Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stamps of Panama - the Canal Country

Panama is known mostly known for the Panama canal rather than any other important places inside Panama. The famous 77 kilometres long Panama Canal joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The canal was built in ten year from 1904 to 1914 and carries almost a thousand ships through it every year. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km, saving on some 1,300 kilometers if it travelled around Cape Horn.

The U.S. controlled the canal and the Canal Zone surrounding it until the 1977. Thereafter it went under the joint administration of the USA and Panama. Later from 31 December 1999 command of the waterway was assumed by the Panama Canal Authority, an agency of the Panamanian government.


As for Panama, it is republic and is the southernmost country of the Central America, with Panama City as its capital. Panama is joined with Costa Rica in the west and Colombia in the east. Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903 and became an independent country. Panama has the third or fourth largest economy in Central America because of its rapidly growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America. Panama has the largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere outside the Amazon Basin and its jungle is home to an abundance of tropical plants, animals and birds - some of them to be found nowhere else in the world.

On 24th June 1904, a postal service was established as part of the Department of Revenues and under the supervision of the Treasurer of the Canal Zone. The postal service was initially designed to handle ordinary mail. Later mail for Central and South America and the West Indies was turned over to the Panama Postal Service for dispatch to destinations and mail for other foreign countries and the United States. Upon establishment of the canal Zone postal services, Panamanian stamps worth 2, 5 and 10 cents were over printed with “Canal Zone” and used till  July 1904. Thereafter the US stamps with Canal Zone overprints were used till December 1904. Thereafter the Panamanian stamps with the overprint started to be used.

I have only five stamps in my collection of Panama as shown above, that are from late 1950 to 1970.


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