Panama 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.
Passage through the canal is not free and the revenues provide a main chunk of Panama's annual revenues.
Little is know about the Paleo Indians that lived here 15.000 years ago. Pottery of the Monagrillo culture dates back 4000 year.
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.
Panama declared independence from Spain in 1821 and, unlike the other countries in the region, did not have to fight the Spanish troops to get it.
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 scandal.
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Gatun Lake
Panama Viejo
Panama Canal