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Geography And Culture Of Panama Cultural Studies Essay

Full state name: Republic of Panama

Area: 78,000 sq kilometer ( 30,420 sq myocardial infarction )

Population: 2,611,000 ( growing rate 2 % )

Capital metropolis: Panama City ( pop 610,000 )

Peoples: 62 % ladino, 14 % African descent, 10 % Spanish descent, 5 % mulatto, 5 % Indian

Language: Spanish, English and Indian linguistic communications

Religion: 84 % Roman Catholic, 5 % Protestant, 5 % Islamic

Government: Democracy

President: Mireya Moscoso ( hypertext transfer protocol: // )

Location and Geography. The state is a natural land span linking the South American continent with Central America. The isthmus runs east-west in the signifier of an upside-down “ S.

” Low mountains run through most of the state, go forthing a spread in the Centre that is about at sea degree. The Pacific coastline, with the Azuero Peninsula stick outing south to specify the Gulf of Panama, is longer than the Atlantic coastline. The country of the state is 25,590 square stat mis ( 74,046 square kilometers ) .

Demography. In 2000, Panama had about 2.816 million dwellers, 700,000 of whom lived in Panama City, with another 300,000 in the immediate suburbs. The urban elite is chiefly Creole, largely of Spanish descent.

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There are besides populations of Spanish, Italian, Grecian, and Judaic beginnings. There is a long clip Chinese community, and a little Hindu community lives in the capital, Panama City. The largest demographic group is the interioranos ( “ interior people ” ) , who are classified as “ Hispano-Indians. ” This group is mostly mestizo ( assorted European and native American ) , and its members consider themselves the “ existent Panamanians. ” Some interioranos class unnoticeably into an acculturated native American population known pejoratively as cholos, who refer to themselves as naturales ( “ indigens ” ) . Together, these two groups constitute 70 per centum of the population.

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There are four officially recognized Indian cultural groups ( the Kuna, Guaymi or Ngawbe, Embera, and Waunan ) , which figure fewer than 200,000. Peoples of African descent history for 15 per centum of the population. These “ Afro-colonials ” descend from slaves who were imported in colonial times. They speak Spanish and are Roman Catholic. The “ Afro-Antillean ” group descends from Caribbean occupants who came to work on the building of the Panama canal. They speak English, Gallic, or an English slang at place and are largely Protestant.

Linguistic Affiliation. The official linguistic communication is Spanish, but English is used widely in concern, particularly banking and touristry, and by some people of African descent.

Symbolism. Some coins bear the image of Urraca, an Indian head who resisted the Spanish conquerings, but most coins depict Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the inventor of the Pacific Ocean.

Food in Daily Life. Unlike other Spanish settlements, Panama ‘s subsistence agribusiness ne’er depended on maize. Game and angle were ever beginnings of protein, and maize is eaten chiefly in the signifier of thick bars called arepas and maize gruel. The Kuna joint bananas and boil them in a soup dish that consists of H2O squeezed through grated coconut meat, fish, and poultry or a game meat. This dish resembles the sancocho eaten by many non-Indian Panamanians-a soup of domestic fowl or meat cooked with root veggies and maize. All the towns and metropoliss have Chinese eating houses, a bequest of the Chinese who came to work on the railway in the 1850s.

Food Customss at Ceremonial Occasions. Upper category households are likely to function fresh seafood at nuptialss, baptisms, and other jubilations. Their cookery manner tends to be Continental. Interioranos, in contrast, value beef. Their traditional Sunday repast is tasajo, smoke-cured and cured beef with the spirit of jambon.

Basic Economy. Before 1502 the native populations practiced slash-and-burn agribusiness, turning a assortment of root harvests. When the urban elect bought rural belongings, they turned to cattle raising and exported the meat and fells. Livestock production is still an of import economic activity, even on really little landholdings, and parts of the rain wood have been converted into grazing land. The naturales and Indian groups still pattern slash-and-burn agribusiness and make non raise cowss. Afro-colonials engage in coastal gardening and fishing, as do the Kuna. The unit of currency is the balboa, which is pegged to the United States dollar.

Trade. The economic system relies on theodolite, transhipping, and banking to gain foreign currency. Panama exports java, bananas, beef, and tropical hardwoods. As a major international transshipping Centre, all types of the universe ‘s industrial goods pass through Panama, which keeps or imports electronics, cars, and a broad assortment of luxury goods. Panama besides imports crude oil, as it has no oil Fieldss.

Classs and Castes. The urban Creole upper category, known as the rabiblancos ( “ white butts ” ) , mingles socially with Americans, Spaniards, Italians, and the oldest section of the Jewish community, the Sephardic Jews, who came to the state in the 1890s. Comfortable merchandisers in the little Hindu community worship at a outstanding brow temple. The Chinese community includes a few affluent commercial households, members of the professions, a in-between category of tradesmans, and a few really hapless recent immigrants. It is perceived as massive. Peoples from the interiorano community, other ladino, and some inkinesss have besides risen to wealth and prominence through the professions, authorities, and concern and services. These people do non intermarry with the old elite. The big urban center categories consist of interioranos, ladino, inkinesss, and educated Indians, particularly Kunas.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Class division is non stiff, and the elite is non resented. It is closely linked to the symbols of the democracy through its descent from celebrated ascendants and the establishing male parents of independency from Spain and Colombia, many of whom have streets named after them.

