Facts about Panama

We found 22 facts about Panama

A country that connects North America to South America

Panama is a country located in the heart of Central America, connecting North and South America, as well as the cultures, histories, and landscapes of both continents. It is mainly associated with the Panama Canal, which is one of the most important pieces of engineering in the world, and through which the country plays a key role in global trade.

But Panama has much more to offer than just a water crossing. The area is a natural link between two oceans-the Atlantic to the north and the Pacific to the south. It impresses with its diverse landscapes, from the mountain and jungle-covered eastern part of the country to the lovely beaches on the Pacific coast and islands in the Caribbean Sea.

It also delights with its diverse and fascinating culture, which intertwines with the influence of indigenous Indian peoples, Spanish colonial traditions, and African heritage. It is a country for nature lovers, whose jungles and wildlife reserves are home to many species of animals. Panama is a country with a fascinating history and a promising future.

Panama is one of the six countries of Central America, located on the Isthmus of Panama connecting North America and South America.

The Isthmus of Panama, also known as the Golden Castile or Tierra Firme, is a strip of land formed about three million years ago, connecting North America with South America, It is the narrowest part of the continent stretching from the borders of Costa Rica through Panama to the borders of Colombia. The Isthmus of Panama, about 640 kilometers long and ranging from 47 to 192 kilometers wide, separates the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea) from the Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Panama).

The Isthmus of Panama has been crossed by the Panama Canal since 1914.

Panama is a country that borders the South American continent of Colombia to the south.

The other neighbor is Costa Rica, with which Panama borders to the north. The length of the border with Colombia is 225 kilometers, and with Costa Rica is 330 kilometers.

Panama’s shape resembles the letter “S.”

The country’s area is 78.200 square kilometers. The territory stretches for about 700 kilometers. At its narrowest point, it is about 50 kilometers, and at its widest about 200 kilometers.

Panama lies on two oceans.

It is lapped by the waters of the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the north. The 2490-kilometer-long coastline is developed and varied-there are bays and peninsulas, and nearby smaller and larger islands.

The largest bays on the side of the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea) are Mosquito Bio Bay, with the largest island in its waters - Escudo de Veraguas (the critically endangered pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus) lives there), Limon Bay, Cape San Blas and Chiriquí Lagoon. On the Pacific side are: the Gulf of Panama, in the northern part of which is the entrance to the Panama Canal connecting the Pacific to the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Parita, and San Miguel Bay.

Panama’s largest peninsula is Azuero Peninsula, which lies in the Pacific Ocean.

Azuero Peninsula - Peninsula de Azuero - is flanked to the west and south by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the waters of the Gulf of Panama. The area of the peninsula is mountainous, with the highest peak Cerro Hoya at 1559 meters above sea level. The surface of Azuero Peninsula has been heavily converted to agricultural crops-mainly bananas and sugar cane are grown there, and cattle are raised. Small preserved areas of natural vegetation are protected in two national parks: Cerro Hoya National Park and Sarigua National Park.

A dominant feature of Panama’s geography is the mountain range that stretches across the Isthmus of Panama, forming the watershed.

This range, commonly referred to by geographers as the Cordillera Central, is called the Cordillera de Talamanca near the border with Costa Rica, further east it becomes the Sierra de Veraguas.

The Central Cordillera is the conventional line of demarcation between neighboring basins and sub-basins; on one side of the mountains the waters flow into the Pacific Ocean, and on the other into the Atlantic Ocean.

Panama’s highest peak is Volcan Baru.

It is an active stratovolcano, the highest mountain in Panama (3474 meters above sea level) and the twelfth highest peak in Central America. It is located about 35 kilometers from the Costa Rican border. It is surrounded by an area of fertile highlands. The volcano was declared Volcan Baru National Park in 1976 and is also part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor - a region that includes Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and some southern areas of Mexico. It serves as a natural land bridge connecting South America with North America.

On a clear day, both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea can be seen from the summit.

The geographic region connecting the American continents in Central America is the Darién Gap.

It is a swampy and forested isthmus measuring about 160 by 50 kilometers, separating the Panamanian Darién Province from the northern part of Colombia’s Choco Department. The Gap theoretically allows land communication between the American continents.

The area is overgrown with dense rainforests and mangroves, It is very sparsely populated, inhabited mainly by the Kuna and Choco Indian tribes. There are two national parks in the isthmus area, Darién National Park in Panama and Los Katios National Natural Park in Colombia. Both parks are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Darién Gap is a break on the Pan-American Road.

The Pan-American Road or Pan-American Highway is a road system of some 30.000 kilometers that crosses all of North, Central, and South America-from Alaska to Patagonia. A breach in it is the Darién Gap, where there is no circular road for about 100 kilometers. The only possible route from Panama to Colombia is by sea. On the Panamanian side, the endpoint of the road is the town of Yaviza, and on the South American side is the town of Turbo.

The area is used by Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers.

Panama is home to one of the world’s most important waterways - the Panama Canal.

It is an artificial waterway of more than 80 kilometers (12 locks) built between 1904 and 1914 and opened in 1920. The Panama Canal connects the waters of the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) with the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The construction of the canal was the largest and most expensive private enterprise in modern world history. The venture claimed many lives. The number of casualties (about 25.000 workers), and diseases such as malaria and yellow fever caused it to be nicknamed “the white man’s graveyard,” although people of many races and all nationalities died there.

