Panama Map

Introduction   People   History   Culture   Life   Land   Animal   Economy   Language   Politics   Government   Education   Defence   Time   Currency   Legal   Communications  Legal system Organization   Provinces   Disputes  
Panama    Plants and Animal Back to Top

The crops category is the largest within agriculture, but its share has fallen slightly, from 66.1 % in 1980 to 63.3 % in 1985. During that time, crop production was erratic, and annual growth averaged a mere 1.7 %. The major crops and foreign exchange earners were bananas and sugar. In the 1980s, crop production became increasingly diversified. The production of corn, coffee, beans, and tobacco has increased, as has that of such nonorthodox products as melons and flowers. Fruits (particularly citrus), cacao (the bean from which cocoa is derived), plantains, vegetables, and potatoes were produced on a minor scale; nevertheless, they were valuable cash crops for small farms.

From 1982 to 1985, poultry production grew rapidly, from 4.5 million chickens to 6.1 million. During the same time, annual egg production also increased, from 28,859 dozen to 31,205 dozen. Pork production has remained steady; the number of pigs in 1985 totalled 210,000.

Panama    Communications Back to Top

general assessment: domestic and international facilities well developed
domestic: NA
international: 1 coaxial submarine cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to the Central American Microwave System

Panama    Culture Back to Top

Panamanian society of the 1980s reflected the nation's unusual geographical position as a transit zone. Panama's role as a crossing point had long subjected the isthmus to a mixture of outside determines not typically associated with Latin America. The population included East Asian, South Asian, European, North American, and Middle Eastern immigrants and their offspring, who came to Panama to take advantage of the commercial opportunities connected with the Panama Canal. black Antilleans, descendants of Caribbean laborers who worked on the construction of the canal, formed the largest single minority group; as English-speaking Protestants, they were set apart from the majority by both language and religion. Tribal Indians, often isolated from the larger society, constituted roughly 5 % of the population in the 1980s. They were distinguished by language, their indigenous belief systems, and a mixture of other cultural practices.

Migration, both to cities and to less settled regions in the nation, was a critical component in contemporary social relations. City and nationside were linked because the urban-based elite owned ranches or plantations, farmers and ranchers provisioned cities, and migration was an experience common to tens of thousands of Panamanians. Land and an expanding urban economy were essential to absorb surplus labor from heavily populated regions of the nationside. It remained to be seen how the social system would function in the face of high urban unemployment in the more straitened economic circumstances of the late 1980s.

Panama    Defence Back to Top

Military branches: an amendment to the Constitution abolished the armed forces, but there are security forces (Panamanian Public Forces or PPF includes the Panamanian National Police, National Maritime Service, and National Air Service)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 775,966 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 530,916 (2001 est.)

Panama    International Disputes Back to Top


Panama    Economy Back to Top

Since colonial times, Panama’s location has made it a crossroads for trade and transit. This role assumed worldwide significance in the 20th century with the completion of the Panama Canal, which controlled Panama’s economy for decades and tied it closely to the United States. Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $9.56 billion in 1999, equal to $3,400 per person. Commerce, finance, and business services constituted the core of Panama’s economy, contributing 76 % of the GDP. Most economic activity was concentrated in the urban area of central Panama surrounding the canal. In the 1990s the rural economy accounted for 10 % of the GDP and was primarily agricultural, producing farm and ranch commodities. Spending by the United States on military bases added another 5 %, or $366 million, to the GDP, but that ended when Panama assumed control of the canal in 1999.

Nearly three-fourths of the gross domestic product (GDP) is generated by the service sector—a greater proportion than in any other Latin American nation—and services employ the majority of the workforce. Services have grown mainly because of offshore banking and canal traffic; public administration and other services are also valuable. Agriculture and fishing account for less than one-tenth of the GDP but nearly one-fifth of the workforce.

Panama's economy is based primarily on a well-developed services area that accounts for three-fourths of GDP. Services include the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. A slump in Colon Free Zone and agricultural exports, high oil prices, and the withdrawal of US military forces held back economic growth in 2000. The government plans public works programs, tax reforms, and new regional trade agreements in order to stimulate growth in 2001.

