Panama History

Since 1501 the European historians had focussed on Panama where Indian tribes had been settling for about 12.000 years. In 1501

Christoph Columbus visited and mapped the coast during this second expedition. The Spanish became aware within short of the unique geographic position – the shortest connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Panama City founded in 1519 turned to be an important reloading site in the Spanish colonial empire. This connection between the two oceans has been a main subject matter throughout the country’s history. After Panama had gained independence from Spain – first as Great Colombia in 1821 -, passengers and goods were transported via the Isthmus; e.g. during the Californian gold rush on the way from New York to San Francisco. A waterway was planned to replace the difficult country route. A french canal construction company managed by the well-known engineer De Lesseps failed between 1880 and 1889 as one of the major company bankruptcies of the 19th century. The US-army extorted Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903 and completed the Panama Canal till 1914. The canal region was controlled by the Americans till 1999. But also after the canal had been allocated to Panama, the United States reserve the permanent right of military intervention.

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