Panama The official name of Panama is the Republic of Panama or (Repblica de Panam). Panama is located on the narrowest and lowest part of the Isthmus of Panama that links North America and South America. This part of the isthmus is situated between 7 and 10 north latitude and 77 and 83 west longitude. Panama is slightly smaller than South Carolina, approximately 77,082 square kilometers. The country’s two coastlines are referred to as the Caribbean and Pacific, rather than the north and south coasts.

To the east is Colombia and to the west Costa Rica. Pacific. Dominant features of their landform is highlands forming the continental divide. The higher elevations near borders with Costa Rica and Colombia. The highest point in the country is the Volcn Bar which rises to almost 3,500 meters. The lowest elevation is in the middle of the country where it is crossed by the Panama Canal.

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Most of the population is on the Pacific side of the divide. The population of the country is around 2.8 million with a growth rate of 1.5%. The racial and ethnic groups are 65% mestizo, 14% African descent, 10% Spanish descent, 10% Indian. The religion is 85% Roman Catholic, 5% Protestant, and 5% Islamic. Spanish is the official language, though United States influence and the canal zone reinforce the use of English as a second language. Panama’s arts show its ethnic mix.

Indian tribes, West Indian groups, mestizos, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Swiss, Yugoslav and North American immigrants have all offer contributed ingredients to the culture. Traditional arts are woodcarving, weaving, ceramics and mask-making. The capital city is Panama City with major cities of Colon, Bocas del Toro, Potobelo, El porvenir, Santiago, Tocumen, La Palma, David, Balboa, and el Dorado. Political culture traditionally characterized by personalism, the tendency to give one’s political loyalties to an individual rather than to a party. Politics from 1968 until his death in 1981 dominated by General Omar Torrijos Herrera, Their form of government is Executive under provisions of their 1972 Constitution, as amended in 1978 and 1983. The chief executive is president of the republic, he is assisted by two vice presidents, all elected by popular vote for five-year terms. The unit of currency is the Balboa which is equal to the United States dollar. Balboas are available only in coins.

Almost 500 rivers intertwine through Panama’s landscape. Many of these rivers originated as swift highland streams. The Ro Chepo and the Ro Chagres are sources of hydroelectric power. The Ro Chagres is one of the longest and most vital of the 150 rivers that flow into the Caribbean. A part of this river was dammed to create Gatun Lake, which forms a major part of the transit route between the locks near each end of the canal.

Panama has a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity year round. Seasons determined by rainfall rather than by changes in temperature. The country is divided into nine provinces, plus the Comarca de San Blas, which is treated as part of Coln Province. The provincial borders have not changed since they were determined at independence in 1903. The provinces are divided into districts, which in turn are subdivided into sections called corregimientos. The country claims the seabed of the continental shelf, which has been defined by Panama.

In addition, a 1958 law asserts jurisdiction over 12 nautical miles from the coastlines, and in 1968the government announced a claim to a 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone. The major port on the Pacific coastline is Balboa. The principal islands are Archipilago de las Perlas in the middle of the Gulf of Panama, the penal colony, and the island of Taboga, a tourist attraction that can be seen from Panama City. In all, there are some 1,000 islands off the Pacific coast. The Pacific coastal waters are extraordinarily shallow.

Depths of 180 meters are reached only outside the perimeters of both the Gulf of Panama and the Golfo de Chiriqu, and wide mud flats extend up to 70 kilometers from the coastlines. As a result, the tidal range is outrageous. A difference of about 70 centimeters between high and low water on the Caribbean coast contrasts sharply with over 700 centimeters on the Pacific coast, and 130 kilometers up the Ro Tuira the range is still over 500 centimeters. The mountain range of the divide is called the Cordillera de Talamanca near the Costa Rican border. Farther east it becomes the Serrana de Tabasar, and the portion of it closer to the lower portion of the isthmus, where the canal is located, is often called the Sierra de Veraguas. The major animal life is primarily Birds which are a primary indicator of biodiversity Panama has 936 species of birds.

Public education began in Panama soon after independence from Colombia in 1903 child should. By the 1920s, Panamanian education was good, explicitly designed to assist the able and ambitious individual in search of upward social mobility. In the late 1930s, as much as one- fourth of the national budget went to education. Between 1920 and 1934, primary-school enrollment doubled. Adult illiteracy, more than 70 percent in 1923, dropped to roughly half the adult population in more than a decade.

