Panama Geography and History

According to, Panama is a State of Central America whose territory includes the southernmost and narrowest section of the region of the isthmus, between the Atlantic Ocean to the N and the Pacific Ocean to S. It borders to the East with Colombia and to the West with Costa Rica.

Physical characteristics

The territory it is dominated by a series of mountain ranges that stretch from W to E. The backbone of the western section is made up of the imposing Veraguas chain (Central Cordillera), sloping down into the Serranía de la Tabasará. Some volcanic buildings overlook the mountain range, including Chiriquí (3480 m, the highest elevation in the country). The foot of the mountain, on the Caribbean Sea, borders a flat, marshy band with lagoons, the largest of which is that of Chiriquí. In the central area of ​​the country, the least elevated region of the territory, the original morphology has been profoundly altered by the hand of man with the construction of the interoceanic canal. The eastern mountainous arches, parallel to each other, begin with the San Blas mountain range and continue with the Serranía del Darién, which, with its terminal curvature,

Panama has a subequatorial climate, hot and humid, with high temperatures all year round and very modest seasonal excursions. These conditions are mitigated with the increase of the altimetric values, articulated in the typical bands of the tierras calientes, templadas and frías. The rains are plentiful especially on the Caribbean side (average of 2500 mm, up to over 3500); less abundant in the Pacific, (in the Gulf of Panama they drop below 2000 mm and are interrupted by a three-month dry season). The numerous rivers are generally short and rich in water.

Exploration and history. – The coasts of the Isthmus of Panamá overlooking the Caribbean Sea were perhaps first sighted by A. de Ojeda in 1499, certainly by R. Galván de Bastidas in 1501, but were then explored throughout their journey, the year later, from Colombo on his fourth voyage. Having had vague news of the existence of a vast sea a short distance to the east, he also had to guess the isthmic nature of the region, although he persisted in considering it a strip of the Asian continent. The merit of Columbus is also the first attempt to found a colony in this region, an attempt which by then failed; but the designated place must later seem appropriate, since in 1510 the colony was reconstituted by Diego di Nicuesa, governor of the province called Castilla del Oro. But in the same year Martín Fernández de Enciso, former companion of Ojeda, moved the colony to the banks of the Tuyra, founding the city of Santa María la Antigua del Darien. A colonist revolt having forced him to flee, the colony passed to the orders of Vasco Núñez de Balboa, one of Bastidas’ companions on the 1501 voyage. In September 1513 (25 or 26), Núñez in one of his explorations, advanced through the forests that line the Darien estuary, he sighted the Pacific, which he took possession of in the name of the king of Spain. In 1519, Pedro Arias Dávila, successor of Balboa, founded the city of Panama, which is currently the oldest of the remaining cities among those founded by the “conquistadors”. Among the many governors who succeeded one another, it is appropriate to remember Francisco de Barrionulvo, because, under him (1534-36) the studies for interoceanic communication were begun, but, when an enormous sum was needed for its implementation, nothing positive was accomplished. With Pedro Vázquez de Acuña (1536-39), the period of the conquest ends, the region beginning to be organized stably. The following period (1539-1745) is characterized by events, such as the revolt of the slave negroes, the raids of Drake and Morgan, the invasion of the Mosquitoes from Nicaragua, the abandonment of the isthmus route by the Spanish galleons, English aspirations, the work of the Jesuits. the region beginning to be organized stably. The following period (1539-1745) is characterized by events, such as the revolt of the slave negroes, the raids of Drake and Morgan, the invasion of the Mosquitoes from Nicaragua, the abandonment of the isthmus route by the Spanish galleons, English aspirations, the work of the Jesuits. the region beginning to be organized stably. The following period (1539-1745) is characterized by events, such as the revolt of the slave negroes, the raids of Drake and Morgan, the invasion of the Mosquitoes from Nicaragua, the abandonment of the isthmus route by the Spanish galleons, English aspirations, the work of the Jesuits.

