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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Panama

HISTORY

Panama City, Panama, was founded on August 15, 1519, by Pedro Arias de Ávila, also known as Pedrarias Dávila. Within a few years of its founding, the city became a launching point for the exploration and conquest of Peru and a transit point for gold and silver headed back to Spain through the Isthmus.

In 1593, Vasco Nunez de Balboa became to first European to discover than Panama was just a thin strip separating the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Vasco Núñez de Balboa, a recognized and popular figure of Panamanian history

The Panamanian currency is called the balboa after him but they mainly use US dollars.

During The "War of Jenkins' Ear" between England and Spain, a British naval force, commanded by Admiral Edward Vernon. captured the port of Portobelo in the Spanish Main (modern Panama) on November 20, 1739.  The British victory created an outburst of popular acclaim throughout the British Empire. More medals were struck for Vernon than for any other 18th-century British figure.

The bombardment of Portobelo by Samuel Scott

Panama had been a Spanish colony since the sixteenth century. In 1821, the country gained independence from Spain and joined the Republic of Gran Colombia in the same year, along with Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.

The Republic of Gran Colombia was dissolved in 1830 but the country remained part of Colombia for several decades, Panama finally achieved independence on November 3, 1903 with the help of the US.

A locomotive on the Panama Canal Railway, run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean for the first time on January 28, 1855.


The Panama Canal Railroad was the most expensive railway ever built per mile, costing nearly $8 million. Construction on the railroad began in August 1850 and building the 47 miles (76 km) of track through the jungle and rough terrain took four and a half years.

Track laying follows excavation

The railroad was one of the most profitable in the world, charging up to $25 per passenger to transport them from Panama City to Colon and back on a hard-laid track.

Until the opening of the Panama Canal, the Panama Canal Railroad carried the heaviest volume of freight per unit length of any railroad in the world.

The separation of Panama from Colombia in 1903, allowed the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.

The SS Ancon, was the first ocean steamer to pass through the Panama Canal in 1914.

The flag of Panama was made by María de la Ossa de Amador and officially adopted on March 25, 1925. The stars and quarters are said to stand for the rival political parties (blue was the color of the Conservatives, and red the color of the Liberals), and the white is the peace in which they operate.

The Panamanian flag day is celebrated on November 4, one day after Panamanian separation from Colombia.



FUN FACTS

Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.

The only thing preventing an American from driving all the way to Argentina is a short strip of Jungle in Panama called the Darien Gap.

Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the US currency as its own.

Panama has the second largest rainforest in the Western hemisphere.

Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has a rainforest within the city limits.

The skyline of Panama City near Cinta Costera

The official language of Panama is Spanish, although many Panamanians are bilingual with English being the most common second language.

Panama is a democratic republic. Elections are held every five years and the last presidential ballot was won by Juan Carlos Varela on May 4, 2014 with over 39% of the votes.

The country's name is believed to have come from a local Indian word for an abundance of butterflies, fish and trees.


Panama is home to more species of birds than the United States and Canada combined, with 940 avian species native to the country.

Panama doubled as both Haiti and La Paz, Bolivia in the James Bond movie Quantam of Solace.

Sources Daily Express, Propertyshowrooms.com

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