Paul Gauguin also worked on the digging of the Panama Canal. He came to Panama with his painter friend Charles Laval. Although Gauguin endured the conditions there for only two weeks, he earned a sum of money allowing him to open a well near Isla Taboga (Taboga Island).

The largest river in the Panama Canal basin is the Rio Chagres, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502.

Christopher Columbus named it “Rio de los Lagartos,” meaning “river of crocodiles.” The area of the river was called Charge, so the river soon came to be called El Rio de Charge. And so it went on for three hundred years, until the letter “s” was added to the river’s name, and the Rio Chagres was formed. The upper river, the catchment area, and several of its tributaries lie within the Chagres National Park, created in 1985.

The river is dammed twice, and the resulting reservoirs, Lake Gatun and Lake Alajuela are an integral part of the Panama Canal. Although the natural course of the river is directed northwest to the mouth of the Caribbean Sea, the river’s waters also flow through the canal’s locks into the Gulf of Panama to the south. It can therefore be concluded that the Rio Chagres drains its waters into two oceans.

Panama’s artificial Gatun Lake was for several decades the largest artificial lake in the world.

Gatun Lake in central Panama was created between 1907 and 1913, thanks to the construction of the Gatun Dam and the damming up of the waters of the Chagres River. The lake is the main source of water and the locks that allow ships to pass through the Panama Canal. It stretches 32.7 kilometers and is the main part of the Panama Canal.

Panama is one of three countries in the world with negative carbon dioxide emissions.

This means that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it releases into the atmosphere. The other two countries with negative emissions are Bhutan in South Asia and Suriname in northern South America.

Panama’s tropical climate is conducive to an abundance of plants.

The country is dominated by forests, punctuated in places by grasslands, scrubland, and crops. Although forest cover there has declined by more than 50 percent since the 1940s, nearly 40 percent of the country is still forested.

Before Europeans, Panama was inhabited by an indigenous population speaking Chibchan, Choco and Cueva languages.

The population is estimated to have been around two million people, who were mainly engaged in fishing, hunting, and gathering, corn, pumpkin, and root crops.

The first European settlement, Santa Maria la Antigua del Darién, was funded in 1510 by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. It was the first city founded by the conquistadors in continental America.

The settlement was abandoned in 1519 when Pascual de Andagoya, a Spanish-Basque conquistador under Panamanian Governor Pedrarias Dávila, founded the city of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Panamá (today’s Panama City), the first European settlement on the Pacific coast.

In 1524, the abandoned Santa Maria la Antigua del Darién was attacked and burned by the indigenous population. In 2012, archaeologists discovered this lost city.

Panama was part of the Spanish Empire for more than three hundred years - from 1513 to 1821.

From 1535 it was part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, from 1717 it was part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, and after liberation from the rule of New Granada in 1819 it became part of Greater Colombia as its province. Since 1830, Panama has belonged to Colombia.

At the inspiration of the US, Panama broke away from Colombia in 1903 and formed a separate republic. The US obtained a perpetual lease of the Panama Canal Zone and the right to station US troops in the country. During World War II, US military bases were established in Panama.

Panama is a republic with a constitution enacted in 1972.

The head of state and head of government is the president, elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Legislative power is exercised by a unicameral Legislative Assembly, while executive power is exercised by a government-appointed by and accountable to the president.

Panama is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world.

The population of 4.351.267 is made up of Metis, Mulattoes, blacks, whites, indigenous peoples, and various national origins. In addition, seven Indian groups live there.

About 65 percent of the population are Métis-descendants of Indians and whites, 12.5 percent are Indians, and the rest are blacks, Mulattoes, and whites, making up the smallest percentage of the population.

About 60 percent of the population is Catholic. Among Protestants, of whom there are 23.3 percent, the majority are Pentecostals.

The capital of Panama is Panama City.

Panama is a port on the Pacific Ocean, near the Panama Canal. Originally there was an Indian village named Panama, which means “many fish,” on the site of the capital. On 15th August 1519, Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Davila founded the city of Panama, which was the starting point of the expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire in Peru. It was also a stop on one of the most important trade routes on the American continent, leading to the Nombre de Dios and Portobelo (former Puerto Bello) markets, through which most of the gold and silver mined by Spain in the Americas passed.

Panama does not have an army, it was disbanded after the US invasion of the country in 1989.

There are public forces whose main task is to maintain security, and public order and protect the country’s borders. These forces consist of the National Police, the National Border Service, the National Air and Motor Service, and the National Immigration Service.

The national and official language of Panama is Spanish.

In addition to Spanish, several indigenous languages (Ngäbe, Buglé, Kuna, Emberá, Wounaan, Naso Tjerdi, and Bri Bri) are spoken in the country. English is the most widely spoken and desired foreign language spoken by Afro-Antilleans on the Atlantic coast and in the capital.

The most popular sport in Panama is soccer.

A minority sport for most of the 20th century, it has recently become the most loved and played sport by Panamanians. Baseball, which is the second most popular sport, is considered the “national sport,” as well as basketball, which is popular especially in Panama and Colon.

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