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Panama City History, Panama

Being the center of the country, most of the historical events in Panama happened in this city. Because of its historical and political importance, the history of Panama City is closely connected to the country’s history.

The country was established by the Spaniards during the 16th century and the city immediately became an important area for the conquerors. Gold could be found in different areas of the country and all of them were collected in the city before they were shipped in Spain. Spain’s interest in the country started to dwindle because of the increasing pirates that constantly attacked Panama City and the ships that sailed to Spain. When the country gained its independence in 1821, Panama City immediately became the capital.

Although the fact that Panama City was the focal point of everything that happened in the country, it was only through the construction of the Panama Canal that the capital did improve. The help of the US Government and the eventual role of the Canal as an important shipping route have boosted the economy of the country.

But the recent history of Panama is not all well and has drastically affected the country. After the death of the country’s leader and hero Omar Torrijos Herrera, the country went into turmoil with regards to leadership. From 1983 to 1990, the country was under General Manuel Noriega who eventually became a dictator. Even though in 1989 he lost elections to Guillermo Endarra, Noriega still pushed for his power which toppled the leader. It was only the assistance of the US that forced Norriega to submission. The general was eventually imprisoned for 40 years because of various crimes he committed while in office.

Endarra eventually became president but the city and the country still has to deal with corruption and various protests about different social problems. Endarra was replaced with Ernesto Perez Balladares in 1994 that was also replaced in 1999 by Mireya Moscoso in an election.

Under the new president’s rule the capital had a grand celebration in 2000. It was that year that the US Government officially returned Panama Canal to the Panamanian Government. Expectations of the improvement of Panama City and the rest of the country are now high because of the historic handover of the Panama Canal.

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