A report on Isthmus of Panama

The Isthmus of Panama
Núñez de Balboa's travel route to the South Sea, 1513
An 1850 oil painting by Charles Christian Nahl: The Isthmus of Panama on the Height of the Chagres River
The closure of the Isthmus led to allopatric speciation events of marine organisms isolated on each side (blue and green). Terrestrial species also migrated between the two continents (the Great American Biotic Interchange) upon the formation of a passable land bridge.

Narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America.

- Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama

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Panama

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Transcontinental country in Central America and South America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Transcontinental country in Central America and South America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Embera girl dressed for a dance
Vasco Núñez de Balboa, a recognized and popular figure of Panamanian history
"New Caledonia", the ill-fated Scottish Darien scheme colony in the Bay of Caledonia, west of the Gulf of Darien
Santo Domingo Church
1903 political cartoon. The US government, working with separatists in Panama, engineered a Panamanian declaration of independence from Colombia, then sent US warships and marines to Panama.
US President Theodore Roosevelt sitting on a steam shovel at the Panama Canal, 1906
Construction work on the Gaillard Cut of the Panama Canal, 1907
Omar Torrijos (right) with farmers in the Panamanian countryside. The Torrijos government was well known for its policies of land redistribution.
US President Jimmy Carter shakes hands with General Omar Torrijos after signing the Panama Canal Treaties (September 7, 1977).
The aftermath of urban warfare during the US invasion of Panama, 1989
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson swapped football shirts with the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela in London, May 14, 2018.
A map of Panama
La Palma, Darién
The Chagres River
Colón Harbor, 2000
Panama map of Köppen climate classification
A cooler climate is common in the Panamanian highlands.
The National Assembly of Panama
Panama's President-elect Juan Carlos Varela and Vice President Isabel Saint Malo with US Secretary of State John Kerry just before Varela's inauguration in 2014
GDP per capita development Panama since 1950
A proportional representation of Panama exports, 2019
A Panamax ship in transit through the Miraflores locks, Panama Canal
Countries with politicians, public officials or close associates implicated in the Panama Papers leak on April 15, 2016
Tocumen International Airport, Central America's largest airport
Zapatilla Island, Panama
Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.
Population pyramid, 2016
Panama's population, 1961–2003
Panama City, Panama's capital
Plaza de la independencia, Panama City
Erika Ender
A couple dancing Panamanian Cumbia
Panamanian baseball catcher Carlos Ruiz during 2007 Spring Training

The Isthmus of Panama was formed about three million years ago when the land bridge between North and South America finally became complete, and plants and animals gradually crossed it in both directions.

Panama Canal

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Artificial 82 km waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and divides North and South America.

Artificial 82 km waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and divides North and South America.

Location of Panama between Pacific (bottom) and Caribbean (top), with canal at top center
The panamax ship MSC Poh Lin exiting the Miraflores locks, March 2013
Satellite image showing the location of Panama Canal: Dense jungles are visible in green.
Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French originator of the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal
Excavator at work in Bas Obispo, 1886
Share of the Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interocéanique de Panama, issued 29. November 1880 - signed by Ferdinand de Lesseps
The US's intentions to influence the area (especially the Panama Canal construction and control) led to the separation of Panama from Colombia in 1903.
The Culebra Cut in 1896
The Culebra Cut in 1902
Chief engineer John Frank Stevens
Sanitation officer William C. Gorgas
President Theodore Roosevelt sitting on a Bucyrus steam shovel at Culebra Cut, 1906
Construction work on the Gaillard Cut is shown in this photograph from 1907.
General George Washington Goethals, who completed the canal.
The USS Missouri, an, passes through the canal in 1945. The 108' 2" (32.96 m) beams of the Iowas and preceding were the largest ever to transit the Canal.
Pacific Side entrance
Gatun Lake provides the water used to raise and lower vessels in the Canal, gravity fed into each set of locks
Miter lock gate at Gatún
Roll-on/roll-off
ships, such as this one pictured here at Miraflores locks, are among the largest ships to pass through the canal.
Maximum ship sizes for the Panama and Suez canals
Gatun locks showing the "mule" locomotives at work
New Agua Clara locks (Atlantic side) in operation
Neopanamax ship passing through the Agua Clara locks.
A Marion steam shovel excavating the Panama Canal in 1908
The Panama Canal locks under construction in 1910
The first ship to transit the canal, the SS Ancon, passes through on 15 August 1914
Spanish laborers working on the Panama Canal in early 1900s

