Panama's geographic location gives it strategic significance. Throughout history, it's been an important place for each of the countries it has been controlled by. At just 80 miles long with thin regions perfect for bringing together two oceans, it wasn't long before a powerhouse nation took notice and took advantage. In the sixteenth century, Spain made the territory into a crossroads of international waters and a necessary mercantile base for its empire.
Spain conveyed its assets in ships to the port of Portobelo in the region of Colon. From there, donkeys and canoes transferred the inventory across the isthmus to Panama City for dispersal to all of its colonies in America.
All the money and goods in constant transit eventually attracted English pirates and mercenaries like Francis Drake, attacker of Portobelo in 1596, and Henry Morgan, arsonist of the first City of Panama in 1671. The city was later moved to the Casco Antiguo, in what's at this time the current capital. The new city became the focal point for the advancement of the nation.
Encouraged by the liberation of other Latin American countries, Panama stated its own independence from Spain in November of 1821. The decision came as no shock given that discussions with Spain had dwindled long earlier. Nevertheless, the road to independence was so peaceful for Panama that it was celebrated by Simon Bolivar, South America's liberation fighter.
Once it separated from Spain, Panama freely joined the Great Colombia, Bolivars aspiration for a great new Latin American nation. Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama were all part of up his new land.
At first, this historic union significantly aided Panama. It shaped a different image of Latin American leadership with the purpose of boundless regional growth. This moment in time also marked a high point around the globe as the United States was given authorization to erect the earliest intercontinental railroad.
However, the Panamanian desire to become a liberated and sovereign nation, backed by the United States, guided Panama to complete its independence from Colombia as of November 3, 1903.
The building and finishing of the Panama Canal by the Americans began in 1904. It was deemed the eighth wonder of the world by many. The French were the earliest to take on in this enormous undertaking. They failed due to harsh conditions, tropical illnesses and terrible management. The Americans took note of the unsuccessful attempt and agreed to go on with the engineering of the Canal and the improvement of the Canal Zone. This phase changed Panama for good, once more establishing the country as a bridge for the world and a base for a prosperous financial society.
Panama is today one of the most developed countries in Central America and enjoys one of the most constant, steady economies and swift tourism industries in the Americas. It has the benefit of a fresh, new and healthy democracy. It is thought to be a secure, diplomatic and thriving nation.
Currently, Panama oversees the canal, which is going through an expansion. This is a nation always evolving, featuring an international banking base, lucrative legal firms, insurance agencies, call centers, expensive malls, as well as delightful cultural diversity, enviable ecological treasures and active tourism.