Panama is a country located on the Isthmus of Panama. This narrow strip of land was created about 3 million years ago by tectonic action and connected North and South America. The separation of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans created the Gulf Stream
Panama City is the bustling capital and sits at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, the country's landmark feature of which the revenues provide a large chunk of the country's annual revenues.
Little is known about the first Paleo Indian migrants that passed here 15.000 years ago on their way to South America, nor of the ones that decided to settled here. Pottery of the Monagrillo culture dates back 4000 year.
Early in the 16th century the first European explorers showed up and Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the isthmus in 1513.
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 for it. They merged with Colombia but under pressure from the USA became an independent nation in 1903.
As a "reward"  the USA was granted control over a 10 mile wide zone to build and exploit the Panama Canal.
International banking and financial services add to the fast growing economy, with some interesting side-effects like the Panama Papers scandal.
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Panama Viejo
Gatun Lake
Panama Canal
Panama Canal area