Panama, which in indigenous language means abundance of fish and butterflies, is the isthmus that connects Central America to South America. The two neighbouring countries are Costa Rica and Colombia to the north and to the south. Owner of a privileged geographical position, is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.
What is now known as Panama was discovered by the Spanish in 1501 by Rodrigo de Bastidas, called Port Escribano to what the next year Admiral Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage to America named as Portobelo. Panama remained loyal to the Spanish until November 28, 1821, declared its independence and joined voluntarily by the great admiration felt towards the liberator Simon Bolivar, to the Gran Colombia, consisting on those days for the Republics of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
On November 3, 1903, and after 3 separatists attempts, Panama declares its independence from Colombia.
The Republic of Panama, with a land area that barely exceeds 75,000 square kilometers, has a little more than 3,000,000 (three million) inhabitants, as a result of exchange of cultures among which is dominated by indigenous natives of the region (Kuna, Emberá, Woonan and Ngöbe Bugle), and Spanish mestizos negroides (mostly originating in the islands of the caribbean), as well as new immigrants which are the Chinese, Italians, Greeks, Jews and Hindus, among others.
Its main sources of revenue are the trade and services as well as the banana, fruits and fish marketing. In Panama the official currency is the balboa, which has the same value as the dollar.
The National Bird is the Eagle Harpía and the National Flower the Holy Spirit (white orchid).
The system of government in Panama is democratic, direct and representative, where every 5 years, elect a president and a vice president, members of parliament, mayors and representatives of corregimiento. At present the President is Mr. Martin Torrijos Espino, who took office last September 1, 2004 and whose term will culminate on June 30, 2009.