Panama Key Dates

 1501    Rodrigo de Bastidas was the first of many Spanish explorers to reach the isthmus.
1 September 1513    Balboa set out with 190 Spaniards,and after twenty-five days gazed on the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
1538    All Spanish territory from Nicaragua to Cape Horn was to be administered from an audiencia in Panama.
29 January 1671    Henry Morgan appeared at Panama City and with 1,400 men he defeated the garrison.
1718-1722    Panama’s temporary loss of its independent audiencia and the country’s attachment to the Viceroyalty of Peru
1739    Spain again suppressed Panama’s autonomy by making the region part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (encompassing present-day Colombia, Venezula, Ecuador, and Panama).
28 November 1821    Official date of independence fom Spain. Panama thus became part of Colombia, then governed under the 1821 Constitution of Cúcuta, and was designated a department with two provinces, Panamá and Veraguas.
1846    Bidlack-Mallarino Treaty was signed between the United States and Panama.
1 January 1880    Ferdinand de Lesseps starts to built the Panama Canal.
1884    Rafael Nuñez became president of Colombia, supported by a coalition of moderate Liberals and Conservatives.
1886    The new constitution established the Republic of Colombia as a unitary state.
1899-1902    Panama was drawn into Colombia’s War of a Thousand Days (1899-1902).
6 November 1903    The United States recognized the new Panamanian junta as the de facto government on November 6, 1903.
23 February 1904    The rights granted to the United States in the so-called Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty were extensive. They included a grant "in perpetuity of the use, occupation, and control" of a sixteenkilometer-wide strip of territory and extensions of three nautical miles into the sea from each terminal "for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation, and protection" of an isthmian canal.
1904    The provisional governing junta selected when independence was declared governed the new state until a constitution was adopted in 1904. Under its terms, Amador became Panama’s first president.
1904    Threats to constitutional government in the republic by a Panamanian military leader, General Estéban Huertas, had resulted, at the suggestion of the United States diplomatic mission, in disbanding the Panamanian army in 1904.
15 August 1914    The first ship made a complete passage through the Panama Canal.
1932    Harmodio Arias Madrid was elected to the presidency in 1932.
1942    Among the major facilities granted to the United States under the agreement of 1942 were the airfield at Río Hato, the naval base on Isla Taboga, and several radar stations.
1948    By 1948 the United States had evacuated all occupied bases and sites outside the Canal Zone.
1952    National Police Commander José Antonio Remón became president.
23 January 1955    Treaty of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation was signed.
1964    Marcos Aurelio Robles became president.
1968    Arnulfo Arias beacme president but removed by the National Guard after only 5 months in office.
1969    Omar Torrijos took power in Panama as commander of the National Guard.
7 September 1977    President Carter and Torrijos met in Washington to sign the Panama Canal Treaty
October 1978    The National Assembly elected a lawyer, Aristides Royo, to become president after Torrijos stepped down.
August 1983    Colonel Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno was appoianted commander of the National Guard.
1984    Noriega formed the Fuerzas de Defensa de Panamá.
11 October 1984    Ardito Barletta became president.
27 September 1985    Ardito Barletta resigned, after only eleven months in office. He was succeeded the next day by his first vice president, Eric Arturo Delvalle Henríquez.
December 1989    U.S. President George Bush authorised an invasion of the country (Operation "Just Cause"). Guillermo Endara was installed as the head of a new administration.
1992    Noriega was tried, convicted and sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment in the USA.
1999    Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodriguez became Panama’s first female president and the Panama Canal Zone returned to Panama.