Panama    Education Back to Top

Public education began in Panama soon after freedom from Colombia in 1903. The first efforts were guided by an extremely paternalistic view of the goals of education, as demonstrated in comments made in a 1913 meeting of the First Panamanian Educational Assembly, "The cultural heritage given to the child should be determined by the social position he will or should occupy. For this reason education should be different in accordance with the social class to which the student should be related." This elitist focus changed rapidly under United States determine.

Education is compulsory for 6 years and is provided free by the government through the university level. The government spent 17.6 % of its budget on education in 1998. Wealthier families usually send their children to the numerous private schools in the cities. In 1995, 361,900 elementary and 216,200 high school students were listed in the nation. School attendance by elementary-age children is nearly universal. Panama has one of the highest literacy rates in the region, 97 %.

Panama    Government Back to Top

Government: administrator--under provisions of 1972 Constitution, as amended in 1978 and 1983, chief administrator is president of the republic, assisted by two vice presidents, all elected by popular vote for five-year terms. In late 1980s, de facto administrator authority remained, in hands of commander of Panama Defense Forces (Fuerzas de Defensa de Panamá--FDP). Legislature--sixty-seven-member unicameral Legislative Assembly created in 1983; members popularly elected for five-year terms that run concurrently with presidential term. Judiciary--Highest court is Supreme Court made up of nine members and nine alternates who serve ten-year terms after nomination by the administrator branch and ratification by Legislative Assembly. Supreme Court separated into three chambers for civil, penal, and administrative cases. Lower courts include superior tribunals, circuit courts, municipal courts, and night courts. Public Ministry, headed by attorney general, acts as state representative within judiciary.

Politics: Political culture traditionally characterized by personalism (personalismo), the tendency to give one's political loyalties to an individual rather than to a party or ideology. Politics from 1968 coup until his death in 1981 controlled by General Omar Torrijos Herrera, formally head of government from 1968 to 1978 and thereafter de facto head of government while commander of the National Guard. Torrijos's determine continued after his death, as both military and civilian leaders sought to lay claim to his political and social heritage. Proliferation of parties after 1980, when political system opened up again. Most activity separated into two main coalitions: pro-government and opposition. Pro-government coalition headed by party created by Torrijos: Democratic Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Democrático--PRD). Nation's principal opposition party was Authentic Panameñista Party (Partido Panameñista Auténtico--PPA) led by veteran politician Arnulfo Arias Madrid. Political crisis over deficiency of democratization and scandals associated with the FDP commander, General Manuel Antonio Noriega Morena, began in June 1987 and escalated throughout the year and into 1988. Opposition forces remained fragmented, but popular protests were orchestrated by the National Civic Crusade (Crusada Civilista Nacional--CCN), a coalition of civic, business, and professional forces.

International Relations: traditionally controlled by bilateral relations with United States; special relationship created by 1977 Panama Canal treaties continued to be most valuable aspect of foreign relations in late 1980s. Relations very strained and troubled, in late 1987 because of United States concerns over the deficiency of democratization and serious allegations of involvement of the FDP commander in drug trafficking and money laundering. Following negotiation of Panama Canal treaties, Panama has given more attention to other commercial and trade relations and particularly to the Central American peace process.

Panama    History Back to Top

The history of the Panamanian isthmus, since Spaniards first landed on its shores in 1501, is a tale of treasure, treasure seekers, and peoples exploited; of clashes among empires, nations, and cultures; of adventurers and builders; of magnificent dreams fulfilled and simple needs unmet. In the wake of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa's torturous trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1513, conquistadors seeking gold in Peru and beyond crossed the seas and recrossed with their treasures bound for Spain. The indigenous peoples who survived the diseases, massacres, and enslavement of the conquest ultimately fled into the forest or across to the San Blas Islands. Indian slaves were soon replaced by Africans.

