ØCapital City: Panama City
ØGeographic Location (region): Central America
ØCoordinates: 9 00 N 80 00 W
ØBoarders with Costa Rica to the West and Columbia to the East. Panama also borders with the Pacific Ocean to the South and Caribbean Sea to the North.
ØPopulation: 3,039,150 (July 2005 est.)
ØEthnic make-up: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) - 70%; Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) - 14%; white - 10%; Amerindian 6% ØEducation rate: Over one million people (37%) live below the poverty line; over half a million (12.3%) live in extreme poverty. The difference between rich and poor in Panama is one of the highest in the world.
ØMajor History Events XV XX centuries:
oThe earliest known inhabitants of Panama were the Cuevas and the Coclé cultures, but their numbers were decimated by disease and the sword when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. After several forays along the country's Caribbean shore, the Spanish established a settlement, Nombre de Dios, at the mouth of the Río Chagres on the Caribbean coast in 1510. Panama's Pacific coast later became the springboard for invasions of Peru, and the wealth generated by these incursions was carried overland from the Pacific port of Panama (City) to Nombre de Dios. The transport of wealth attracted pirates, and by the 18th century the Caribbean was so dangerous that Spanish ships began bypassing Panama and sailing directly from Peru around Cape Horn to reach Europe. oPanama went into decline, and became a province of Colombia when the South American nation received its independence in 1821. oA French attempt to build a canal in 1880 resulted in the death of 22,000 workers from malaria and yellow fever and bankruptcy for everyone involved. oPanama declared independent Nov. 3, 1903, with the full support of the USA. Columbia never agreed to their independence until 1921 when the...