The slaves, imported in large numbers by the “conquistadors”, turned to their masters and appointed king one of their own, called Bayano: united all the revolting forces, the new king managed to keep the whole region in effervescence for several months, until he was captured and executed in Seville. The last years of the century. XVI are famous for the raids of the pirate Drake who, aided by other corsairs and buccaneers, devastated and razed several cities, including Nombre de Dios, which, once rebuilt, took the name of San Felipe de Porto Bello (1597). This locality, in a short space of years, considerably increased its importance, having become the embarkation point of the Spanish galleons en route to their motherland. Against it they turned their sights, in the century. XVII, the freebooters, headed by English Morgan, who managed to take over Porto Bello and Panamá by razing them to the ground. These expeditions, which followed one another, under other commanders, throughout the century, had their fulfillment with the appearance of the Scots, whose leader, William Paterson, managed to settle on the coasts of Darien, creating, on the territory abandoned by the Spaniards, some plants of his company: finally; both due to the climate and the various Spanish attacks, the Scots were forced to evacuate the occupied posts. From 1728 to 1741 there was an invasion of Mosquito Indians from Nicaragua, and some pirate raids carried out in agreement with the natives of Darien: these raids and invasions were cut short by the energetic action of the half-caste Luis García, aided by the forces of Spain. Later, however,

In addition to these invasions and revolts, the English, who aimed at the destruction of Spanish trade, repeatedly tried to establish themselves in the isthmus, allying themselves with a powerful organization of smugglers; but their attempts all failed. The Society of Jesus, by virtue of the treaty of 1741, tried to proselytize in Darien, but since many of its missionaries were killed by the Indians, it abandoned the idea of ​​evangelizing the instinct. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century the isthmus lost the trade in galleons, having been started along the longer but safer route of Cape Hoorn: this fact had, as a natural consequence, the ruin of Porto Bello and the Panamanian populations. who lived on this trade. The decline of the region was complete, since even the capitals, which until then had been invested in Panamȧ, were transferred to other more profitable locations and that the mining industry of Darien did not have adequate development due to the continuous incursions of the indigenous people who, in 1758, slaughtered a large number of French who, protected by Spain, they worked in such mines. Attempts to restore Panama to a state of well-being were made, but always without tangible results; Panama and the whole region suffered from a painful economic decline. At the end of the century XVIII, the population of Panamá did not reach 72,000 residents, Among which the Spaniards and the Creoles predominated; the natives, negroes and mestizos had devoted themselves almost exclusively to agricultural work, to breeding and to work in the workshops that were being formed. Public education, very rudimentary, it suffered a fierce blow with the expulsion of the Jesuits. Such was the situation when revolutionary ideas and aspirations for independence began to introduce themselves and take hold in Spanish America.

Since the majority of the population was Spanish, it was natural that the aspirations for independence now widespread on the American continent also penetrate the residents of Panamá. To this end, two expeditions were organized, one commanded by the Scotsman Mac Gregor who unexpectedly occupied Porto Bello, but was driven out by the armed return of General Hore, governor of Tierra Firme; and the other by the Ecuadorian general, of English origin, Illingworth who, with the Chilean ship Rosa de los Andeshe landed, occupying it, on the island of Taboga, attacked Guepí and facilitated the independence of Micai, Iscuandé, Buenaventura and Tumaco (1819). From that year, the indigenous, the Spaniards and the remaining population of Panamá also occurred, symptoms of the separatist movement which ended in 1821 on November 28, with the proclamation of the independence of Panama and its union with the Colombian Confederation.. Long, painful, marred by revolutions and victims was the life of the new state of Panama united with Colombia. For eighty-two years there were ups and downs in the existence of Panama due to the enterprise of Colombia, the aims of the United States on the famous canal, the desire of the Panamanians who wanted to achieve complete freedom and independence. After a series of acts, facts, negotiations, this, finally, it was built on November 4, 1903. Shortly thereafter, the Treaty of Hay-Bunau-Varilla, relating to the canal, was signed between the new recognized republic and the United States. Colombia made an armed attempt to bring Panama back under it, but the expedition broke up before making contact with Panama, in the inaccessible regions it had to cross.

With the appointment of Manuel A. Guerrero as president of the republic (November 20, 1904), the contemporary period in the history of Panama begins; during which, after the negotiations for a merger with the republic of Costa Rica were wrecked, a rectification of borders was obtained, recognition by Colombia and the cession of the Canal Zone to the United States. In the world war, Panama participated by allying itself with the European coalition against the central empires.

Panama History 2

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