Panama History

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History[edit | edit source]

Panama was inhabited by indigenous tribes before Spanish colonists arrived in the 16th century. It broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined the Republic of Gran Colombia, a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela. After Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada eventually became the Republic of Colombia.

With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the construction of the Panama Canal to be completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. The 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties led to the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama on December 31, 1999.

Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index. Since 2010, Panama has been the second-most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1821 - In the first 80 years following independence from Spain, Panama was a department of Colombia, after voluntarily joining
1903 - Panama separated from Colombia and began its establishment as a nation
1903 - 1989 Panama was a constitutional democracy dominated by a commercially oriented power that rests with a small number of people
1989 - Operation Just Cause, was necessary to safeguard the lives of U.S. citizens in Panama and the number of US civilians and their dependents, who had worked for the Panama Canal Commission and the US military, and were killed by the Panamanian Defense Forces, has never been fully disclosed
1989 - The bombardments during Operation Just Cause, caused the displacement of 20,000 people

Panama in 1915[edit | edit source]

Published by Diario de Panama (a newspaper agency) in 1915. Includes historical documents spanning the first 12 years of Panama as a republic, as well as a history of Panama and the Panama Canal from the Sixteenth Century to 1912. Other topics include political geography, ethnography, health, culture, public instruction, and religious and civil architecture. Different articles are written in either English or Spanish, but are not translated.

The Hispanic Panama: 1501-1821[edit | edit source]

Contains the history of the hispanic presence in the Isthmus of Panama. It has 10 chapters: I. The Isthmus of Panama when it was discovered. II. The Isthmus as a center for colonization and geographical explorations. III. Panama, transit point for valuable metals. IV. The hispanic world against the Indian. V. The negro presence in colonial Panama. VI. Government, white society, and economy. VII. Foreign incursions and the security system in Panamá. VII. Panamá during the height of illegal commerce (1700-1750). IX. Culture, artistic manifestations and education in Hispanic Panamá. X. The independence of Panama from Spain in 1821. Authors: Celestino Andrés Araúz Monfante, Patricia Pizzurno

Nationality Library Collection[edit | edit source]

These books are all in Spanish.

  • Apuntamientos históricos (1801-1840) - Mariano Arosemena
  • Memorias de las campañas del Istmo 1900
  • Raíces de la Independencia de Panamá - Ernesto J. Castillero R.
  • Introducción al compendio de Historia de Panamá - Carlos Manuel Gasteazoro
  • Compendio de Historia de Panamá - Juan B. Sosa y Enrique J. Arce
  • Relaciones entre Panamá y los Estados Unidos (Historia del Canal Interoceánico desde el siglo XVI hasta 1903), Tomo I - Celestino Andrés Araúz y Patricia Pizzurno

Download pdf files from

The "Blue Book of Panama"[edit | edit source]

Published by the Latin American Publicity Bureau, inc. William T. Scoullar, compiler and editor ... 1916-1917. Narrative and history of the lives of the most prominent people. Condensed history of the republic. Special articles relative to commerce, agriculture and natural resources, based on official statistics. Contains over a hundred biographies and photos of prominent people living in Panama at that time. Spanish and English in parallel columns. The translation is not always faithful.

The Blue Book of Panama

Online Histories[edit | edit source]