The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade.

South America

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Continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere.

Continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere.

Map of South America showing physical, political, and population characteristics, as per 2018
A composite relief image of South America
Modern political map of South America
Los Roques Archipelago, Venezuela
Köppen-Geiger climate classification map for South America
Map of all tropical cyclone tracks from 1945 to 2006
The prehistoric Cueva de las Manos, or "Cave of the Hands", in Argentina
The Inca estate of Machu Picchu, Peru is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Woodcut depicting Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci's first voyage (1497-98) to the New World, from the first known published edition of Vespucci's 1504 letter to Piero Soderini.
The Inca–Spanish confrontation in the Battle of Cajamarca left thousands of natives dead.
The Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral landing in Brazil in 1500
Dutch colonial houses in Paramaribo, Suriname
A painting of the settlement of Pernambuco in colonial Brazil by Frans Post
A map of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas in 1790
Public flogging of a slave in 19th-century Brazil.
The proclamation of the Independence of Brazil by Prince Pedro on 7 September 1822
The Guayaquil conference between José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar
Coronation of Pedro I as 1st Emperor of Brazil
Bernardo O'Higgins swears officially the independence of Chile.
The Thirty-Three Orientals proclaimed the independence of Cisplatine Province.
Battle of Fanfa, battle scene in Southern Brazil during the Ragamuffin War
Imperial Brazilian Navy and army troops during the Siege of Paysandú, 1865
The Uruguayan Army at the Battle of Sauce, 1866
The Imperial Brazilian Army during a procession in Paraguay, 1868
The Chilean Army in the battlefield of the Battle of Chorrillos, 1883
A German submarine under attack by Brazilian Air Force PBY Catalina, 31 July 1943
Argentine soldiers during the Falklands War
The Brazilian Minas Geraes class kindled an Argentine–Brazilian–Chilean naval arms race.
Presidents of UNASUR member states at the Second Brasília Summit on 23 May 2008.
Headquarters of the UNASUR in Quito, Ecuador
Scheme for geographic regions and subregions used by the United Nations Statistics Division.
South American flags
Satellite view of South America at night from NASA.
Official languages in South America
Las Lajas Sanctuary, Ipiales, Colombia.
Spanish-Venezuelan protesters in Madrid.
A Japanese-Brazilian Miko during a festival in Curitiba
Former president of Brazil Lula and members of the Italian Brazilian community during the Grape Festival at Caxias do Sul
Peruvian woman and her son
Launch at the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana
Refinery of Brazilian state-owned Petrobras in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Chuquicamata is the largest open pit mine in the world, near the city of Calama in Chile.
KC-390 is the largest military transport aircraft produced in South America by the Brazilian company Embraer.
Vineyard in Luján de Cuyo, province of Mendoza, Argentina
Sugarcane plantation in São Paulo. In 2018, Brazil was the world's largest producer, with 746 million tonnes. South America produces half of the world's sugarcane.
Soy plantation in Mato Grosso. In 2020, Brazil was the world's largest producer, with 130 million tonnes. South America produces half of the world's soybeans.
Coffee in Minas Gerais. In 2018, Brazil was the world's largest producer, with 3.5 million tonnes. South America produces half of the world's coffee.