Government. The democracy is a constitutional democracy. Panama inherited from Colombia a binary system of progressives versus conservativists, both of which agreed on resistance to the presence of the United States in the Canal Zone.

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Marriage. Although Guaymi Indian leaders may hold more than one married woman, other Panamanians marry merely one partner at a clip. Divorce is permitted under broad footings by the Civil Code. Couples of African descent on the Atlantic seashore tend to populate together without get marrieding. These brotherhoods often dissolve as work forces and adult females may happen new spouses during the hebdomadal pre-carnival Congo dances.

Domestic Unit. The ideal household unit for most Panamanians is the atomic household of a married twosome and their kids. The Kuna Indians, nevertheless, prefer to hold new hubbies go to populate with their brides in the latter ‘s house. These so become drawn-out households around a grandma, her hubby, and her married girls and their hubbies.

Inheritance. Kuna Indians inherit their houses from their female parents. All other belongings is inherited every bit among all inheritors from both parents. In the remainder of Panama the Civil Code provides for a similar system. In the absence of a will, a asleep widowed adult male ‘s belongings goes every bit to all his kids, male or female.

Kin Groups. Kindreds, webs of related atomic households, are really of import to the urban elites. Upper category individuals are likely to give parties, for illustration,

Child Rearing and Education. The educational system is effectual through the primary school degree. Official literacy rates are every bit high as 90 per centum, and an premise of literacy prevails in day-to-day interactions in the metropoliss.

Higher Education. The University of Panama is state-supported and has a long history. The Catholic University of Santa Maria la Antigua is its major rival.


Panamanians are formal in traffics with aliens. There is a lower limit of recognizing behavior in public, and manners tend to be stiff and non courtly. Once included in household and friendly relationship groupings, a alien can be incorporated into a party-going web rapidly. Dress tends to be formal despite the tropical clime.


Religious Beliefs. Panama is 85 per centum Roman Catholic. Traditional beliefs and patterns have been maintained among the native American groups despite a history of missionization.

Rituals and Holy Places. The most of import rite is Carnaval. The capital closes down the five yearss before Ash Wednesday, and a immature queen chosen by charitable organisations presides. A viing “ more reliable ” jubilation takes topographic point in Las Tablas in the inside. Coastal inkinesss celebrate the Congo, which starts in January and besides is presided over by a queen in each community. Its male and female dance groups perform each weekend. The colonial port metropolis of Potrobelo on the Atlantic seashore is the site of a shrine to an icon of the Black


Panama celebrates two independency yearss, on 3 November from Colombia and on 28 November from Spain. Celebrations tend to be subdued, nevertheless, although school kids parade in most vicinities. New Year ‘s Eve and New Year ‘s Day are occasions of much gaiety, with kids firing images of Father Time at midnight in many countries. Larger towns in the cardinal states hold rodeos for cowpunchers about every Sunday.

The isthmus of Panama is the umbilical cord fall ining South and Central America. It borders Costa Rica to the West and Colombia to the E. Panama ‘s arched form reflects both its function as a span between continents and as a passageway between oceans. At its narrowest point, it is merely 50km ( 30mi ) broad, but it has a 1160km ( 720mi ) Caribbean coastline on its northern shore and a 1690km ( 1048mi ) Pacific seashore to the South. The celebrated canal is 80km ( 50mi ) long and efficaciously divides the state into eastern and western parts.

There are 100s of islands near the Panamanian seashores. The two major archipelagos are the San Blas and Bocas del Toro ironss in the Caribbean Sea, though the best snorkelling, plunging and deep-sea fishing are to be found in the Pacific near Coiba Island and the Pearl Islands. Panama has level coastal Lowlandss and two mountain ironss running along its spinal column. The highest extremum is Volcan Baru at 3475m ( 11,400ft ) .

Rain forests dominate the canal zone, the north-western part of the state and much of the eastern half. Although Costa Rica is widely known for its antic wildlife, Panama has, in fact, a greater figure of vegetations and fauna species, more land set aside for saving, and far fewer people rolling through the jungle looking for wildlife and unwittingly frightening it off. There ‘s much truth in the Panamanian stating that in Costa Rica 20 tourers try to see one resplendent quetzal, while in Panama one individual tries to see 20 of these keen birds.

Panama has two seasons. The dry season stopping points from January to mid-April and the rainy season from mid-April to December. Rainfall is heavier on the Caribbean side of the Highlandss, though most people live on or near the Pacific seashore. Temperatures are typically hot in the Lowlandss ( between 21A°C and 32A°C/70A°F and 90A°F ) and cool in the mountains ( between 10-18A°C/50-64A°F ) . These vary little throughout the twelvemonth.

