The Isthmus of Panama
Núñez de Balboa's travel route to the South Sea, 1513
Embera girl dressed for a dance
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.
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

It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal.

- Isthmus of Panama

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

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Vasco Núñez de Balboa

Vasco Núñez de Balboa

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.

In 1501, he crossed the Caribbean coasts from the east of Panama, along the Colombian coast, through the Gulf of Urabá toward Cabo de la Vela.

Pacific Ocean

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).

Panama

Panama Canal

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 Panama Canal (Canal de Panamá) is an artificial 82 km waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and divides North and South America.

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

South America

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.

In addition, the ABC islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ascension Island (dependency of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, a British Overseas Territory), Bouvet Island (dependency of Norway), Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago may also be considered parts of South America.

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

Location of the Viceroyalty of Peru: Initial territory 1542–1718 (light green) and final de jure territory 1776–1824 (dark green)

Viceroyalty of Peru

Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of the Spanish Empire in South America, governed from the capital of Lima.

Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of the Spanish Empire in South America, governed from the capital of Lima.

Location of the Viceroyalty of Peru: Initial territory 1542–1718 (light green) and final de jure territory 1776–1824 (dark green)
The Marquess of Salinas del Río Pisuerga, 8th Viceroy of Peru
Location of the Viceroyalty of Peru: Initial territory 1542–1718 (light green) and final de jure territory 1776–1824 (dark green)
Location of the most important Jesuit Reductions, with present political divisions.
Colonized area in its maximum extension ca 1650 (dark green) and the Viceroyalty in 1816 (dark brown)
The Plaza Mayor and the Cathedral of Lima
In The Distrest Poet, William Hogarth's portrait of a Grub Street poet starving to death, there is on the wall behind him a placard entitled "A view of the Gold Mines of Peru", reflecting the common perception of Spanish Peru as being an economically welcoming place for immigrants.
The Battle of Ayacucho
Charles I, King of Spain and the Indies. The Viceroyalty of Peru was founded under his reign.
The audiencia subdivisions of the Viceroyalty of Peru c. 1650, as numbered in the article.
Silver coin: 8 reales Carlos IV, Viceroyalty of Peru - 1800
Potosí with Cerro Rico
The social classes in the Viceroyalty of Peru: Pink and fuchsia colors represented the lowest demographic class - the slaves were at the lowest level, above which were poor Spaniards, native people, mestizos, free dark-skinned people and the castas; yellow color were the middle social class - traders, noble natives, corregidors; and green color of the pyramid was the upper class - the oidors and Tribunal del Consulado's traders.
Pin (Tupu), 18th century., Brooklyn Museum, Peru's indigenous elite used visual traditions to negotiate power and privilege through self-representation. High-ranking Andean women wore untailored dresses called anacus throughout the colonial period, typically topped with a lliclla, a mantle or shawl worn across the shoulders, and secured with one or more tupus, metal pins with large, often elaborately worked, ornamental heads
Santa Rosa de Lima
1534 Portuguese America according to the Treaty of Tordesillas
1750 Portuguese America according to the Treaty of Madrid (1750)

These movements led to the formation of the modern-day country of Peru, as well as Chile, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, the territories that at one point or another had constituted the Viceroyalty of Peru.

During the 16th, 17th and most of the 18th centuries, all of the colonial wealth of South America created by the silver mines passed through Lima on its way to the Isthmus of Panama and from there to Seville, Spain.