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40 Incredibly Interesting Facts About Panama: How Many Do You Know?

The Panama flag is highly symbolic.

Are you ready to learn some cool facts about Panama?

We have collected a whole list of Panama facts and information, by the time you've read the whole thing you will be an expert! As well as interesting facts about Panama culture, we've got a few Panama history facts, Panama culture facts and even some fun facts about Panama City.

Once you have had enough of Panama facts, perhaps you'd like to learn about some more interesting places, why not check out facts about Switzerland and Greenland facts for kids?

Facts About Panama History

The history of Panama is incredibly varied, we have collated a brief history of Panama and the important historical events in Panama, the Panama Canal is a key feature!

1. The official name of Panama is The Republic of Panama, and the nationality is Panamanian.

2. Panama was originally inhabited by the indigenous Chibchan, Chocoan and Cueva people, long before the arrival of any European colonizers .

3. After a Spanish explorer named Vasco Nunez de Balboa 'claimed' Panama for their King in 1513, the country was a colony of the Spanish Empire for almost 300 years.

4. In 1821, Panama became independent of Spain. Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama joined together to form the Republic of Gran Colombia. This partnership ended in 1830 but Panama stayed a part of Colombia.

5. In 1903, Panama signed a treaty with the United States and declared its independence from Colombia.

6. The treaty allowed the US to obtain a stretch of land, they used this land to continue a previously stalled project: building the Panama Canal. The purpose of this canal was to allow boats to sail directly across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

7. The building of the Panama Canal was undoubtedly a huge achievement. However the build cost the lives of over 25,000 people during its various attempts at construction.

8. The canal was finally finished in 1914, and in 1999 full control was passed over from the United States to the Panamanian Government.

9. Due to the Panama Canal, Panama was able to become a center for international trade and the capital city, Panama City,  is currently the wealthiest city in Central America.

10. The official currency of Panama is the Panamanian Balboa. Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt US currency as legal tender alongside its own.

Interesting Facts About Panama Geography And Wildlife

Panama has an extraordinary landscape and is home to some of the most unique wildlife in the world, check out all of these interesting things about Panama!

11. Panama is a Central American country, located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. The current population currently stands at 4,314,767 people.

12. Panama is a piece of land known as a land bridge, or 'isthmus', as it is the connection between North and South America.

13. Costa Rica, and Colombia are bordering countries of Panama, all three of these countries that border Panama speak Spanish as their primary language.

14. Panama is one of seven other countries in Central America. Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua make up the other six.

15. Panama is extremely has an extremely hot and tropical climate, largely due to being only around 620 miles (1000 km) away from the equator.

16. Panama is covered with amazing landscapes and its rainforest is the second biggest on the continent. The jungles here are home to vast amounts of tropical plants, animals and birds, some of which are totally unique to Panama.

17. There are more than 1,500 different types of tropical tree growing in Panama, this country is also home to some of the most varied plant life in the world.

18. Out of the six big cats found in Central America, five roam wild in Panama: pumas, ocelots, margays, jaguars and the jaguarundis.

19. Panama's array of wildlife is truly incredible, there are more that 970 species of bird. That is more species that the U.S and Canada have combined.

20. As well as all of these incredible birds, in Panama you will also find many tropical fish, dolphins, sloths, anteaters, monkeys, bats, and tapirs!

21. There are only 80 km separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean at the narrowest point of Panama, this means you can swim in two separate oceans in one day!

22. Panama has one volcano named Volcan Baru, located at the Cordillera Central, the country's largest mountain range. The highest point is 3,475 meters (11,401 feet).

23. The Chucunaque River is the longest river in Panama at 144 miles long.

24. The San Blas Archipielago in the Atlantic Ocean side of Panama, also known as the San Blas Islands, is made up of 365 islands and cays, giving you a different island to visit every single day of the year.

25. The capital city of Panama is Panama City. It is the only city in the entire world that can say it has a rain forest within its city limits!

26. It is was discovered that the change in climate patterns caused by the emergence of the isthmus of Panama, is a contributing factor to human evolution, and the reason homo sapiens came to exist!

A huge mix of traditions and cultural celebrations are embraced in Panama.

Facts About Panama Culture

Panama is literally packed full of culture! Enjoy learning about these cultural facts about Panama.

27. Most Panamanians are descendants of a mix of ethnicities and cultures, including indigenous people, Europeans, Afro-Caribbeans, and many other people from all over the world!

28. Indigenous people currently make up around 13% of Panama's population. There are still seven distinct indigenous cultures, these are then divided into four major groups, these are the Ngöbe-Buglé, the Guna, the Emberá-Wounaan, and the Naso-Bribri.

29. These indigenous communities of Panama still maintain a very traditional lifestyle and have their own dialects, languages and customs. They are also self governing.

30. Panamanian culture has a strong emphasis on family, many generations will live together in one home and all contribute to running the household and caring for children.

31. The traditional dress for women in Panama is a long, full skirted white cotton dress called a Pollera, covered with colorful embroidery. For men, a traditional outfit is an 'ocueno montuno', this is a hand painted or embroidered white cotton shirt worn with short pants.

32. The Guna are an indigenous people of Panama, known for their beautiful traditional textile pieces known as 'mola'. Mola panels are made using applique techniques to stitch together layers of colored fabric, creating patterns and pictures. These panels are recognized all over the world as a beautiful souvenir from Panama and are now made by the Guna women to sell to tourists and collectors.

33. The famous Panama hat is actually a bit of a myth, as it does not in fact come from Panama! This style of hat is of Ecuadorian origin. Theodore Roosevelt was photographed wearing a Panama hat in 1904 when he visited the Panama Canal, this may have contributed to the rumor!

34. The diverse culture of Panama also shows in their music and art. The 'tamborito' is a traditional dance in Panama, but is actually of Spanish origin, incorporating African rhythms and dance moves.

Panama is home to some of the most perfect beaches in the world.

Fun Facts About Panama

It's not all Panamanian history! Check out these quirky facts all about Panama.

35. The word 'Panama' is traditionally said to mean "place of fishes".

36. The gigantic Harpy Eagle is Panama's national bird. Its wingspan can reach up to 6.5 feet!

37. The National Anthem of Panama  called 'Himno Istmeño', this translates to "at last we reached victory".

38. Panama was the first country outside of the United States to sell Coca Cola, this super popular drink was first sold here in 1906.

39. Panama is the only country in the entire world where you are able watch the sunrise on the Pacific Ocean, and then see it set on the Atlantic Ocean, pretty spectacular!

40. Panama is home to the tiny but toxic strawberry poison-dart frog. This little guy is too poisonous to even touch!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully curated lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked out suggestions for interesting facts about Panama for kids, then why not take a look at fun facts about Bolivia or fun facts about Wales?

Author

Written By

Amy Lines

Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!

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