Old City Founded By Pedrarias Davila On August 15, 1519
from The Panama American, August 15, 1939
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The anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal to inter-oceanic traffic on August 15, 1914 is also the anniversary of the founding of Old Panama, on August 15, 1519.

Panama was a fishing village on the coast of what was then called the South Sea. Six years after Balboa discovered the ocean, Pedrarias Davila, governor of Panama decided to locate his capital city on the site of the Indian village.

On August 15, 1519, 420 years ago today and 395 years before the opening of the Panama Canal, Gaspar de Espinosa, chief alcalde of Darien, acting under the orders of Pedrarias, formally established the new city.

On the day of the founding Pedrarias issued a proclamation promising to defend the capital for Dona Juana, the Queen, and Don Carlos, her son.

It was two years after the founding of the city, however, that Don Carlos, by that time Charles V of Spain, created the city by royal decree and recognized it as the site of the Spanish government in the province of Panama.

The city of Panama grew rapidly from the moment of its establishment, maintaining its position as chief post of the Pacific and terminus of the first transit route across the Isthmus. Through it passed all the great output of gold and silver from the rich mines of Peru and the mines in the province of Veraguas, as well as the products from the pearl fisheries in the Bay of Panama.

The city survived several disastrous fires, but finally was destroyed by a band of pirates under Sir Henry Morgan in 1671.


Presented by CZBrats
December 7, 1998
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