Panamanian History

Essay by greenfiremajickUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Panama History

Borgmeyer 1

Running Head: History of Panama

Panama History

Traci Borgmeyer

January 17, 2004


Professor Posko

Panama History

Borgmeyer 2


Panama historically has had closer ties with the United States than any country in Latin America other than Mexico. The country is known best for the Panama Canal, which the United States built for both military and trade purposes at the start of the 20th century. The United States maintained sovereignty over parts of Panama until 1999. However, the earlier historical issues of Panama will be addressed here. As the Spanish explorers arrived in Panama, some researchers have estimated that there was an approximate population of 750,000 Cuna Indians, though there are varying estimates of the number of the total amount of Indians that inhabited the area. Two additional groups of Indians called the Guaymí and the Chocó, were identified by ethnologists. The Guaymí from the highlands close to the Costa Rican border are believed to be related to the Nahuatlan and Mayan nations from Mexico and Central America.

The Chocó appear to be related to the Chibcha of Colombia. Although the Cuna, now found mostly in the Comarca de San Blas, (which is an indigenous territory and considered part of the Colón Province for some official purposes) have been categorized as belonging to the Caribbean culture. Apparently their origin continues to be a subject of speculation. Numerous amounts of ethnologists have pointed towards the possibility of a linguistic connection between the name Cuna and certain Arawak and Carib tribal names. The possibility of cultural links with the Andean Indians has been hypothesized, and in addition some scholars have noted linguistic affinities with the Chibcha. The suggestion is that the great valleys of Colombia, which trend toward the isthmus, led migration in that direction. Lines...