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Panama - History



Panama - History
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.31

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bankruptcy, infrastructure, dictator, greatly, riches, leadership, politics, odds, dispute, independence, treaty, achievement, refused, particularly, agreement, waterway
     content words:    Central American, South Americans, South America, United States, On November, Manuel Noriega, General Noriega


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Panama - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Panama's history is tied to its unusual geography; the size, shape, and location of this Central American country has defined much of what's happened in Panama over the years. For native Central and South Americans, Panama was the doorway between the two, and to European explorers, it was a home base of operations. Much later, it would be the home of a very special waterway.
 
2     For many years, the only inhabitants of the land of Panama were the Cuevas and Cocle. That is, until some visitors from the east arrived in the 16th century. These visitors were explorers from Spain that brought with them diseases for which the natives weren't prepared. The explorers also killed many natives, so the population of the Cuevas and Cocle suffered greatly.
 
3     The Spanish set up a colony in Panama and called it Nombre de Dios. This colony was on the eastern side of Panama, on the Caribbean coast. Later, the Spanish would set up another colony on the western side, on the Pacific coast. From this colony, the Spanish would lead a number of explorations into South America, particularly Peru. The Spanish would find an abundance of riches on these explorations, and would need to get it back to Spain. To do this, they would move the goods through Panama from west to east. With all those riches moving through Panama, the country became a popular place for pirates and thieves. Before long, the Spanish gave up trying to move their gold and silver through Panama. Instead, they would sail all the way around the southern tip of South America (many thousands of kilometers) just to avoid traveling through Panama!

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