice kingdom
under the Spanish crown.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
After Simón Bolivar had expelled the Spaniards from present-day Colombia and
Venezuela in 1821 and had proclaimed the Republic of Greater Colombia, today's
Panama joined. Panama remained a province of Colombia until the beginning of the
In the 20th and 21st centuries
It was not until November 3, 1903, that the country became independent, with
considerable US involvement. But the so-called Canal Zone, in which construction
of the Panama Canal began, remained under US administration. It only came under
the full control of Panama on January 1, 2000.
On November 3, 1903, Panama became an independent state. Shortly thereafter,
a contract was signed with the USA on the construction of the Panama Canal and
certain sovereign rights for the USA in the canal area. On September 7, 1977,
Panama and the USA signed an agreement that provided for the transfer of the
entire canal zone to Panama on January 1, 2000.
In 1981, after the death of President Omar Trijos Herreros, General Manuel
Noriega practically took over power in the country as Commander-in-Chief of the
Army. In 1989, the invasion began on December 20th, the dictator Manuel Noriega
was overthrown with the help of an American invading army and then brought to
the USA. He was sentenced there in 1992 to 40 years in prison for drug offenses,
extortion and the murder of oppositionists. He's still sitting there today.
On May 3, 2009 the right-hand pullover and entrepreneur Ricardo Martinelli
surprisingly won the presidential election with 60.4%. It was the fourth
presidential election in the country after Noriega.