The name of the country at the Isthmus, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2003, but gained its real independence only in 2000 with the return of the Panama Canal through the US, actually means “fish in abundance”.
A still accurate name, that Panamá owes its location and long-stretched form with corresponding coasts between the two oceans.
Nevertheless, everyone is thinking about the canal, which is considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of mankind. Every year, more than 15,000 ships pass through the three complex lock systems of the “Big Ditch”. The fact that the waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific was originally to be built in Nicaragua, following the river of the Rio San Juan, is only a historical footnote today. Before the decision per Nicaragua, a lobbyist for the Panama Canal variant sent letters to the US senators, stamped with Nicaraguan stamps, which represented the eruption of the Concepción volcano close to the waterway in the Nicaragua lake. This action fueled fears and ultimately led to the decision per Panama.
The famous Panama hat has also given its name to the canal, because the fine woven hats made of palm fibers originate from Ecuador, but they first came to Europe through the canal, where they became the trademark of dandies and adventurers. (read more…)