Latin American Urbanization: Historical Profiles of Major Cities

By Gerald Michael Greenfield | Go to book overview

17 PANAMA

Raúl Leis Translated by Gerald Michael Greenfield


INTRODUCTION

Panama, one of the seven nations that make up Central America, forms the narrowest portion of the Isthmus of Central America and has an area of 77,082 square kilometers (including the Canal Zone). Bounded to the north by the Caribbean Sea (also called the Antilles Sea), to the east by the South American nation of Colombia, to the west by Costa Rica, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean, Panama forms a natural bridge between Central and South America, while enjoying access through the canal to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Because of all these characteristics, it always has been said that Panama's principal resource is its geographic position.

A portion of the country is mountainous, particularly the Cordillera Central, topped by the inactive Baru volcano at 3475 meters. Other high peaks include the Fábrega at 3335 meters and the Itamut at 3279. The nation's long coastline totals 2857 kilometers, more than half of which lies along the Pacific coast. It has many rivers, the most important of which are along Panama's Atlantic portion and include the Changuinola, with a length of 140 kilometers, the Indio (99 kilometers), and the Chagres (92 kilometers). Major Pacific rivers are the Bayano (280 kilometers) and the Chucunaque (242 kilometers). Typically, tropical climate and vegetation mark Panama's lowlands, as do two defined seasons: a dry season, from December to April, and a rainy season, with abundant precipitation, from May through November.

The lands bordering the Pacific, which are areas of savannas and hills, house the majority of the nation's population. The cities of David, Santiago, Penonomé, and Chitre, all small provincial capitals linked to the nation's agriculture and livestock sector, are located there. On the Atlantic, the most important city is Colón, the terminal point of the Panama Canal. With a population of scarcely 60,000, it is Panama's second largest city.

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Latin American Urbanization: Historical Profiles of Major Cities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1: ARGENTINA 1
  • Introduction 1
  • Bibliography 37
  • 2: BOLIVIA 39
  • Introduction 39
  • Notes 60
  • References 60
  • 3: BRAZIL 62
  • Introduction 62
  • Note 104
  • References 104
  • 4: CHILE 106
  • Introduction 106
  • Notes 131
  • References 131
  • 5 - COLOMBIA 134
  • Introduction 134
  • Note 157
  • References 157
  • 6: COSTA RICA 159
  • Introduction 159
  • Note 171
  • References 171
  • 7: CUBA 173
  • Introduction 173
  • References 186
  • 8: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 188
  • Introduction 188
  • Note 213
  • Bibliography 214
  • 9: ECUADOR 215
  • Introduction 215
  • References 249
  • 10: EL SALVADOR 252
  • Introduction 252
  • Notes 270
  • References 270
  • 11: GUATEMALA 273
  • Introduction 273
  • Notes 290
  • References 291
  • 12: HAITI 294
  • Introduction 294
  • Note 311
  • References 311
  • 13: HONDURAS 313
  • Introduction 313
  • References 328
  • 14: JAMAICA 331
  • Introduction 331
  • References 347
  • 15: MEXICO 350
  • Introduction 350
  • References 391
  • 16: NICARAGUA 396
  • Introduction 396
  • References 414
  • 17: PANAMA 416
  • Introduction 416
  • Note 425
  • Bibliography 425
  • 18 - PARAGUAY 427
  • Introduction 427
  • Bibliography 444
  • 19: PERU 446
  • Introduction 446
  • Note 466
  • References 466
  • 20: URUGUAY 468
  • Introduction 468
  • Bibliography 484
  • 21: VENEZUELA 486
  • Introduction 486
  • Note 508
  • References 508
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 511
  • Index 517
  • ABOUT THE EDITOR AND CONTRIBUTORS 533
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