Panama City

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
City of Panama
Çittæ do Panamá
Flag of Genoese Panama.png
Locator GenoesePanama.pngLocation of Panama
Government TypeRepublic
LanguagesGenoese (official)
CurrencyGenoese lira (GNL)
Colombian peso (COP)

Panama (Genoese: Panamá), officially the City of Panama (Genoese: Çittæ do Panamá) is an overseas territory of the Genoese Republic located on the Isthmus of Darien. It is also referred to by the sobriquet Panamá Paciffico.

The colony was established in 1519 by the Spanish empire and Genoese bankers. In 1757, the city was formally transferred to Genoese control after the Silesian War. The Panama Canal was opened in 1899, transforming the city's economy and demographics. Today, the city is known for its towering skyscrapers, casinos, corruption scandals, and cosmopolitan culture.


Early colonial history (1519-1669)

The settlement of Panamá was originally established by the Spanish in 1519 on the Pacific Coast. Although administered by the Spanish, Genoese merchants were able to dominate the trade in the city, due to generous concessions made by the Spaniards (who had the Genoese Republic as an ally and their main banking base). Between 1586 and 1587, there were eleven Genoese in Panama. According to a census around 1587, Panama City had 548 inhabitants (some of them descendants of the first Genoese settlers), of whom 53 were foreigners and of these 18 were Genoese.

Treaty of Madrid (1669)

During the Anglo-Spanish War, various Spanish cities in the Caribbean and in the Americas were raided by English privateers, most notoriously Henry Morgan of Jamaica. Queen Henrietta of England, coronated in 1660, managed to sign a peace treaty with the Spanish in 1669 due to mutual concern over French expansion. This diplomacy was heavily supported by Genoese merchants and bankers, who viewed the efficiency as having prevented devastating attacks on the Genoese presence in New Spain.

Continued favourable relations between Spain and Genoa allowed the Genoese community in Panama to be granted multiple trade charters in the city throughout the next century.

Treaty of San Reumo (1757)

In 1757, the city was officially transferred to Genoa through the Treaty of San Reumo. This was a Spanish gesture of goodwill in return for Genoa's immense financial aid to Spain during the Great Silesian War.

Although this treaty had confirmed the Genoese ownership of the city, Genoese merchants already had de facto control over trade and local politics in Panama. The same year, Austria had granted Genoa the island of Saint George. A portion of Saint George's profits from its sugarcane plantations went to the development, expansion, and further fortification of the City of Panama.

Canâle do Panamá

Genoa is one of the three main shareholders and architects of the modern-day Panama Canal Commission, along with Mexico and Colombia. During the mid-19th century, the governments of Colombia, Mexico, and Genoa created plans in order to construct a canal together. Incentives for the canal included:
  • Embargoes placed on the region by Amerikaener countries, most notably New Netherland and Boschland
  • Competition with the Boschland Canal Commission
  • The long-established vision of a shorter route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Genoa provided most of the financial support and contributed several engineers. Technicians came from France, Mexico, and the Ottoman Empire. Laborers were imported from China, Japan, Palissandria, and other nations.
Modern logo of the Panama Canal Commission
Completion of the Canal

At the same time, the Amerikaener countries were building a separate canal in Boschland. Despite this challenge, the Panama Canal was completed a few months before the Boschland Canal was. Both canals became open to the public in the year of 1899, and became economically established by 1901.


Pre-Canal economy (1757-1899)

For most of its existence, Panama was not considered to be self-sufficient and was economically dependent on Saint George, Palissandria, colonial Colombia, and Europe. However, it had multiple streams of profit:

  • The Bank of St. George, based in the European continent, was the largest institution in the city and dominated the region's finance.
  • Panama had been linked to the Genoese slave trade and was one of the centres of the New Spain slave trade in the 16th century. However, after Genoa had acquired Saint George Island in 1757, the slave trade steadily declined up until the Republic of Genoa's abolition of slavery in the 19th century.
  • It was a major refuge for European buccaneers and financial criminals.
  • In the late 18th century, the guano trade became prominent in Panama, Peru, and neighbouring areas.
  • It was a major player in the shipping and cargo sector, engaging in shipping as far away as the Philippines.

Post-Canal economy (1899-)

Throughout the 20th century, the city had seen rejuvenation in its commerce, banking, and shipping sectors. It became the de facto epicentre of commerce in central America by the mid-20th century. The city also has the highest number of casinos per capita in Central America.


Historically, the majority of Panamanians were of African descent and were ruled over by a minority Genoese and Hispanic population, who consisted around one-fourth of the population. In the 19th and 20th centuries, immigration from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Genoa itself transformed the area.

Retirees from Europe and northern America have also immigrated to Panama, buying up seafront properties. In summer, over 20% of seasonal residents in Panama can be classified as millionaires and the ultra-rich. Much of Panama's African population has ultimately been forced to emigrate to other countries, leading to Genoa, New Amsterdam, and Saint-Domingue having substantial Afro-Panamanian communities.

See also