Fun Facts about Panamá

Panamá is no exception when it comes to the quirky and quacky. Here are some of the best.

Nicaragua postage stamp

After the French gave up trying to build a canal across the isthmus of Panamá, the United States took over under Theodore Roosevelt. The US Senate debated  whether the canal should be constructed in Panamá or Nicaragua, so Roosevelt mailed a Nicaraguan postage stamp showing a land of volcanoes to every Senator. The Senate quickly decided on Panamá! Panamá was then a part of Colombia, and the Columbian government rejected the financial terms offered by the US. Roosevelt positioned warships at each end of the proposed canal. The Colombians could not navigate the jungles to reach the American presence at the canal, so the Panamanians declared independence from Colombia and the rest is history.

Panamá was the first country outside the US to sell Coca-Cola (1906). It was also the first Latin American country to adopt the US dollar as its currency (1904) following its independence from Colombia.

Photo of Edward Murphy, Jr.

Murphy’s Law, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” was coined by Edward Murphy,  Jr., born in the Panamá Canal Zone in 1918.

Angela Brown of Bocas del Toro married the Prince of Liechtenstein in 2000, making her the first Afro-descendent member of a European royal family.

Panamá takes the honor in 1510 of creating the first Roman Catholic diocese on the American continent. Six years later, the first city to be built by a European was constructed on the Pacific side of the American continent.

The first conquistador arrived in Panamá in 1501, one year ahead of Christopher Columbus.

Museum of Biodiversity

The Museum of Biodiversity in Panamá City is the first building in Latin America designed by world-renown architect Frank Gehry. He designed the building to tell the story of uniting two continents, separating a vast ocean in two, and the planet’s biodiversity forever.

Fact: Panama City is the only capital city in the world having a rainforest within the city limits. 
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