This thread, started by Renaerules, is designed to share the history and culture of Spanish-speaking countries through picture. Since she had to leave us for a while she asked if I would carry it on for her. I agreed with the understanding that I could in no way match the style and frequency of her posts. So that being said I wish her the best and start off with the Central American country of Panama.
Each person should include a description of the photo they provide and since this thread is not an excersise I think it would be suitable to post in either Spanish or English and let the readers feel free to make corrections in the comment section.
I chose Panama because other than Mexico it is the only Spanish speaking country I have visited, however, long before my wife and I were the Spanish. Up until the 16th century the indigenous tribes were the Cuevas and the Cocole Indians who were, as many other cultures, wiped out by the new diseases of the old world. In 1513 Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the jungle from the Atlantic to the Pacific proving to the world, the existance of a short route between the two oceans across the Isthmus of Panama. This would be know as the "Camino real", the most important trade route of the time saving months of travel around the horn of South America. So important that it became a pirate haven in the 1700s along the Caribbean coast side. In 1821 the region gained its independence from Spain and belonged to Colombia. In the 1880s Columbia signed agreements with France to build a canal. After years of Yellow fever and 22,000 deaths the idea was halted. In 1903 Panama gained its independence from Colombia and in a treaty with the United States, granted it the rights to the canal zone. In 1914 the canal was completed. Because of the migrant workers involved with its construction, Panama today is made up of a wide variety of nationalities. While English is widely used in the canal zone I recommend anyone traveling outside should spend some time here on SpanishDict. There are more than a half dozen indigenous tribes of Panama which include the Kuna from the San Blas Islands in the Caribbean and the Embera tribe of the Darien region about an hour from Panama City. The Embera village we visited was truly a cultural shock being so close to such a large metropolitan area. Note the body painting.This is a sort of temporary tattoo commonly used by them and is made from jagua, a local fruit. The Embera were some of the most gracious people I have ever met and a tour to one of the villages is a must for any traveler.