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#40 - PANAMA

Size: 3" x 5"
Copyrighted: 1891
Lithographer: Joseph P. Knapp

Panama - canal
Illustrations: Portion of Canal; Mulatto's; Street Scene; View of Panama

Reverse - Text
Right section:
Panama, (an Indian word meaning "abounding in fish,") was founded in 1518 by Pedro Arias Davila, and is thus the oldest European city in America. It rose to great importance, becoming the emporium for the gold and silver from Peru, but was destroyed by Morgan's buccaneers in 1671, who carried off 175 mule loads of treasure and many hundred prisoners. The city is on the coast of the Pacific at the head of the Gulf of Panama, a few miles east of the mouth of the Rio Grande. It occupies partly a tongue of coral and basaltic rock, and partly a gentle rise towards Mt. Ancon. In the 16th and 17th centuries Panama was (next to Cartagena) the strongest fortress of S.A., but its massive granite ramparts, built by de Villacorta in 1673, have been razed on the land side and allowed to sink into ruin toward the sea. But few of the old Spanish houses of the Moorish style remain, but the dwellings of three stories, of which the upper two project, impart a distinctive character differing from the other towns of Central America. There are some imposing ruins of Jesuit and Franciscan institutions. The Cathedral, a Spanish edifice of 1760, has two lateral towers which are the loftiest in Central America. Its façade was destroyed and the columns thrown down by the earthquake of 1882. The Church of Santa Ana is interesting as the rallying point for the insurgents in the local revolutions. The buildings of chief note are the President's residence, Government Office, State Assembly House, Hospital in the old Convent of the Conception, and the headquarters of the Canal Company. In the dry season, after the perennial wells had been dried up by the earthquake of 1883, water was brought in carts from the Matasnillo; but works were begun two years later for introducing the water of the Rio Grande.
The business awakening started by the California scenes of '49 prompted the construction of the Isthmus Railway and further agitation of the Inter-oceanic Canal project, which had been broached as early as 1520. The tide rises and falls about 20 feet at this point.
Population 1881, 30,000.