Panama was populated by various indigenous peoples before the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century. In 1821, Panama acquired its independence from Spain and joined the Gran Colombia, which consisted of the New Granada (now Colombia), Ecuador and Venezuela.
When Gran Colombia was dissolved in 1831, Panama and New Granada remained together; backed by the United States of America, Panama separated from Colombia in 1903, allowing the United States Engineering Army to complete the canal between 1904 and 1914. The surrounding areas belonged to the Americans and in 1977 an agreement was reached to transfer the administration of the Panama Canal by the end of the twentieth century. On December 31, 1999 this happened, it marked a new chapter in the life for the Panamanian citizens and the Panama Canal.
The charges through the Canal represent a substantial part of the Panamanian economy, while trade, investment banking and tourism also contribute greatly to the economy has the second largest and fastest growing economy in Central America. The country gained fifth place in Latin America in the field of human development.
Located in the central region of America it is an isthmus (Isthmus of Darien) with a total area of 75.515 km2 (29156.50 mi2). The country shares borders with Colombia and Costa Rica and whose coast lines are the North Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The highest point in the country is Volcano Baru 3,475 meters (11,401 feet). The isthmus is composed of 10 provinces and 7 indigenous groups, 40% of its territory is represented by jungle with an abundance of tropical plants, animals and birds, many of them endemic. The Darien Gap is an almost impenetrable territory that divides Panama and Colombia, which means the Panamerican Highway stops in Panama and restarts in Colombia and but for this there would be a road passage from Alaska to the Patagonia region which is the most southern point of South America.
Panama is humid and tropical with average temperatures of 29 ° C around the year. A minimum temperature of 24 ° C (75 F) and a maximum of 30 ° C (86 F). Colder temperatures are experienced in the mountainous regions of Panama. Its climate is separated into a rainy season (May to December) and dry (January to April). Tropical storms are common in the rainy season, however, Panama’s location means it has a huge advantage over many of the other Caribbean countries because it is away from the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the large amount of jungle in some of the regions it enjoys tropical breezes and cool temperatures in much of its territory.
The official Panamanian Currency is the Balboa which is pegged to the US Dollar (which means the rate of exchange is 1 to 1 with the US dollar). The Balboa only exists in coin and not on paper form, the use of the dollar as a paper currency is legal tender and has been used in the country since 1903.
The main areas that make the economy flourish are the service sectors which include the Panama Canal, the financial centers in the city and the Colon Free Zone being the largest port in the Western Hemisphere.
The official language is Spanish and 93% of the population speak Spanish as their mother tongue, many citizens speak English and there is a big expat community of different nationalities in the city, so don’t be surprised when hearing languages such as French, Italian and Arabic as second languages.
Panama City is the capital on the Pacific Ocean Coast. Panama City is home to more than half of the total population being approximately 4 million people.