Panama, or Panama City, Republic of Panama, a city and the capital of the republic. It is on the Bay of Panama at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal, 38 miles (61 km) southeast of Colón on the Atlantic. The city's economy is largely supported by the canal and by tourists. Products include furniture, beer, handicrafts, and clothing.
The Plaza de Francia, in the center of the city, contains a monument to the 19th-century French canal company. Facing the plaza are the Presidential Palace, built during Spanish colonial times, and the Palace of Justice, where the National Assembly and the Supreme Court meet. Among the numerous old churches are San José Church, with its golden altar, and La Merced Church, built of stones from the original city. The University of Panama was founded in 1935.
Panama was founded in 1519 at a site five miles (8 km) east of the location of the present city. It was the territorial capital and major port of the Spanish traders. Its riches attracted many pirates, and in 1671 it was destroyed by the English pirate Henry Morgan. The city was rebuilt on the present site by the survivors. The city declined with the disappearance of Spanish trade in the 18th century, and did not regain its importance until the building of the Panama Canal.