Panama, officially the Republic of Panama (Spanish: Repùblica de Panamà), is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital is Panama City. Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela – named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama and Nueva Granada stayed joined. Nueva Granada later became the Republic of Colombia.
With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the complete transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the century.
There are several theories about the origin of the name “Panama”. Some believe that the country was named after a commonly found species of trees. Others believe that the first settlers arrived in Panama in August, when butterflies abound, and that the name means “many butterflies” in an indigenous language.
The best known version is that a fishing village and its nearby beach bore the name “Panama”, which meant “an abundance of fish”. Captain Antonio Tello de Guzmán, while exploring the Pacific side in 1515, stopped in the small indigenous fishing town.
All said the version the rings true is that the name Panama is derived from the Kuna name for “Over the Mountain” Pan A Ma. The fishing village above was simply that; over the mountain from Kuna Yala.
- Indigenous Regions
- Kuna Yala
- Kuna de Madugandí
- Kuna de Wargandí
Kuna Yala, or San Blas as its incorrectly called, is an autonomous region in Panama inhabited by the Kuna, consisting of a strip of land a few hundred miles long running along the Caribbean coast and 365 coral reefed islands.
Kuna (People) Yala (Land) are the last islands in the Caribbean not to be overrun by foreigners, the Kuna are the last indigenous peoples to still control their lands. They still live in traditional wood and bamboo huts, fish in dugout canoes, the women wear traditional dress and only three island groups have electricity.
The Kuna People and their land are really a beacon of self managed autonomous tribes. They are one of a few tribes in the Americas that still exist in their own form and are, in fact, thriving. They manage this seemingly impossible task by keeping their traditions alive and holding on to a strict policy that no foreigner can own land or a business there. Huge and powerful consortiums are constantly turned away, the lure of wealth and power does not sway the Congreso General Kuna. Disney Land will never come to Kuna Yala. The Kuna have a Pacha Mama or Gaian based philosophy. They are elements of the universe interwoven with all. They are matriarchal with land being owned and passed down by women to women. The men are warriors, defenders of the land and are honored as such with authority to manage the lands being bestowed on them by the matriarchs.
History of the psychedelic scene
The psychedelic trance scene in Panama is relatively new with events mainly adhering to the House genre. In 2011 Panama hosted its first international Psytrance festival Archipelago Festival. Over 30 countries were represented at the event, held on the Perlas Archipelago islands in the Pacific. In March that year GeoParadise came to the country and established its base in Kuna Yala a tropical Paradise consisting of 365 perfect coral reefed islands, adjourned with coconut palms and white sandy beaches, nestled in the warm Caribbean sea a few miles off the coast of Panama. They held their first Full Moon Gathering in April on Banedup island. Working with the Kuna tribe they have established a regular Full Moon party scene there. Having literally searched the globe for the perfect venue GeoParadise chose Kuna Yala for the following reasons.
- No Police
- No Army
- No Prohibition
- No mosquitoes or sand flies
- Constant sea breeze keeping the islands cooler and less humid
- Their Kuna partners father is the head Shaman of the Kuna nation
- The Kuna General Congress welcome the Psychedelic Community
Overview about the upcoming year
2012 look like being the seminal year for the Panamanian Psychedelic scene. Several groups are organizing regular events in Casco Viejo the old part of Panama city. Casco Viejo is a wonderful Havana like area, full of warn out colonial mansions with enclosed courtyards. Bohemian and arty types flock here from around the world, the setting is perfect for inner city psytrance events. Meanwhile two hours north in the Caribbean GeoParadise hold strong with their Full Moon gathering gaining notoriety. All thanks must go the Kuna themselves for welcoming the psychedelic scene.