probably from an unknown Guarani word, traditionally said to mean "place of many fish." Originally the name of the settlement founded 1519 (destroyed 1671 but subsequently rebuilt). Panama hat, made from the leaves of the screw pine, attested from 1833, a misnomer, because it originally was made in Ecuador, but perhaps so called in American English because it was distributed north from Panama City. Panama red as a variety of Central American marijuana is attested from 1967.
Note: Backed by the United States, which wanted to negotiate a treaty to build a canal connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean, Panama revolted against Colombia, of which it was a part, and declared itself independent in 1903.
Note: The United States built the Panama Canal from 1904 to 1914, and American relations with Panama long were shaped by the U.S. presence in the Canal Zone, which divides the country.
Note: In 1989, the United States invaded Panama and forcibly removed its leader, Manuel Noriega, to the United States, where he was tried and convicted for drug trafficking. (See also Panama Canal.)