Panama City in Central America is a bustling city of 1.5 million people. It is a major financial hub as well as a popular tourist destination and fortunately the remains of the old Panama City, an area known as the Panamá Viejo, can still be seen and visited. Today it is a World Heritage Site.
The Rise and Fall of Panamá Viejo
The original settlement of Panama City, now known as Panamá Viejo, replaced two earlier settlements located inland. Established in 1519 by the Spanish conquistadors, it was the Spanish Empire’s first outpost on the Pacific coast and in 1521, was elevated to the status of a city by royal decree.
Strategically situated, Panamá Viejo was used as a base by the Spanish conquistadors when they launched their invasion against the Inca Empire. And because it was the starting point for the Camino Real (Royal Road), it later played an essential role in the gold and silver trade. Precious metal from Spanish colonies was transported to the city and then transported over land to Portobello, from where it was sent to Seville.