In October 1978, the 1972 Constitution had been reformed to allow the legalization of political parties, and exiled political leaders were permitted to return to Panama. Torrijos formally stepped down as head of government, and a civilian president was elected. Torrijos, clearly remained the dominant force in the political system. Torrijos's shocking, sudden death in an airplane crash in July 1981 created a power vacuum in Panama. The newly erected democratic facade persisted, with a succession of civilian presidents controlled by the National Guard and its emergent leader, General Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno, who had been in command since August 1983. Noriega successfully transformed the National Guard into the far larger Panama Defense Forces, a formidable power base for his increasing political control.

Panama    Introduction Back to Top

Panama, republic, situated on the isthmus linking South America with Central and North America. The nation, which is bisected by the Panama Canal, is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the east by Colombia, on the south by the Pacific Ocean, and on the west by Costa Rica. Panama's coastline is about 685 km (425 mi) long on the Caribbean and about 1,230 km (765 mi) long on the Pacific; the nation's total area is 75,517 sq km (29,157 sq mi), including the canal region. The capital is Panama City.

Official Name- Republic of Panama
Capital City- Panama City
Languages- Spanish (official), others
Official Currency- Balboa
Religions- Catholic, Protestant, others
Population- 2,739,000
Land Area- 75,990 sq km (29,340 sq miles)
Panama    Land Back to Top

Panama's land area totals around 7.7 million hectares, of which forests account for 4.1 million hectares, followed by pasture land (1.2 million hectares), and permanently cultivated fields.About 2 % of the land was used for roads and urban areas. Nearly all of the cultivated and pasture land was originally forested. A large amount of virgin land has been opened up for cultivation by the Pan-American Highway.

Much of the farming was of a subsistence nature and accomplished with a minimum of equipment. Plowing was generally not practiced on subsistence farms; the seeds were placed in holes made by a stick. Tree cutting, land clearing, weeding, and harvesting were accomplished with a few kinds of knives, principally the machete and the axe, which comprised the major farm implements.

Panama    Languages Back to Top

Spanish, the official language of Panama, is spoken by all but a few Native Americans. About a quarter of the population also speaks English, the language of the West Indian minority and the international business community. Many other languages can be found in immigrant communities.

Panama    Legal Back to Top

Legal system: based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations vote: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory administrator branch: chief of state: President Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez (since 1 September 1999); First Vice President Arturo Ulises VALLARINO (since 1 September 1999); Second Vice President Dominador "Kaiser" Baldonero BAZAN Jimenez (since 1 September 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez (since 1 September 1999); First Vice President Arturo Ulises VALLARINO (since 1 September 1999); Second Vice President Dominador "Kaiser" Baldonero BAZAN Jimenez (since 1 September 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president elections: president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 2 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2004) election results: Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez elected president; % of vote - Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez (PA) 44%, Martin TORRIJOS (PRD) 37% note: government coalition - PA, MOLIRENA, Democratic Change, MORENA, PLN, PS Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (71 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 2 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2004) election results: % of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRD 34, PA 18, PDC 5, PS 4, MOLIRENA 3, PLN 3, Democratic Change 2, PRC 1, MORENA 1 note: legislators from outlying rural districts are chosen on a plurality basis while districts located in more populous towns and cities elect multiple legislators by means of a proportion-based formula Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges appointed for 10-year terms); five superior courts; three courts of appeal

Panama    Life Back to Top

In the late 1980s, family and kin continued to play a central role in the social lives of most Panamanians. An individual without kin to turn to for protection and aid was in a precarious position. Loyalty to one's kin was an ingrained value, and family ties were considered one's surest defense against a hostile and uncertain world. This loyalty often outweighed that given to a spouse; indeed, a man often gave priority to his responsibility to his parents or siblings over that extended to his wife.

Campesinos followed two distinct patterns in choosing godparents. The parents might choose a person of wealth, power, or prestige, thereby gaining an influential protector. Such a contact could give a parent the confidence to launch a child into an alien outside world, in which he or she might have little personal status or experience. By contrast, among some campesinos there was strong informal pressure in the opposite direction. They believed it was inappropriate to ask someone of higher economic status to act as a godparent, so they sought out instead a relative or friend, particularly one who lived in the same area. The choice here tended to reinforce existing social ties and loyalties.

