By Rosetta Sharp Dean
1.A country slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina, Panama is located in Central America. Its
land mass measures 29,762 square miles (77,381 square kilometers), bounded by the Caribbean Sea
to the north, Colombia to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Costa Rica to the west. The
climate of the area is tropical with a dry season that extends from January to May and a rainy season
from May to December. Rainfall varies from 130 inches on the Atlantic coast to 68 inches on the Pacific
side. Temperatures generally range between 73 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit (23-31 degrees Celsius).
2.Panama has a population of slightly over 2.4 million people; 70 percent are of Mestizo origin (mixed
Spanish, and Indian) or mixed Spanish, Indian, Chinese, and West Indian. The rest of the population
comprises various ethnic minorities, including West Indian (14 percent), white (ten percent), Indian
(six percent). Most of the population is Roman Catholic, however, there are several other
denominations as well as Judaic and Islamic faiths represented. The country's official language is
Spanish, and its capital city is Panama City. Panama's national flag consists of four rectangles arranged
lower left, blue; upper right, red; upper left, white with blue star in the center; lower right, white with
red star in the center.
1.Panama was the native name of a village on the Pacific Coast of the Gulf and Isthmus of Panama.
Before its discovery by the Spanish, Panama was inhabited by a large number of Amerindians. The
groups lived in organized chiefdoms, depending on the area's fish, birds, and sea turtles, and on
starchy root crops for food. Numbering nearly one million when the Spanish arrived in 1501, the
largest group was the Cuna. The country's name, which means "land of plenty fish," may also come
from the Cuna words
, or "far away," a reply to Spaniards who wondered where to find
gold. The name Panama is also believed to be a Guarani Indian word meaning "a butterfly," and also
signifying a mud fish, perhaps because the flaps of the mudfish resembled the wings of a butterfly.