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The history of Panama has been linked, since the dawn of time, to service to humankind.  Remains dating back 10,000 years bear testimony to the transit of human beings between Central America and South America, by means of the Panamanian Isthmus.

Nevertheless, it was not until 1513, when Vasco Núñez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, that the entire world took note of the importance of Panama as a facilitator of worldwide communications.  In 1544, the overland trans-isthmian route was opened, and it was through this passageway that Spain channeled 60% of its colonial riches.

In 1737,  the Panamanian route was abandoned by the Spanish colonial empire because of frequent pirate incursions.

The isthmus' economic decline lasted until 1850, when constructions was begun, by the United States of America, on the first trans-isthmian railroad.

In 1880, the French count  Ferdinand de Lesseps (constructor of the Suez Canal) began work on a similar waterway through Panama.  During the last half of the 19th century Panama experienced the effects of concentrated interest on the part of both great powers--France and the U.S.A.--in addition to that of Colombia, which claimed sovereignty over the territory of Panama.  To all of this was added the increasing separatist efforts by isthmians themselves.

In 1903, the overall situation was resolved with the birth of the Republic of Panama and control of the inter-ocean region by the vigorous North American geopolitical power, the United States.  In 1914, the new Panama Canal was opened to world commerce.

With the taking effect of the Panama Canal treaties of 1977, the return to Panama of the areas surrounding the maritime passageway was initiated.  A new era was born in the country's history.  Adjacent to the Canal, the Free Zone and Banking Center are in the process of developing, around the inter-oceanic zone, new business complexes such as ports, communications centers served by underwater cable, and railroad and port renovations, in addition to cargo and passenger transfer centers.

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Ultima Actualización: Thursday, 20 de September de 2012