1990 Census data


Panama was the site of the first Spanish settlement on the North American continent, constructed in the Darien region by Vasco Nunez de Balboa. This settlement was later abandoned, and the low-lying region of the Darien is today a largely uninhabited jungle. In 1513, Balboa was led by native guides to Panama's western shores, where he became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. 


Important Dates in Panamanian History


early 1900's

"The Birth of Panama"

The US government has been steadfast in their desire to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and are deliberating between constructing a canal either in Nicaragua or the far western region of Colombia (present day Panama). The Nicaraguans have been very cooperative with the wishes of the US government concerning the details of the future canal (who owns it? who enjoys the profits of tolls-collections for canal use? etc.). Contrarily, the Colombian government is pressing to establish a greater degree of canal control. Seeing that the US government is beginning to favor construction in Nicaragua, the US-owned Panama Canal Company organizes and funds a revolution of the inhabitants of the present-day region of Panama against the Colombian government, a war which succeeds in changing Colombia's far-western region into a new independent state known as "Panama". While the Panamanians began work to establish a new government, the Panama Canal Company takes the liberty in appointing on of their employees as the Panamanian ambassador to the United States. This ambassador negotiates a deal with the US government concerning canal construction, a bargain which practically gives the Panamanian land away for free. This deal became known as "the treaty which no Panamanian signed", and was reworked 40 years later to provide a more favorable outcome for Panama.




"The Canal"

The construction of the Panama Canal is completed. A total of 5,600 workers have lost their lives during its construction, due mostly to diseases such as yellow fever and malaria.