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Facts about Panama for Kids


Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

  • The capital is Panama City.
  • Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela, named the Republic of Gran Colombia.
  • With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.
  • Panama has the third- or fourth-largest economy in Central America and it is also the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America.
  • As of 2010, Panama is the second most competitive economy in Latin America as well according to the Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • Some believe that the country was named after a commonly found species of trees.
  • From the outset, Panamanian identity was based on a sense of “geographic destiny”, and Panamanian fortunes fluctuated with the geopolitical importance of the isthmus.
  • On the other hand, the Panamanian movement for independence can be indirectly attributed to the abolishment of the encomienda system in Azuero, set forth by the Spanish Crown, in 1558 because of repeated protests by locals against the mistreatment of the native population.
  • It was a unilateral decision by the residents of Azuero to declare their separation from the Spanish Empire.
  • The candidates were Dr. Arnulfo Arias Madrid, Antonio González Revilla, and Engineer David Samudio, who had the government’s support.
  • Arias Madrid was declared the winner of elections that were marked by violence and accusations of fraud against Alianza del Pueblo.
  • On October 1, 1968, Arias Madrid took office as president of Panama, promising to lead a government of “national union” that would end the reigning corruption and pave the way for a new Panama.
  • Post-1970 During Omar Torrijos’s control, the military regime transformed the political and economic structure of the country by initiating massive coverage of social security services and expanding public education.
  • For the reform to the constitution, the military created a new organization, the Assembly of Corregimiento Representatives, which replaced the National Assembly.
  • The local folklore can be experienced through a multitude of festivals, dances and traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation.
  • The expansion project of the Panama Canal, combined with the conclusion of a free trade agreement with the United States, is expected to boost and extend economic expansion for some time.