By the early 1950s, adult illiteracy had dropped to 28. The 1950s saw essentially no improvement; adult illiteracy was 27 percent in 1960. There were gains in the 1960s, however, and the rate of adult illiteracy dropped 8 percentage points by 1970. According to 1980 estimates, only 13 percent of Panamanians over 10 years of age were illiterate.Men and women were equally represented among the literate. The most notable disparity was between urban and rural Panama; From the 1950s through the early 1980s, educational enrollments expanded faster than the rate of population growth and, for most of that period, faster than the school-aged population. School attendance was good for children from ages six through fifteen years, or until the completion of primary school.

A six-year primary cycle was followed by two types of secondary school programs: an academic-oriented program and a vocational-type program. In addition to the academic program, there was a vocational type secondary-school program that offered professional or technical courses aimed specifically at giving students the technical skills needed for employment following graduation. In the mid- 1980s, nearly one-quarter of all secondary students chose this type of course. Like the more academic-oriented secondaryschool program, the vocational-type program was divided into two cycles. Students could choose their studies from a variety of specializations, including agriculture, art, commerce, and industrial trades. Admission to the university normally required the bachillerato (graduation certificate or baccalaureate), awarded on completion of the upper part of the academic course of studies, although the University of Panama had some latitude in determining admissions standards.

The bachillerato was generally considered an essential component of middle-class status. Public secondary schools that offered the baccalaureate degree also offered the lower cycle. They were generally located in provincial capital cities. The oldest, largest, and most highly regarded of these was the National Institute in Panama City. The University of Panama grew out of it, and the school had produced so many public figures that it was known as the Nest of Eagles. It tended to draw its student body from upwardly mobile rather than long-established elements of the elite. Its students were well known for their political activism.

Another college, the Colegio del Istmo, was started early in the nineteenth century, but the school did not prosper, and Panamanians who wished to pursue a higher education were required to go abroad or to Colombia until 1935, when the University of Panama was founded. In the mid-1980s, most presecondary schooling took place within the university. Other institutions, such as the School of Nursing and the Superior Center for Bilingual Secretaries, made up for less than 3 percent of enrollment at this educational level. There are Fourteen ports, the most important Balboa (Pacific) and Cristbal (Atlantic) at the entrances to Panama Canal. There were 3 separate, unconnected Railroad systems totalling 238 kilometers.

Main line between Panama City and Coln (seventy-six kilometers). Other two in west, originating in David and Almirante, respectively, and continuing across the Costa Rican border. In 1984 about 9,535 kilometers of roadside twined through Panama, 32 percent asphalted. Principal axes are Pan-American Highway, running across Panama from Costa Rica toward Colombia. There are eight main airport fields, including one international airport: General Omar Torrijos International Airport, more commonly known as Tocumen International Airport, near Panama City.

The trans-isthmian pipeline completed in 1982. Approximately eighty-one kilometers long, running from Puerto Armuelles to Chiriqu Grande. Panama has a well-developed internal and external communication systems. The government has given some newsoutlets and periodically censored others. During most of the Torrijos era, the press and radio were tightly controlled but, following the ratification of the Panama Canal treaties, a significant degree of press freedom was restored.

It was at this time that the most significant opposition paper, La Prensa, was founded. Industrial development has been uneven in Panama. Between 1965 and 1980, industry grew at an average annual rate of 5.9 percent; between 1980 and 1985,that rate was negative 2.2 percent. In 1985 industry accounted for nearly 18 percent of GDP. Within the industrial sector, manufacturing and mining contributed 9.1 percent to GDP, followed by construction and energy.

Panama offers a wide range of tourist attractions and gambling facilities. In 1983 the National Tourism Council was founded to coordinate national tourism in conjunction with the Panamanian Tourism Institute. The number of tourists peaked in 1980 at 377,600 and declined to 302,400 in 1984. Despite the decrease the expenditures by visitors Panamas main crops are bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, coffee, beans, tobacco, melons, and flowers. Livestock accounted for nearly 30 percent of value added in agriculture; fishing (just over 4 percent; and forestry, nearly 3 percent. Biographies.