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Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In October 2006, Panamanians approved an ambitious plan to expand the Canal. The project, which is to begin in 2007 and could double the Canal's capacity, is expected to be completed in 2014-15.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 3,242,173 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Panamanian(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Panamanian

Official Language(s): Spanish

Major Languages Spoken: Spanish

Map of Panama

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Panama

Country Name (short form): Panama

Country Name (local long form): Republica de Panama

Country Name (local short form): Panama

Name of Capital: Panama

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Panama: Colombia, Costa Rica

Land Area: 75990 sq km

Water Area: 2210 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than South Carolina

Total Land Boundry: 555 km

Coastline: 2,490 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 3 November (1903)

International Phone Code: 507

Currency Code: balboa (PAB); US dollar (USD)

Internet Country Code: .pa

US Embassy Location: Avenida Balboa and Calle 37, Apartado Postal 0816-02561, Zona 5, Panama City 5

US Embassy Mailing Address: American Embassy Panama, Unit 0945, APO AA 34002


Panama flag

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