Orange in São Paulo. In 2018, Brazil was the world's largest producer, with 17 million tonnes. South America produces 25% of the world's orange.
Truck of a meat company in Brazil. South America produces 20% of the world's beef and chicken meat.
EMS, the largest Brazilian pharmaceutical industry
Braskem, the largest Brazilian chemical industry
Cerro Rico, Potosi, Bolivia, still a major silver mine
Amethyst mine in Ametista do Sul. South America is a major producer of gems such as amethyst, topaz, emerald, aquamarine and tourmaline
Iron mine in Minas Gerais. Brazil is the world's second largest iron ore exporter.
Bird (UOB Plaza, Singapore), sculpture of Colombian artist Fernando Botero
“Chromovegetal Maze” by Carlos Cruz Diez, in Caracas.
Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Panorama of the interior of the Maracanã stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Wind farm in the Paraguaná Peninsula, Venezuela
Wind power in Parnaíba.
Angra Nuclear Power Plant in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro
Pirapora Solar Complex, the largest in Brazil and Latin America with a capacity of 321 MW.
Rodovia dos Bandeirantes, Brazil
Ruta 9 / 14, in Zarate, Argentina
Rio–Niterói Bridge
Rio de Janeiro International Airport
Port of Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brazil
Stretch of the Pan-American Highway in Argentina
General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela
The Port of Callao in Lima
The La Paz cable car system in Bolivia is home to both the longest and highest urban cable car network in the world
Grape plantation in Argentina. Argentina and Chile are among the 10 largest grape and wine producers in the world and Brazil among the 20 largest.
Maize in Dourados. Brazil and Argentina are among the 5 largest world producers
Salmon farming in Chile. One third of all salmon sold in the world comes from the country.
Neugebauer Chocolate Factory in Arroio do Meio. South America specializes in food processing
Steel-maker CSN, in Volta Redonda. Brazil is one of the 10 largest steel producers in the world, and Argentina is one of the 30 largest
Klabin industrial complex, in Ortigueira. Brazil is the second largest pulp producer and the eighth largest paper producer in the world
Portico of the Democrata men's shoe factory, in Franca. Brazil is the fourth largest shoe manufacturer in the world.
Hering, in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The country has one of the 5 largest textile industries in the world
Mercedes-Benz plant in São Paulo. Brazil is among the 10 largest vehicle manufacturers in the world and Argentina among the 30 largest.
Copper mine in Chile. Latin America produces more than half of the world's copper
Colombian emerald. The country is the largest producer of emeralds in the world, and Brazil is one of the largest producers
Copacabana Palace, the best hotel in South America, in Rio de Janeiro. Tourism brings important currencies to the continent.
Honey production in Argentina. The country is the third largest producer of honey in the world.
Sunflower plantation in Argentina. The country is the world's third largest producer of sunflower seed.
Chilean cherries. Chile is one of the top 5 producers of sweet cherries in the world.
Chilean kiwi. The country is one of the 10 largest kiwi producers in the world.
Palm plantation in Magdalena. Colombia is one of the top 5 palm oil producers in the world.
Pineapple in Brazil. The country is the 3rd largest producer in the world. South America produces close to 20% of the world's pineapple.
Oil refinery in Amuay. Venezuela is one of the largest oil producers in the world.

