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    Panama (Republic of Panama)  
Location
The República de Panamá (Republic of Panama) is situated on the isthmus connecting North America and South America. Also known as simply Panama. Borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, Costa Rica to the northwest, Gulf of Panama and the Pacific Ocean to the south and Colombia to the southeast. The national capital is Panama City.

In 1821 Panama gained independence from Spain but immediately joined Colombia as a department (province). Almost immediately, domestically separatist began pushing for independence and to secede. Between 1899–1902 and fought the Thousand Days' War with Colombia. In 1903 Panama separated from Columbia with United States support and encouragement. Between 1904–1914 the United States under the Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC), completed the Panama Canal and was given control of the Panama Canal Zone (CZ).


Prewar and during World War II, Panama was part of the "Canal Zone". Also known as "C. Z." or simply "CZ". Today,

World War I
On October 14, 1914 USS Jupiter AC-3 was the first vessel to transit the Panama Canal transiting from west to east. The Panama Canal was an important asset during World War I.

Prewar
During the inter war years, the defense of the Canal Zone (C.Z.) was the largest deployment of American troops overseas until the start of the Pacific War. Their primary mission was to protect the Panama Canal and American interests in the region. The Panama Canal was an important strategic assets allowing ships to cross from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and vice versa. The U. S. developed layers of defenses including coastal gun fortifications and airfields for aircraft to patrol the sea and air space.

Wartime History
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the simultaneous attacks on the Philippines on December 8, 1941 the newly established Caribbean Defense Command carried out its mission of Canal defense through a widespread net of naval and air reconnaissance, with the greatest threat coming from German U-boats.

On May 18, 1942 the United States and Panama sign an agreement concerning the use of Panama defense areas by U. S. forces. By April 1943, the threat to the Canal was diminishing, defense status was downgraded, and a reduction in troop strength began.

Postwar
The Torrijos-Carter Treaties set in motion the process of handing the Panama Canal over to Panamanian control, was signed by U. S. President Carter and President of Panama Torrijos on September 7, 1977.

Military officer Manuel Noriega promoted himself to General and became de facto ruler of the government. Beginning in 1986, U. S. President Ronald Reagan negotiated with General Noriega, requesting that the Panamanian leader peacefully step down after Noriega was publicly exposed in a New York Times article during the Iran-Contra Scandal but he declined. Instead, Reagan ordered the U. S. military forces intervened in December 1989 in a brief military conflict until General Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990.

Panama Provinces
Bocas del Toro Provinces (Provincia Bocas del Toro)  located at the northwest of Panama capital Bocas del Toro.
Chiriquí Province (Provincia Chiriquí)  located at the southwest of Panama capital David.
Coclé Province (Provincia de Coclé)  located on the south central cost capital Penonomé.
Colón Province (Provincia Colón)  located on the north coast of Panama capital Colón.
Darién Province (Provincia Darién)  located on the eastern end of Panama capital La Palma.
Herrera Province (Provincia Herrera)  located on the southern coast of Panama capital Chitré.
Los Santos Province (Provincia Los Santos)  located on the southern tip of Panama capital Las Tablas.
Panamá Province (Provincia Panamá)  located at the center southern side includes the capital Panama City.
Panamá Oeste Province (Provincia Panamá Oeste)  located at the center southern side capital La Chorrera.
Veraguas Province (Provincia Veraguas)  located at the eastern side capital Santiago de Veraguas.

Panama Canal (Canal de Panamá)
Prewar and during World War II, the Panama Canal was considered part of the "Canal Zone". It was a strategic assets allowing ships to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Anton Field (Anton Army Airfield)
Wartime airfield

David Field (San Jose Field, Enrique Malek Airport)
Located in western Panama, Built by the US Army and still in use today

France Field (Coco Walk, Colon, Enrique Adolfo Jiménez Airport)
Located on the eastern coast of Panama, still in use today

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Last Updated
December 21, 2019

 

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