Panama is the southernmost country in Central America, first explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century. It has the 3rd largest economy in Central America with revenue from its canal tolls representing a large percentage of its GDP. At the last census in 2013, Panama had a population of 3,661,868.
Panama's population is 70% mestizo (white and Amerindian), 14% Amerindian and mixed (West Indian), 10% white and 6% Amerindian. The Amerindian population of Panama includes seven major indigenous peoples, including the Bri Bri and Ngabe.
More than 50% of the population lives in the Panama City-Colón metropolitan region, which includes many cities. The urban population is more than 70%, which is the highest in all of Central America. According to the 2010 census, just over 12% of the population is indigenous.
The large West Indian population of Panama owes its presence to the efforts in the 19th and 20th century to construct the Panama Canal, with 3/4 of the workforce representing Afro Caribbean migrants from the West Indians.
Panama Religion, Economy and Politics
The country of Panama is fairly religiously diverse, although the majority of citizen practice some form of Christianity. According to a survey carried out in 2015, 63.2% of people are Catholic, 25% are Protestant, 1.3% are Adventists, 1.4% are Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.6% are Mormon, 0.4% are Buddhist, 0.1% are Jewish, and the remaining 8% claim no faith. The constitution allows for freedom of religion with a few stipulations, but Panama is generally considered a religiously tolerant nation.
The services sector, including banking, commerce, and tourism, accounts for 80% of the GDP in Panama. Main industries in Panama include the manufacturing of various goods like textiles, adhesives, airplane parts, and cement. Agricultural exports from Panama include bananas. shrimp. coffee, sugar, and cotton. Taxation in Panama only applies to income gained within Panama's borders, so technically a person from Panama could find a way to earn income in another country without being taxed for it.
Panama Population History
The land known as Panama was originally inhabited by the Cuna, Choco, and Guaymi indigenous people before the Spanish began to settle the area in the early 1500s. Panama became independent of Spain in 1821, joining the confederacy of Gran Colombia along with Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. France attempts to build the Panama Canal, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the 1880s, but was unsuccessful due to unforeseen costs and the deaths of more than 20,000 people working on it.
Panama gained its full independence in 1903 and completed the canal on its own in 1914. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United States accused the leadership in Panama of being involved in drug smuggling, eventually invading the country and replacing Manual Noriega with Guillermo Endara.