Economic Profile

GDP: US $ 8 billion

GDP per caput: US $ 2400

Inflation: 1.5 %

Major industries: Banking, transportation and agribusiness

Major merchandising spouses: USA, Germany, Costa Rica


Panama ‘s humanistic disciplines reflect its cultural mix. Indian folk, West Indian groups, ladino, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Swiss, Yugoslav and North American immigrants have all offer contributed ingredients to the cultural fret. Traditional humanistic disciplines include woodcarving, weaving, ceramics and mask-making.

Spanish is the official linguistic communication, though US influence and the international nature of the canal zone reinforce the usage of English as a 2nd linguistic communication. West Indian immigrants besides speak Caribbean-accented English. Indian folks have retained their ain linguistic communications. Panama is preponderantly Roman Catholic, but there are ample Muslim and Protestant minorities and little Numberss of Hindus and Jews.


Panama City

The capital of Panama is a modern, booming commercial Centre stretching 10km ( 6mi ) along the Pacific seashore from the ruins of Panama Viejo in the E to the border of the Panama Canal in the West. The old territory of San Felipe ( besides known as Casco Viejo ) juts into the sea on the south-western side of town. It ‘s an country of disintegrating colonial magnificence, dramatic architecture, skining pigment and decrepit balconies. Attractions include the 17th-century Metropolitan Church, the Interoceanic Canal Museum of Panama, the Plaza de Bolivar, the presidential castle, the History Museum of Panama and the sea wall built by the Spaniards four centuries ago. Via Espana ‘s banking territory is the complete antonym to this yesteryear appeal, with sharply modern edifices and sophisticated amusements.

Attractions on the peripheries of the metropolis include the Panama Canal, the 16th-century ruins of Panama Viejo, the Summit Botanical Gardens and Zoo, the tropical rain forest of the Sobrerania National Park and the 265-hectare ( 655-acre ) Parque Nacional Metropolitana.

Panama Canal

The Canal is both an technology wonder and one of the most important waterways on Earth. Stretching 80km ( 50mi ) from Panama City on the Pacific seashore to Colon on the Atlantic side, it provides transition for over 12,000 ocean-going vass per twelvemonth. Sing a immense ship nudge its manner through the narrow canal, with huge paths of virgin jungle on both sides, is an unforgettable sight. The easiest and best manner to see the Canal is to travel to the Miraflores Locks, on the northeasterly periphery of Panama City, where a platform offers visitants a good position of the locks in operation. There ‘s besides a museum with a theoretical account and a movie about the Canal. Boats leave Balboa, a western suburb of Panama City, for a five-hour circuit through the locks to Miraflores Lake.

Isla Taboga

This charming and historical island, 20km ( 12mi ) South of Panama City, has an attractive beach, some lovely protected rain forest, and is place to one of the largest settlements of Brown Pelicans in Latin America. Known as the Island of Flowers, because at certain times of the twelvemonth it is filled with the olfactory property of odoriferous blooms, the island is a favorite retreat from the metropolis. Taboga has a long history and was settled even before Panama City. There is a little church here, claimed to be 2nd oldest in the Western Hemisphere, and Pizarro set canvas from here for Peru in 1524. The island ‘s one-year festival is on 16 July, and involves maritime emanations and jubilations. Taboga is a one-hour boat trip from Balboa.


The beginnings of reggaeton Begin with the first reggae recordings being made in Panama during the late seventiess. Reportedly, the Jamaican influence on Panamanian music has been strong since the early twentieth century when Jamaican laborers were used to assist construct the Panama Canal ( hypertext transfer protocol: // ) It was common pattern to interpret the wordss of Jamaican reggae vocal into Spanish and sing them over the original tunes, a signifier termed “ Spanish reggae ” or “ Reggae en espanol. ” . Spanish Reggae developed as a consequence of Jamaican in-migration to Panama as a consequence of the Panama Canal. Eventually, many of these Jamaicans had purposes to travel back to Jamaica, but many of them ended up remaining, and finally assimilated and became portion of the civilization.

Overview of Panama and Jamaica



Part of the Caribbean

Panamais a Central Americancountry

Surrounded by Caribbean Sea

Atlantic Ocean on one side, Pacific Ocean on another side

1 island

800 islands and 2 oceans

Columbus landed in Jamaica 1492

Columbus landed in Panama 1502

Henry Morgan – lived in Port Royal

Henry Morgan plundered & A ; about destroyed P/City but missed huge gold communion table because it was painted black

324 species of birds – 28 are endemic, 15 have been introducedby worlds, and 160 are rare

850 species of birds

Blue mountain – 7,000 foot

Mountains over 11,000 pess

Indians – Tainos

Embera Peoples

Famous for Reggae, dancehall genre in music

Multicultural and international ethnicity, hence celebrated for Salsa, Merengue, bachata, Pop, Rock en Espanol, US hits, tipico folkloric music, reggae, reggaeton, cumbia, vallenato, obeche, wind, and classical music are all widely listened to by the population.

The Panamanian flag became official on July 4, 1904, after independency from Colombia was won through the intercession of the United States, which was determined to build the Panama Canal. The flag was influenced by the United States, and its quartered design was said to typify the power sharing of Panama ‘s two chief political parties.

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Geography And Culture Of Panama Cultural Studies Essay. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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