is a long stretched country on the southern end of Central America.
The Panama Canal
dates from 1914 and is the
country's landmark feature. The locks of the canal require huge amounts of water and for that purpose Gatun Lake was created.
through the canal is not free and the revenues provide a main chunk of Panama's annual revenues.
In 1501 the first
Spanish explorers arrived and a year later Columbus himself visited the area.
Panama City was founded in 1519 and soon became
a major link in bringing the looted Inca gold over land to the Atlantic side for shipment to Spain.
independence from Spain in 1821 and, unlike the other countries in the region, did not have to fight the Spanish troops to get
They did voluntarily merge with Colombia but under pressure from the USA became an independent nation in 1903. A a "reward"
the USA was granted control over a 10 mile wide zone to build and exploit the Panama Canal.
Today banking and financial
services add to the fast growing economy, one of these service providers sits at the heart of the socalled Panama Papers