Panamanian Separation Day

Panamanian Separation Day commemorates when Panama separated from Colombia and became the Republic of Panama on November 3, 1903.

Panamanian Separation Day 2020

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Gran Colombia

Panama’s path to a republic began with independence from Spain as part of Gran Colombia on November 28, 1821.

That early state included parts of modern Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru, western Guyana and northwestern Brazil. Eventually those regions took their own independence.

The Panama Canal

After the Spanish-American War of 1898 – 1901, the U.S. government decided it wanted to finish the long dreamed of canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The U.S. government pressured Colombia for a treaty giving the U.S. rights to build a canal across the isthmus of Panama. Colombia refused to ratify the agreement, so the Americans pushed for Panamanian independence instead.

The Panamanian Declaration of Independence was written by Frenchman Phillipe Bunau-Varilla at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.


Patría, by Panamanian New Yorker Rubén Blades, is one of the most beautiful songs ever written about the meaning of homeland.

For some reason, this version of the song opens and closes with photos of Machu Picchu in Peru, but it includes English subtitles so English-only speakers can understand the song.

In the song, a child asks an elder about the homeland he has never seen. He wants to know what it is like. How do you explain that? Blades does a pretty good job.

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