City Founded By Pedrarias Davila On August 15, 1519
from The Panama
American, August 15, 1939
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
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
The city survived several
disastrous fires, but finally was destroyed by a band of pirates under Sir Henry Morgan in
Presented by CZBrats
December 7, 1998