Photo: Panama Flag
Today, all of Panama is celebrating and rejoicing its 108-year old independence when it separated from Colombia and had earlier in its history broke away from Spain.
The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for nearly 300 years as it colonized the region and enslaved native populations. Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela - named the Republic of Gran Colombia. With U.S. backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 on November 3rd.
Panama has always been critical to trade routes with its Panal Canal built by the U.S. back in 1904. The country has bragging rights as the third largest economy in Central America thanks in great part to canal tariffs. The country also enjoys one of the largest rainforest in the world and a large biodiverse region.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent her congratulations to the people of Panama:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Panama on the 108th anniversary of your independence this November 3.
From the construction of the Panama Canal that began more than a century ago to the recent signing of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement, our two countries have developed deep cultural, economic, and familial ties. These bonds continue to provide a firm foundation for our close cooperation. We look forward to deepening our partnership as we continue to promote economic growth and opportunity, social and economic inclusion, and a more secure and democratic future for our peoples.
On this Independence Day, whether you join in the day’s festive parades or celebrate at home with family and friends, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. “¡Felicitaciones!”