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Panama       Panama is a Spanish speaking country located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, and between Colombia and Costa Rica. Panama was explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century. Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia.      With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and signed a treaty with the US allowing for the construction of a canal and US sovereignty over a strip of land on either side of the structure (the Panama Canal Zone). The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century.     Certain portions of the Zone and increasing responsibility over the Canal were turned over in the subsequent decades. With US help, dictator Manuel NORIEGA was deposed in 1989. The entire Panama Canal, the area supporting the Canal, and remaining US military bases were transferred to Panama by the end of 1999. An ambitious expansion project to more than double the Canal’s capacity – by allowing for more Canal transits and larger ships – was carried out between 2007 and 2016. The population of Panama is 3,753,142. If you are from Panama you are Panamanian. These are the different ethnic groups in Panama “mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Native American 12.3% (Ngabe 7.6%, Kuna 2.4%, Embera 0.9%, Bugle 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.2%), black or African descent 9.2%, mulatto 6.8%, white 6.7% (2010 est.)”. There main language is Spanish.The religious beliefs in Panama are about 85% Roman Catholic, and about 15% Protestant. The actual name of the country is the republic of Panama. Independence Day or Separation Day is , November 3rd.     They gained their independence November 3 1903. The national colors are blue white and red. The national anthem is Himno Istmeno. They have no regular military forces; except Panamanian Public Security Forces (subordinate to the Ministry of Public Security), comprising the National Police (PNP), National Air-Naval Service (SENAN), and National Border Service (SENAFRONT).     Typical Panamanian foods are mildly flavored, without the pungency of some of Panama’s Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. Common ingredients are maize, rice, wheat flour, plantains, yuca (cassava), beef, chicken, pork and seafood. Sancocho or Sancocho de gallina is the national dish of Panama and it originates from the Azuero peninsula. It is the most typical dish in Panama. Sancocho is a chicken soup with ingredients like “ñame”, Yuca and Culandro. Sancocho is usually combined with rice. Panamanian cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and Native American techniques, dishes, and ingredients, reflecting its diverse population.

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