Panama General Information

Panama General Information

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Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and promptly signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone.

The Panama Canal and the US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. In October 2006, Panama approved a plan to expand the Canal. The project, which could double the Canal’s capacity, is expected to be completed in 2014-15.

Capital of Panama

Panama City

Currency Balboa, exchange rate:

1 US$ = 1 Balboa, B (fixed rate).

Administrative divisions

9 provinces: Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama and Veraguas. 3 territories: Emberá-Wounaan, Kuna Yala (San Blas) and Ngobe-Bugle.

Population

3.2 millions growth rate 1.6% (2007 est.). Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 70%, Amerindian and mixed (West Indian) 14%, white 10%, Amerindian 6%.

Languages

Spanish (official), English 14%, many Panamanians are bilingual.

Religions

Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 15%.

Climate

Tropical; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season from May to January, short dry season from January to May.

Geography

78,200 sq. km. Interior mostly steep, rugged mountains and dissected, upland plains; coastal areas largely plains and rolling hills.

National Anthem

Watch to the National Anthem of Panama

Public holidays

January 1 – New Years Day.
January 9 – Mourning Day.
February 15 – Carnival.
March/April – Good Friday.
May 1 – Labor Day.
November 3 – Independence Day (1903 from Colombia).
November 4 – Flag Day.
November 10 – The rebellion of the Saints.
November 28 – Independence from Spain.
December 8 – Mother’s Day.
December 25 – Christmas Day.

Newspapers

La Prensa |  El Siglo |  La Estrella

Natural resources

Copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower.

Industries

Construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling.

Agriculture products

Bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables, livestock, shrimp.

GDP

US$ 26.2 billion, real growth rate 8.1%, per capita US$ 8,200 (2006 est.).

Exports

US$ 8.5 billion (f.o.b., 2006 est.). Bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing.