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Old Panama Ruins
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Old Panama Ruins

Ever wondered why panamanians treasure the Old Panama ruins? Ever wondered what happened to the first capital of Panama in the 1500's and who were the people responsible for it's state of ruin?

I am about to tell an additional story of what happened to Old Panama, a story that has been passed down for generations and something that isn't written in most of the history books printed to teach the students of Panama about their cultural heritage.

Looking back in the 1500'

The stories I heard from my teachers when I was in elementary school from the ruins of Old Panama were really astonishing news.

The city of Old Panama in the 1500's was the first capital of Panama. It was a prosperous and glorious city filled with rich Spanish architecture, literature, growing commercial industries and above all what many people in that period of time desired the most was the amount of gold that was in the custody of the capital.

My school teacher once told that the amount of gold that Panama possessed in that period of time was more than enough for the country to never see poverty in years to come. Although in the course of history, when Spain came to Panama they came to extract the many riches found in mountains, rivers, and valleys and to promote the slave trades.

The two pirates

Continuing with the history lesson during my elementary days my teacher then told us that the reason why Old Panama ended in ruins. It was because of two pirates: Sir Francis Drake and Henry Morgan.

Sir Francis Drake, during his lifetime, was considered an excellent navigator, slave trader and politician during the Queen Elizabeth era and was granted a knighthood (that's what the internet and text books say).

During the lesson the teacher explained that he was the first person that went against the Spanish army that was sited in Old Panama and tried to destroy the city and steal all the riches that the capital once possessed.

Sir Francis Drake failed to destroy the old capital, but recent history studies show that he stole from Nombre de Dios port, located in the Province of Colon.

The second pirates' name was Henry Morgan. To the whole class in my elementary days and to the people who cherish this historical event can say that they will never forgive this man.

Sir Henry Morgan was also in the same category as Sir Francis Drake, but the difference between them was that Sir Henry Morgan dedicated himself to sack the Spanish settlements all over the Caribbean seas (so the internet and text books say)

In my history class I began to feel fear and resentment against Sir Henry Morgan because of all the pain he caused to the old capital. Before burning down the city he first went to sack Porto Belo port found in Province of Colon.

He defeated the strongest strongholds with roughly five hundred men, during the night when the soldiers slept and planning ambushes to surprise the Spanish army, which in that period of time was considered the strongest army the New World.

Today the ruins of Old Panama have become a historical landmark, visited by people who wish learn a bit of Panama's history, but the people who know the story that has been passed down for generations, see a place full of sorrow, and see place who's splendor has been taken away.


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