Fast Facts

Population:
3,232,000
Capital:
Panama City; 930,000
Area:
75,517 square kilometers (29,157 square miles)
Language:
Spanish, English
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Currency:
Balboa, US dollar
Life Expectancy:
74
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $6,200
Literacy Percent:
93
Flag: Panama
Map: Panama

Panama is a narrow land bridge connecting North and South America. The Panama Canal, built by the United States after Panama's independence from Colombia in 1903, joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In 1989 U.S. troops overthrew Gen. Manuel Noriega, following his indictment for complicity in drug trafficking. Panama's first woman president, Mireya Moscoso, was elected in 1999—the same year that her country assumed full control of the Panama Canal.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles
  • Agriculture: Coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton; beef, veal
  • Exports: Coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, bananas

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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