They migrated south through North America, and eventually reached South America through the Isthmus of Panama.

Vasco Núñez de Balboa

Vasco Núñez de Balboa

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Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador.

Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador.

Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Tierra Firme 1513 – Castilla de Oro
Balboa setting his dogs upon native practitioners of homosexuality (1594); engraving from the New York Public Library. The rendering was by the Flemish Protestant artist Theodor de Bry.
Balboa's travel route to the South Sea, 1513
Balboa claiming possession of the South Sea ( 19th century engraving by unknown artist )
Statue of Balboa in Madrid (, 1954)
Image of the execution of Balboa in Vasco Nuñez de Balboa by Frederick A. Ober
Monument of Vasco Núñez de Balboa in Panama City
Balboa 1-cent, 1913 issue

He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.

Pacific Ocean

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Largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions.

Largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions.

Partial picture of the Pacific Ocean from space, by the Apollo 11 crew
Model of a Fijian drua, an example of an Austronesian vessel with a double-canoe (catamaran) hull and a crab claw sail
Map showing the migration of the Austronesian peoples, the first seaborne human migration in history (c.3000-1500 BCE)
Map showing a large number of Spanish expeditions across the Pacific Ocean from the 16th to 18th centuries including the Manila galleon route between Acapulco and Manila, the first transpacific trade route in history.
Universalis Cosmographia, the Waldseemüller map dated 1507, from a time when the nature of the Americas was ambiguous, particularly North America, as a possible part of Asia, was the first map to show the Americas separating two distinct oceans. South America was generally considered a "new world" and shows the name "America" for the first time, after Amerigo Vespucci
The bathyscaphe Trieste, before her record dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 23 January 1960
Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars taking over Tahiti on 9 September 1842
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean as seen from the International Space Station. tops of thunderclouds are also visible.
The island geography of the Pacific Ocean Basin
Regions, island nations and territories of Oceania
Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati
Sunset in Monterey County, California, U.S.
Impact of El Niño and La Niña on North America
Typhoon Tip at global peak intensity on 12 October 1979
Ring of Fire. The Pacific is ringed by many volcanoes and oceanic trenches.
Ulawun stratovolcano situated on the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Mount Saint Helens in 2020
Pacific Ocean currents have created 3 "islands" of debris.
Marine debris on a Hawaiian coast
Prime Minister Suga declined to drink the bottle of Fukushima's treated radioactive water that he was holding, which would otherwise be discharged to the Pacific. 2020.
Made in 1529, the Diogo Ribeiro map was the first to show the Pacific at about its proper size
Map of the Pacific Ocean during European Exploration, circa 1754.
Maris Pacifici by Ortelius (1589). One of the first printed maps to show the Pacific Ocean<ref>{{cite web|url=https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-01-093/|title=Library Acquires Copy of 1507 Waldseemüller World Map – News Releases (Library of Congress)|publisher=Loc.gov|access-date=April 20, 2013}}</ref>
Map of the Pacific Ocean during European Exploration, circa 1702–1707
Ladrilleros Beach in Colombia on the coast of Chocó natural region
Tahuna maru islet, French Polynesia
Los Molinos on the coast of Southern Chile

Though the peoples of Asia and Oceania have traveled the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times, the eastern Pacific was first sighted by Europeans in the early 16th century when Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513 and discovered the great "Southern Sea" which he named Mar del Sur (in Spanish).

Portrait in the style of Peter Lely, c. 1680

Henry Morgan

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Welsh privateer, plantation owner, and later, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.

Welsh privateer, plantation owner, and later, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.

Portrait in the style of Peter Lely, c. 1680
Sir Christopher Myngs, under whom Morgan served
Puerto Principe being sacked in 1668
Morgan's attack on the Castillo de San Jeronimo, Porto Bello
Morgan with a prisoner
Maracaibo and La Ceiba (now Gibraltar) in modern-day Venezuela
San Carlos de la Barra Fortress, which guarded the entrance to Maracaibo
Morgan destroys the Spanish Armada de Barlovento at Lake Maracaibo 1669
Morgan before Panama, 1671 (c. 1736 engraving used to illustrate Captain Charles Johnson's General History)
Morgan attacking Panama, 1671
Charles II, who ordered Morgan's arrest, but later knighted him
John Vaughan, 3rd Earl of Carbery
Report from The London Gazette regarding Morgan's successful libel action
Alexandre Exquemelin's De Americaensche Zee-Roovers (1678) which affected history's view of Morgan
Rafael Sabatini's 1922 novel Captain Blood is based in large part on Morgan's career.

In 1671, Morgan attacked Panama City, landing on the Caribbean coast and traversing the isthmus before he attacked the city, which was on the Pacific coast.

