Panama, formally known as the Republic of Panama (Spanish: Repblica de Panamá), is a nation in North America or Central America. It is bounded on the west by Costa Rica, on the southeast by Colombia (in South America), on the north by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. Panama City is the capital and biggest city, with a metropolitan region that is home to almost half of the country’s 3.9 million residents.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama was inhabited by numerous indigenous tribes. Panama seceded from Spain in 1821 and formed the Republic of Gran Colombia with Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela. When Gran Colombia was dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada stayed together to become the Republic of Colombia. Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 with the support of the United States, enabling the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct the Panama Canal between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was reached that would see the Canal completely transferred from the United States to Panama by the end of the twentieth century, which occurred on 31 December 1999.
Canal toll revenue continues to account for a sizable part of Panama’s GDP, despite the fact that trade, finance, and tourism are all important and expanding industries. Panama was rated 60th in the world on the Human Development Index in 2015. Panama has ranked second in Latin America’s competitiveness rankings since 2010, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Panama’s jungles, which cover about 40% of the country’s geographical area, are home to a variety of tropical flora and animals, some of which are found nowhere else on the globe.