Panama is a country in Central America, bordering both the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered to the southeast by Colombia and to the west by Costa Rica. Before the Spanish colonialists arrived, Panama was mainly inhabited by the indigenous people. After breaking away from Spain, the country joined the Republic of Gran Columbia, a union that was formed by Ecuador, Nueva Granada, and Venezuela. Panama eventually seceded from Columbia in 1903. The country has a population of approximately 4 million people, of which almost half the population live in the capital city, Panama City. Although Spanish is the official and dominant language in Panama, the people of Panama are not Spanish but Panamanians. In fact, the Spanish spoken in the country is Panamanian Spanish.
Who Are The Panamanians?
Panamanians are people who identify with the country of Panama, who have legal, residential, or cultural connections with the country. Panamanian is not a specific ethnic group, race, or language group but a collection of different ethnic groups living in the country. Panama is a multicultural and multilingual country and home to several ethnic and religious group. Therefore, Panamanians equate their nationality to their citizenship or allegiance to the country. The majority of the Panamanian people is a mix of the indigenous people and European ethnic groups. Despite the different religious and cultural groups in Panama, they hold a common culture referred to as mainstream Panamanian culture derived from the early Spanish settlers and the indigenous people.
Panamanian Ethnic Groups
Panama has several ethnic groups including Europeans and Asians. The majority of the residents of Panama are a mix of indigenous and European ancestry. They account for approximately 70% of the country’s population. The Native Panamanians account for 12.3% of the population and mainly inhabit Ngobe-Bugle and Guaymi. While the majority of the native people have retained their traditional languages, some speak Spanish. Some of the indigenous groups include Bokota, Embera, Ngabe, and Teribe.
The Religion Of The Panamanian People
Although there is no official data on the religious affiliation of the Panamanians, Roman Catholic is the most popular religion in the country, accounting for about 75-85% of the population. Evangelical Christians are about 15-25% while Baha’i Faith accounts for 2%. One of the eight Baha’i Houses of Worship is maintained in Panama.