Panama Declares Independence from Colombia (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: Maneuverings surrounding the construction of the Panama Canal sparked a revolution in Panama.
Summary of Event
When other parts of the Spanish Empire declared independence, Panama, a part of the Spanish viceroyalty of Nueva Granada, remained loyal to the crown. Economic reasons, however, caused many Panamanians to reconsider their loyalty before Ferdinand VII allowed free trade in 1813. Panama prospered until free trade was repealed. The repeal resulted in a resurgence of patriotic fervor that caused Spain to appoint governors who were determined to retain the isthmus at any cost. Violations of civil and political rights occurred with regularity. The patriots’ cause benefited from the dissatisfaction created by the governors’ use of censorship, arbitrary arrests, and persecution of suspects. In
October, 1821, Colonel José de Fábrega became the first native-born isthmian to serve as governor. The patriots guessed correctly that Fábrega would be reluctant to shed the blood of his fellow countrymen. On November 27, 1821, shortly after an uprising began in the interior towns, the citizens of Panama City invaded the main plaza and demanded a meeting of the cabildo (council) to decide the future of the isthmus. The next day the cabildo met, declared independence from Spain, and accepted union with Colombia.
The union with Colombia led to much civil unrest....
(The entire section is 1913 words.)
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