Portobelo, Colón

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Historic port and corregimiento in Portobelo District, Colón Province, Panama, Central America, with a population of 4,559.

Historic port and corregimiento in Portobelo District, Colón Province, Panama, Central America, with a population of 4,559.

Henry Morgan's attack on the Castillo de San Jeronimo, Porto Bello, 1669
1771 map showing position of Bastimentos Island between Porto Bello and the former harbour of Nombre de Dios
View of the fort, the Aduana building, and the church

Located on the northern part of the Isthmus of Panama, it is 32 km northeast of the modern port of Colón now at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal.

North America

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Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere.

Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere.

Map of populous North America showing physical, political and population characteristics as per 2018
Map of North America, from 1621
The totality of North America seen by the Apollo 16 crew, with Canada being covered by clouds
Landforms and land cover of North America
Sonoran Desert in Arizona
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland
Principal hydrological divides of Canada, the United States and Mexico
Geologic map of North America published by USGS
North America map of Köppen climate classification
Map of North America in 1702 showing forts, towns and (in solid colors) areas occupied by European settlements
Non-native nations' control and claims over North America c. 1750–2008
Native languages of the US, Canada, Greenland, and Northern Mexico
Percentage of people who identify with a religion in North America, according to 2010–2012 data
Mexican President Peña Nieto, U.S. President Trump, and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau sign the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 30 November 2018
Worlds regions by total wealth (in trillions USD), 2018
2006 map of the North American Class I railroad network
Baseball is traditionally known as America's national pastime, but is also played in Canada, and many Latin American countries as well.
North America map of Köppen climate classification
Simplified map of subsistence methods in the Americas at 1000 BCE
hunter-gatherers
simple farming societies
complex farming societies (tribal chiefdoms or civilizations)

The formation of the Isthmus of Panama that connected the continent to South America arguably occurred approximately 12 to 15 million years ago, and the Great Lakes (as well as many other northern freshwater lakes and rivers) were carved by receding glaciers about 10,000 years ago.

Satellite image of the Caribbean Sea

Caribbean Sea

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Sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere.

Sea of the Atlantic Ocean in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere.

Satellite image of the Caribbean Sea
Coral reef near Soufrière Quarter, Saint Lucia
Christopher Columbus landing on Hispaniola in 1492
Tulum, a Mayan city on the coast of the Caribbean in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico
Coral reefs in the British Virgin Islands
The shaded relief map of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico area
Caribbean plate tectonics
Sketch of the North Equatorial Current and the Gulf Stream
The Belize Barrier Reef photographed from the International Space Station in 2016
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
Average sea surface temperatures for the Caribbean Atlantic Ocean (25–27 August 2005). Hurricane Katrina is seen just above Cuba.
Puerto Rican parrot
Green sea turtle, Grand Cayman Island
A view of San Andrés island, Colombia
Sunrise over the south beach of Jamaica
Los Roques Archipelago, Venezuela
Marie Galante, Guadeloupe
Beach of Curaçao
Mona Island, Puerto Rico
Palm Beach, Aruba
Cayo Coco, Cuba
Saint-Marc, Haiti
Sunset in the Caribbean Sea
Roatán, Honduras

Marine biota in the region have representatives of both the Indian and Pacific oceans which were caught in the Caribbean before the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama four million years ago.

The Great American Interchange, a faunal exchange that occurred after formation of the Isthmus of Panama bridged North and South America. Examples of migrant species in both Americas are shown.

Central American Seaway

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Body of water that once separated North America from South America.

Body of water that once separated North America from South America.

The Great American Interchange, a faunal exchange that occurred after formation of the Isthmus of Panama bridged North and South America. Examples of migrant species in both Americas are shown.

It formed during the Jurassic (200–154 Ma) during the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea, and closed when the Isthmus of Panama was formed by volcanic activity in the late Pliocene (2.76–2.54 Ma).