In this paper we will discuss and examine the social, political, and cultural viewpoint of the Panamanian culture. We will learn about the history of Panama. Who occupied the region? Who discover Panamanian territory? Which was the first city founded in Panama? What are the most popular dances? What is Panama gastronomy? What are the languages spoken? Wewill learn about their religious beliefs and much more.
The Panamanian Culture
Panama's history has been shaped by the evolution of the world economy and the ambitions of great powers. The earliest known inhabitants of Panama were the Cuevas and the Coclé tribes, but they were decimated by disease and fighting when the Spanish arrived in the 1500s. Rodrigo de Bastidas, sailing westward fromVenezuela in 1501 in search of gold, was the first European to explore the Isthmus of Panama. A year later, Christopher Columbus visited the Isthmus and established a short-lived settlement in the Darien. Vasco Nunez de Balboa's tortuous trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1513 demonstrated that the Isthmus was, indeed, the path between the seas, and Panama quickly became the crossroads andmarketplace of Spain's empire in the New World. Gold and silver were brought by ship from South America, hauled across the Isthmus, and loaded aboard ships for Spain. The route became known as the Camino Real, or Royal Road, although it was more commonly known as Camino de Cruces (Road of the Crosses) because of the abundance of gravesites along the way. Panama was part of the Spanish empire for 300years (1538-1821). From the outset, Panamanian identity was based on a sense of "geographic destiny," and Panamanian fortunes fluctuated with the geopolitical importance of the Isthmus. The colonial experience also spawned Panamanian nationalism as well as a racially complex and highly stratified society, the source of internal conflicts that ran counter to the unifying force of nationalism.(Estudios Sociales (social Studies) 1991). What is known today as Panama Viejo, the old city of Panama, was the first city established by the shores of the Pacific Ocean, by Governor Pedro Arias Davila in 1519. Panama la Vieja was constantly visited by galleons coming from Peru, loaded with gold and silver, and other treasures en route to Spain. As a result Panama la Vieja was looted and set on fire,leaving instead of the Pearl of the Pacific, the ruins visible today. Among the ruins still visible that stand out are the convent of Saint Francis, the Company of Jesus, church of La Merced, Saint Joseph’s church, Saint John’s hospital, the royal houses, the slaughterhouse bridge, and the King’s bridge. Near the site, museums display objects from pre-Hispanic and colonial times, and scale modelsof the city back in the 18th century.
Modern Panamanian history has been shaped by its trans-isthmian canal, which had been a dream since the beginning of Spanish colonization. From 1880 to 1890, a French company under Ferdinand de Lesseps attempted unsuccessfully to construct a sea-level canal on the site of the present Panama Canal. In November 1903, with U.S. encouragement, Panama proclaimedits independence and concluded the Hay/Bunau-Varilla Treaty with the United States. The treaty granted rights to the United States as if it was sovereign in a zone roughly 10 miles wide and 50 miles long. In that zone, the U.S. would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it "in perpetuity." In 1914, the United States completed the existing 83-kilometer (52 mile) canal, which is oneof the world's greatest feats of engineering. The early 1960s saw the beginning of sustained pressure in Panama for the renegotiation of this treaty.
What makes the Panama Canal remarkable is its self sufficiency. The dam at Gatun is able to generate the electricity to run all the motors which operate the canal as well as the locomotives in charge of towing the ships through the canal. No...