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Panama Independence Day

Declaration of Independence
Panama achieved its freedom from Spain in 1821. Panama was basically isolated from other Spanish colonies fighting for independence and as such did not join the early efforts of these colonies to separate from Spain. The revolutionaries of the other colonies didn't hesitate when it came to using the strategic potential of the Panama for revolutionary actions. Cartagena's patriots made every possible attempt to take Portobelo in 1814 and again in 1819. Finally, a naval effort from Chile was successful in capturing the island of Taboga (Bay of Panama). New Granada gained freedom upon the victory of Simon Bolivar on 7 August 1819. The viceroy of Spain fled for Panama and ruled till 1821.
Soon, Panama City introduced plans for declaring independence. However, on 10 November, 1821, the city of Los Santos had already proclaimed liberty from Spain. This led to a meeting on 28 November, the same year, which is today celebrated as the Independence Day of the country.
The earliest inhabitants of Panama were the Cocle and Cueva tribes; however, their numbers were reduced considerably by illness and in wars with the Spanish who arrived during the sixteenth century. Rodrigo de Bastidas was the first European to discover the Isthmus of Panama. After one year, Christopher Columbus visited the Isthmus and founded a settlement in the Darien. Vasco Núñez de Balboa's trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific in the year 1513 described that the Isthmus was the path between the seas. Moreover, the country soon became the marketplace and crossroads of Spain's reign in the New World. Panama was a prominent section of the Spanish empire for about 300 years, from 1538 to 1821.

After attaining independence from Spain on 28 November, the country joined Gran Colombia, which was a union of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. However, with the disintegration of Gran Colombia, the country became a part of Colombia. For the next 82 years, Panama made every possible attempt to gain independence from Colombia. In 1903, Colombia and the United States signed the Hay-Herran Treaty. This treaty would have permitted the United States to be in command of a strip of land surrounding the Panama Canal; however the treaty was rejected by Colombia. Following this development, November 1903, Panama seceded from Colombia with US backing.

The translated version of the national anthem is:
Isthmus Hymn
We finally attained victory
In the happy field of union.
With glowing splendour,
The new nation is illumined.

It is necessary to veil with a curtain
The Calvary and Cross of the past,
And for you to adorn the azure of your skies
With the splendid light of concord.
Progress fondly touches your homes,
In time with the music of a sublime song.
You see, roaring at your feet, two oceans
Which give direction to your noble mission.


On your flower-covered soil,
Kissed by the warm breeze,
Warlike clamour has ended
And only brotherly love reigns.
Ahead, with spade and stone-mason's hammer!
To work, without more delay!
In this way we shall be the honour and glory
Of this fertile land of Columbus.

Huge parades are held in the Panama City. You can also witness traditional folklores in the streets. Besides, you will also find both adults and children dressed in ethnic costumes and dancing to traditional music.

Some of the facts that you need to take a note of are as follows:
  • President: Juan Carlos Varela (2014)
  • Land area: 29,340 sq mi
  • Population (2014 est.): 3,608,431
  • Capital: Panama City
  • Other prominent cities: San Miguelito, Tocumen,
  • National name: República de Panamá
  • Languages: Spanish, English


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