Depicted independent nation. Finally, the motto “Pro

Depicted on Panama’s flag are four quarters, two of which contain a single star. The two sections of the left consist of the color blue, representing the conservatives, while the two sections on the right consist of the color red for the liberals. The presence of the color white symbolizes peace, especially between the two political parties. Inspiration from the United States’ flag can be seen, given that both flags have the same red, white, and blue theme. This flag design became official on July 4, 1904 and was designed by Manuel E. Amador.

Similarly, Panama’s coat of arms consists of sections, stars, and American influences. The main centerpiece is a collection of five parts, each symbolizing liberation, the Panama Canal, the tools used to create it, richness, and traffic. The American eagle is used because the United States was first to  recognize Panama as an independent nation.

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Finally, the motto “Pro Mundi Beneficio” translates to “For the Benefit of the World”. Panama has economic advantages due to its geographical position; the nation has access to its canal and Colón Free Zone, which are both important for international trade. As a result, much of Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP) is from its service sector. Panama’s imports include machinery, fossil fuels, and transportation equipment, which come from countries such as the USA, China, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Bananas, shrimp, coffee, and clothing are the most notable of Panama’s exports and are usually taken to the USA, Germany, China, Costa Rica, and the Netherlands. Lastly, tourism has gradually contributed to the economy. Many tourists are fascinated by the nation’s beaches as well as the contemporary experience in Panama City.

Panama remains a dollarized country, as both balboa and dollar are used with a 1:1 ratio. Panama is situated in Central America, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, making it a large isthmus strip. With its territory totalling to 78,200 km2, Panama shares borders with Colombia and Costa Rica. Its two principal mountain ranges are the Serranía de Tabasará Mountains in the West and the Cordillera de San Blas in the east. Additionally, you will find more than 300 rivers flowing to both the north and south. Sixaola, Changuinola, Indio, Cricamola, La Miel and Chagres all run towards the Caribbean Sea.

Further south towards the Pacific run the Chiriquí Viejo, Santa Mariá, Chepo, Chucunaque, and Tuira rivers. Panama City serves as both the nation’s largest city and its capital, with a population of about 880,000. Other major cities include San Miguelito, Tocumen, David, and Colón. Important historic landmarks are Casco Viejo, French Park, Monuments of Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Goethals Memorial, and Martyr’s Day Monument. Much of Panama’s culture has European influence brought in by the Spanish. Blending of cultural elements occurs, with one example being tamborito, and dance form that mixes Spanish dance and African rhythms.

Some music forms and performances are reggae de español, reggaeton, jazz, blues, and salsa. A number of festivals are celebrated throughout the year, but never without the presence of musicians and dancers. Traditional clothing, monuno for men and pollera for women, is typically worn in parades. As for cuisine, common Panamanian dishes include hojaldras, bollos, empanadas, sancocho, tamales, ceviche, and patacones. Food is normally mild-flavored and maize, rice, wheat, plantains, beef, chicken, pork, and seafood are main ingredients.

Celebrations and holidays include Feria de las Flores y del Café, Feria de David, Independence Days in November, Martyr’s Day, and Colón Day. However, none of these compare to Carnaval, or Carnival, which takes place four days before Ash Wednesday. During this time, many shops close and the streets are filled with dancing and drinking. Extravagant floats are accompanied by costumes and water cannons. Notable Panamanian people include Tomás Herrera, Omar Torrijos Herrera, Narciso Garay, Sebastián Villalaz, and Rod Carew. Panama is an independent state with a representative form of government. Its president and two vice presidents are elected through a direct popular vote and the two major parties are the Liberals and Conservatives.

The nation is divided into nine provinces, each of which are run by an appointed governor. Currently the president is Juan Carlos Varela, who was vice president from 2009 to 2014 and has taken the presidential position since 2014. Previous presidents include Ricardo Martinelli and Martín Torrijos, son of former dictator Omar Torrijos. Major events have occured in Panama from the twentieth century. Panama became fully independent in 1903, and the canal was fully completed eleven years later in 1914.

From 1968 to 1981, General Omar Torrijos acted as Panama’s dictator. Because of negotiations he made with the US, the US agreed to transfer the canal to Panama 1977. However, Panama did not gain full control of the canal until 1999.

In 2007, the project to widen the Canal began and would be completed in 2014.


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