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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Panama hat

The Panama hat originated in the early to mid-1600’s in Ecuador. The straw hat weaving evolved as a cottage industry all along the Ecuadorian coast as well as in small towns throughout the Andean Mountain Range.

The Panama is made by hand from split, bleached leaves of the palmlike toquilla straw.

They were named "panamas" in the gold-rush days by prospectors as they were shipped from Ecuador to Panama before being sent to their destinations worldwide.(The miners of the Gold Rush, frequently traveled to California via the Isthmus of Panama.)

They acquired their popularity in Europe in 1855, when a Frenchman living in Ecuador took some to the World Exposition in Paris. After one was presented to Napoleon III, the "toquilla" reigned supreme over European nobility.

The traditional black band on a Panama hat was added in mourning for Queen Victoria after her death in 1901. Its been retained ever since.

Edward VII once parted with £90.00 after asking his Bond Street hatter to obtain the "finest Panama available."

The popularity of the straw hat was given a further boost in 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt was photographed wearing one when viewing the construction of the Panama Canal in 1906.

The art of weaving the traditional Ecuadorian toquilla hat was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists on December 6, 2012.


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