Panama Colonial Records

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Spanish Colonization (1519-1821)[edit | edit source]

In 1519, Spain began their settlement of Panama by founding Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Panamá (present day Panama City), the first European settlement on the shores of the Pacific. Panama gained independence from Spain in 1821, but then joined the confederacy of Gran Colombia, a coalition of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The Gran Colombia confederacy was abolished in 1831. Panama remained a province of Colombia until 1903.[1]

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records
Panama Baptisms, 1750-1938 at FamilySearch — index 1750-1938 Baptisms Spanish Residents of Panama
Panama Deaths, 1840-1930 at FamilySearch — index 1840-1930 Deaths Spanish Residents of Panama
Panama Marriages, 1800-1950 at FamilySearch — index 1800-1950 Marriages Spanish Residents of Panama
Panama, Catholic Church Records, 1707-1973 at FamilySearch — index and images 1707-1973 Baptisms, marriages, and burials Spanish Catholic residents of Panama
Central America, Colonial Records, 1607-1902 at FamilySearch — images 1607-1902 Census records Spanish Residents of Panama
Central America, Colonial Census Records at Ancestry.com ($) — images Various Census Records Spanish Residents of Panama
Panama, Select Baptisms, 1750-1938 at Ancestry.com ($) — index 1750-1938 Baptisms Spanish Residents of Panama
Panama, Select Marriages, 1800-1950 at Ancestry.com ($) — index 1800-1950 Marriages Spanish Residents of Panama
Visitas : [padrones, 1611-1808] at FamilySearch Catalog — images 1611-1808 Census records Spanish Residents of Panama

United States Involvement ( 1903-1999)[edit | edit source]

In 1878, France received a contract from Colombia to build a canal across the isthmus of Panama. However, by 1889 the project went bankrupt and in 1903 the United States took over the abandoned concessions. In return, the United States agreed to back Panama in its attempt to gain independence from Colombia. The Panama Canal opened in 1914, but the United States did not agree to relinquish control over the Canal Zone entirely to Panama until the negotiation of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties. These two treaties guaranteed that Panama would gain control of the Panama Canal on December 31, 1999.[2]

The United States continued to maintain numerous military bases and a substantial garrison throughout the Canal Zone to protect the American-owned Panama Canal and to maintain American control of this strategically important area. On December 20, 1989, United States troops invaded Panama in an effort to overthrow the Noriega regime. They achieved their objectives and began their withdrawal on December 27, 1989.[3]

Record collection Years covered Record type Language Who is in the records
U.S., Panama Canal Zone, Employment Records and Sailing lists, 1884-1937 at Ancestry.com ($) — index and images 1884-1937 Employment records Spanish People who worked in the Panama Canal Zone
U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916 at Ancestry.com ($) — index and images 1806-1916 Military records English Members of the United States Military stationed in the Panama Canal Zone
Panama Canal Zone, Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Records, 1906-1991 at Ancestry.com ($) — index 1906-1991 Death Records English U.S. military personnel, employees of the Panama Canal Commission, and Canal Zone civilians
1920 United States Federal Census at Ancestry.com ($) — index and images 1920 Census records Spanish Residents of the Panama Canal Zone

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "History of Panama," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Panama#Spanish_colonial_period, accessed 3 October 2019.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "History of Panama," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Panama#The_Panama_Canal, accessed 3 October 2019.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "United States invasion of Panama," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama, accessed 3 October 2019.