Overview of Panama:
Panama is a curious combination, but with a stimulating cultural influence. Panama is located in the center of the world, the isthmus that is the last part of a nature that serves as a bridge between the North and South American countries. Its strategic position and a glorious spot – the forest rich with wildlife and lots of sun-drenched beaches – suggest it will remain an important country for a long time yet.
Panama has been a vital trade route for over 500 years, first under Spanish rule, then as an independent part of Gran Colombia and now Colombia, and in the age 20 as an independent nation.
However, the Panama Canal Zone, completed in 1914, he became an American protectorate for many decades. It was not until 1977 that the Americans agreed to hand over the canal to Panama and full control was given to Panama in 1999. In the 1980’s, the country was led by the Chief of the Armed Forces, Manuel Noriega, who was very unpopular in Washington. In 1989, after a failed coup (believed he had support from the U.S.) President George Bush authorized the invasion to remove the troublesome dictator.
Today, Panama is more stable in its own skin and wants to embark on ambitious new projects. The Panama Canal, which recorded its busiest year to date in 2007, plans to expand substantially in 2014.
Geography of Panama:
Panama forms the land link between the continents of North and South America. Colombia is bordered to the east, Costa Rica, to the west and the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean to the north and south. The country forms an S-shaped isthmus which runs east to west over a total length of 772 kilometers (480 miles) and is 60 to 177 kilometers (37 to 110 miles) wide. The landscape is mountainous with lowlands on both coasts cut by streams, wooded slopes and a wide area of savannah-covered plains and hills. The Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean are linked by the Panama Canal, cut into a gap between the Cordillera de Talamanca and the San Blas mountain range and stretches over 65 kilometers (40 miles), the length of the channel is often referred to 80 km (50 miles) as it is the distance between the deep water of the entry. Only about a quarter of the country is inhabited. The majority of the population lives either in the channel and the major cities are Panama City and Colón (the two cities which control the entry and exit of the channel) or in the Pacific lowlands and adjacent mountains.
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