When Panama was colonized, the indigenous peoples fled into the forest and nearby islands.
Scholars believe that infectious disease was the primary cause of the population decline of American natives.
Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century.
When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia. In 1977 an agreement was signed for the total transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on 31 December 1999.
With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U. Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors.
This is the official definition given in social studies textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education in Panama.
However, others believe the word Panama comes from the Kuna word "bannaba" which means "distant" or "far away".
The best-known version is that a fishing village and its nearby beach bore the name "Panamá", which meant "an abundance of fish".
Captain Antonio Tello de Guzmán, while exploring the Pacific side in 1515, stopped in the small indigenous fishing town.The Isthmus of Panama was formed about three million years ago when the land bridge between North and South America finally became complete, and plants and animals gradually crossed it in both directions.The existence of the isthmus affected the dispersal of people, agriculture and technology throughout the American continent from the appearance of the first hunters and collectors to the era of villages and cities.In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index.Since 2010, Panama remains the second most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.A year later, Christopher Columbus visited the isthmus, and established a short-lived settlement in the Darien.