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Located in the Center of the Western Hemisphere, Panama borders on the Caribbean Sea in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the south, Colombia in the east and Costa Rica in the west. Panama is the connecting link between Central and South America, with about 80 kilometers (50 miles) wide in its narrowest part. On one side, the Caribbean Sea washes its coast, and on the other side, the Pacific Ocean skirts its long, beautiful beaches. The Panama Canal, considered as the Eight Wonder of the world, allows vessels to transit from one ocean to the other. Panama's topography varies from mountains towards the Caribbean coast to small hills and vast savannas towards the Pacific side.

Panama has a year-round wonderfully pleasant tropical climate and an average temperature of 27 degrees Centigrade (or 80 degrees F.) Nights, however, are generally fresh, especially in mountainous areas. The country has two seasons: Rainy and Dry. The former lasts from May to December, and despite of the rainfall it is a rare day that the sun fails to show. During the Dry season, called "summer", the nice Trade Winds constantly blow.

Panama's population is estimated in 2,339,329, it has a density of 30.8 persons per square kilometer. Nearly 49% of the people live in the urban areas. The population of the metropolitan area of Panama City, the country's capital, is estimated in 825,300 persons.

     

One of only 4 fighters to hold 4 different world titles— lightweight (1972-79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983) and middleweight (1989-90); finally retired in 2002 at the age of 50 with a record of 104-16 (69 KOs).


 

When you talk about the most dominating closers in the history of baseball, you have to mention Rivera's name. Despite giving up the game-winning hit to Luis Gonzalez in the 2001 World Series, Rivera is still the most feared stopper in the game. He has averaged close to 44 saves over his last three seasons, including a career-high 50 in 2001.
His average ERA over that span is an astounding 2.34, and his hard, rising fastball makes him one of the best strikeout closers in the game.


 

 

Laffit Pincay, Jr. has won over 8,890 races,
making him the all time winner jockey!

 

 

Panama has a cosmopolitan capital city, incredible rainforest and some of the finest snorkeling, birding and deep-sea fishing in the world. Honoring its seven Indian tribes, its rich Spanish legacy and embracing visitors enthusiastically, Panama is a proud prosperous nation that is difficult to leave without feeling that you're in on a secret that the rest of the traveling world will one day uncover.

In May 2003, Panama will welcome the Miss Universe competition!


The opening of the waterway to world commerce on August 15, 1914, represented the realization of a heroic dream of over 400 years.The 50 miles across the isthmus were among the hardest ever won by human ingenuity. Some interesting facts: * A ship traveling from New York to San Francisco can save 7'872 miles using the Panama Canal instead of going around South America. * In the fiscal year 1994 there where 14'029 transits, which carried 170.8 million long tons of cargo and paid US $ 419.2 million in tolls. * The highest Canal toll was US $ 141,344.91 paid by the Crown Princess and the lowest toll ever paid was 36 cents by Richard Halliburton for swimming the Canal in 1928. * The average time spent in transit from port to port is approx. 8 - 10 hours. * Until Lake Mead was formed by the building of the Hoover Dam, Gatun Lake was the largest artificial body of water in the world.

 

In the early 16th century over 60 Indian tribes lived in Panama. These indians came from the Mayas of Guatemala and Mexico and from the Chibchas of Colombia. The Isthmus of Panama was discovered in 1501 by Rodrigo de Bastidas, one of the captains that accompanied Columbus us on this second voyage to America. In 1513 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa sighted the Pacific Ocean from a Darien's mountain in Panama. In 1519 Panama City was founded by Pedrarias Dávila, the Governor of Golden Castle, appointed by the King of Spain.

Panama was the spring board for the Spanish exploration and expansion in Central and South America on the Pacific coastline. The conquest of Peru and Chile by Francisco Pizzas and Diego de Almagro were organized in Panama. Both Hernando de Soto, the discover of the Mississippi River, and Sebastián de Benalcazar, the founder of Quito, Ecuador, started their journeys from Panama, too. The Davila brothers, Gil and Gonzalo, also organized their expeditions into Central America from the Isthmus of Panama. During the independence wars of the Spanish colonies, Panama voluntarily joined Colombia until 1903, when it gained independence and became the present Republic of Panama.

Panama is a country that has the best clue for an extraordinary adventure, from the era of Christopher Columbus and the conquerors to the buccaneers and pirates, from the search for gold in California to the international fairs of Portobelo and  many other events. As a result Panama is referred to as the bridge of the world and the heart of the Universe. In the year  2003 a number of activities will be held to celebrate the  Centenary of the Republic of Panama.