Know about our beautiful country
The Republic of Panama, situated on the Isthmus of Panama, has an area of 78,200 sq. km (30,193 sq. mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Panama is slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina. The Canal Zone (1,432 sq. km/553 sq. mi), over which the United States formerly exercised sovereignty, on 1 October 1979 was incorporated into Panama, with the United States retaining responsibility for operation of the Panama Canal and the use of land in the zone for maintenance of the canal until the year 2000.
Panama extends 772 km (480 mi) e–w and 185 km (115 mi) n–s. Bordered on then by the Caribbean Sea, on the e by Colombia, on the s by the Pacific Ocean, and on the w by Costa Rica, Panama has a total boundary length of 555 km (345 mi), of which 2,490 km (1,547 mi) is coastline.
Panama's capital city, Panama City, is located where the Panama Canal meets the Gulf of Panama.
Panama is tropical, but temperatures vary according to location and altitude. The annual average temperature on both coasts is 29°c (81°f), and it ranges from 10° to 19°c (50 to 66°f) at various mountain elevations. There is little seasonal change in temperature, with warm days and cool nights throughout the year. Humidity is quite high, however, averaging 80%. Rainfall averages 178 cm (70 in) in Panama City and 328 cm (129 in) in Colón. The period of lightest rainfall (dry season) is from January to March.
The Isthmus of Panama was formed about three million years ago when the land bridge between North and South America finally closed and plants and animals gradually crossed it in both directions. The existence of the isthmus affected the dispersal of people, agriculture and technology throughout the American continent from the appearance of the first hunters and collectors to the era of villages and cities.
The earliest discovered artifacts of indigenous peoples in Panama include Paleo-Indians projectile points. Later central Panama was home to some of the first pottery-making in the Americas, for example the cultures at Monagrillo, which date back to 2500–1700 BC. These evolved into significant populations best known through their spectacular burials (dating to c. 500–900 AD) at the Monagrillo archaeological site, and their beautiful Gran Coclé style polychrome pottery. The monumental monolithic sculptures at the Barriles (Chiriqui) site are also important traces of these ancient isthmian cultures.