Panama    organization Back to Top
International organization Member


Panama    People Back to Top

In mid-1987, Panama's population was around at 2.3 million, when 40 % of the population was under 15 years of age. This high proportion suggested continued pressure on the educational system to offer instruction and on the economy to create jobs in the next two decades. Population had increased more than 600 % since the nation's first census in 1911. The annual rate of increase ranged from less than 0.5 % in the economically depressed 1920s to more than 3 % in the decade from 1910 to 1920 and in the 1960s. Demographers projected an annual growth rate of 2.2 % in the 1980s, declining to 1.9 % by 1990-95. s

Panama has a population of 2,845,647 (2001 estimate), up from 2.4 million in 1990. The population is concentrated heavily along the Panama Canal and in the cities on either end of the passage. It is a highly various society, descended from native people and immigrants over thousands of years. In the 16th century, when the Spaniards came to the isthmus, it was occupied by Kuna Guaymí, Chocó, and other American Indian groups. Mestizos resulted from miscegenation between the Spanish and the Indians. During colonial times people from Africa were brought to the isthmus as slaves, and still other mixed ethnic types developed as the Africans entered the society. During the 19th century, with the construction of the Panama City–Colón railroad, new groups arrived—North Americans, French, and Chinese. Large numbers of West Indians came to Panama as labourers during the construction of the canal, and additional U.S. nationals, Spaniards, Italians, and Greeks also arrived.

Panama    Politics Back to Top

Arnulfista Party or PA [Mireya Elisa MOSCOSO Rodriguez]; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Ruben AROSEMENA]; Civic Renewal Party or PRC [Serguei DE LA ROSA]; Democratic Change [Ricardo MARTINELLI]; Democratic Revolutionary Party or PRD [Martin TORRIJOS]; National Liberal Party or PLN [Raul ARANGO Gasteazopo]; National Renovation Movement or MORENA [Pedro VALLARINO Cox]; Nationalist Republican Liberal Movement or MOLIRENA [Ramon MORALES]; Solidarity Party or PS [Samuel LEWIS Galindo] Political pressure groups and leaders: Chamber of Commerce; National Civic Crusade; National Council of Organized Workers or CONATO; National Union of Construction and Similar Workers (SUNTRACS); National Council of Private Enterprise or CONEP; Panamanian Association of Business administrators or APEDE; Panamanian Industrialists Society or SIP; Workers Confederation of the Republic of Panama or CTRP

Panama    Provinces Back to Top

9 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) and one territory* (comarca); Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Cocle, Colon, Darien, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama, San Blas*, and Veraguas

Panama    Time Back to Top
Live Time and Date ( Click Here )

Panama    Currency and General Information Back to Top
Panama Balboas United States Dollars
1.00 PAB 1.00000 USD
1.00000 PAB 1 USD

