Colonial Panama, 1509-1550

COLUMBUS discovered Panama's Caribbean coast on his last voyage in 1503. In 1509, ALONSO DE OJEDA was charged with the conquest of Northern Colombia. Defeated by the Indians, he established a settlement at DARIEN in Panama. From here, VASCO NUNEZ DE BALBOA in 1513 crossed the isthm and discovered the PACIFIC OCEAN. In the years 1514 and following, PEDRO ARIAS D'AVILA explored Panama's Pacific coast. The city of PANAMA, the first port city on America's Pacific coast, was founded in 1519. It was to become the basis from where PIZARRO ventured out to conquer Peru in 1532.
Governor Pedro Arias d'Avila was ruthless in his pursuit of gold; during his governorship (-1529), Panama's indigineous population had virtually been exterminated.
A DIOCESIS OF PANAMA had been established early in the 16th century, although contradictory dates are given for the establishment (1515, 1520, 1534).

Articles from Catholic Encyclopedia : Panama

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 5th 2004

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