Countries Currency Unit USD/Unit Units/USD
DZD Algeria Dinars 0.0129554 77.1877
USD United States Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
ARS Argentina Pesos 0.341293 2.93004
AUD Australia Dollars 0.533413 1.87472
ATS Austria Schillings ** 0.0632609 15.8076
BSD Bahamas Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BBD Barbados Dollars 0.502513 1.99000
BEF Belgium Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
BMD Bermuda Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BRL Brazil Reals 0.430318 2.32386
GBP United Kingdom Pounds 1.42399 0.702251
BGL Bulgaria Leva 0.447293 2.23567
CAD Canada Dollars 0.627606 1.59336
CLP Chile Pesos 0.00152392 656.202
CNY China Yuan Renminbi 0.120813 8.27726
CYP Cyprus Pounds 1.49883 0.667186
CZK Czech Republic Koruny 0.0281883 35.4758
DKK Denmark Kroner 0.117155 8.53568
XCD East Caribbean Dollars 0.370370 2.70000
EGP Egypt Pounds 0.217271 4.60255
EUR Euro 0.870489 1.14878
FJD Fiji Dollars 0.447227 2.23600
FIM Finland Markkaa ** 0.146406 6.83034
FRF France Francs ** 0.132705 7.53550
DEM Germany Deutsche Marks ** 0.445074 2.24682
XAU Gold Ounces 301.977 0.00331151
GRD Greece Drachmae ** 0.00255463 391.447
HKD Hong Kong Dollars 0.128215 7.79939
HUF Hungary Forint 0.00358416 279.006
ISK Iceland Kronur 0.00999868 100.013
INR India Rupees 0.0205205 48.7319
IDR Indonesia Rupiahs 0.000102055 9,798.61
IEP Ireland Pounds ** 1.10529 0.904738
ILS Israel New Shekels 0.212386 4.70841
ITL Italy Lire ** 0.000449570 2,224.35
JMD Jamaica Dollars 0.0210041 47.6099
JPY Japan Yen 0.00754183 132.594
JOD Jordan Dinars 1.41057 0.708931
LBP Lebanon Pounds 0.000660937 1,513.00
LUF Luxembourg Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
MYR Malaysia Ringgits 0.263330 3.79751
MXN Mexico Pesos 0.111007 9.00848
NZD New Zealand Dollars 0.440474 2.27028
NOK Norway Kroner 0.113022 8.84780
NLG Netherlands Guilders ** 0.395011 2.53158
PKR Pakistan Rupees 0.0166945 59.9000
PHP Philippines Pesos 0.0196386 50.9202
XPT Platinum Ounces 510.962 0.00195709
PLN Poland Zlotych 0.243488 4.10699
PTE Portugal Escudos ** 0.00434198 230.310
ROL Romania Lei 0.0000303433 32,956.21
RUR Russia Rubles 0.0321342 31.1195
SAR Saudi Arabia Riyals 0.266668 3.74998
XAG Silver Ounces 4.65692 0.214734
SGD Singapore Dollars 0.542540 1.84318
SKK Slovakia Koruny 0.0208441 47.9751
ZAR South Africa Rand 0.0883340 11.3207
KRW South Korea Won 0.000759354 1,316.91
ESP Spain Pesetas ** 0.00523174 191.141
XDR IMF Special Drawing Rights 1.24862 0.800882
SDD Sudan Dinars 0.00384615 260.000
SEK Sweden Kronor 0.0964189 10.3714
CHF Switzerland Francs 0.593789 1.68410
TWD Taiwan New Dollars 0.0286531 34.9002
THB Thailand Baht 0.0230087 43.4619
TTD Trinidad and Tobago Dollars 0.163399 6.12000
TRL Turkey Liras 0.000000763622 1,309,549.07
VEB Venezuela Bolivares 0.00108696 920.000
ZMK Zambia Kwacha 0.000239866 4,169.00

Panama : Geographic coordinates 9 00 N, 80 00 W
Panama : Population growth rate 1.3%
Panama : Birth rate 19.06 births/1,000 population
Panama : Death rate 4.95 deaths/1,000 population
Panama : People living with HIV/AIDS 24,000
Panama : Independence 3 November 1903
Panama : National holiday Independence Day, 3 November
Panama : Constitution 11 October 1972
Panama : GDP purchasing power parity - $16.6 billion
Panama : GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $6,000
Panama : Electricity - consumption 4.049 billion kWh
Panama : Exports $5.7 billion bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing
Panama : Imports $6.9 billion capital goods, crude oil, foodstuffs, consumer goods, chemicals
Panama : Telephones 396,000
Panama : Mobile cellular 17,000
Panama : Radio broadcast stations AM 101, FM 134, shortwave 0
Panama : Radios 815,000
Panama : Television broadcast stations 38
Panama : Televisions 510,000
Panama : Internet country code .pa
Panama : Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 6
Panama : Internet users 45,000
Panama : Railways 355 km
Panama : Highways 11,592 km
Panama : Waterways 882 km
Panama : Pipelines crude oil 130 km
Panama : Ports and harbors Balboa, Cristobal, Coco Solo, Manzanillo (part of Colon area), Vacamonte
Panama : Merchant marine 4,711 ships
Panama : Airports 107
Panama : Heliports N/A
Panama : Military branches Panamanian National Police, National Maritime Service, and National Air Service
Panama : Military expenditures $128 million