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March 15, 2017

43 Rare Snapshots Document Everyday Life of Panama in the Early 1940s

Panama, officially called the Republic of Panama, is a country usually considered to be entirely in North America or Central America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia (in South America) to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City.

Panama was a Spanish colony from the 16th century and broke away from it in 1821. With the backing of the United States, the Panama Canal was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977 an agreement was signed for the total transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on 31 December 1999.

These rare black and white snapshots were taken in Panama to document everyday life from 1940 to 1945.

Women on a street in Panama, 1945

Young girl in Chiriquí, Panama, 1941

Young girl playing guitar on a motorcycle on a street in Panama, 1940-42

A 20-year-old Panamanian girl in Guarare, 1941

A 1941-42 Chevrolet navy bus, Panama, 1945

A family in Panama, 1940-42

A Panamanian school in Canal Zone, Panama, 1940-42

Arriajan, Native Village, Canal Zone, Panama, 1941

Arriajan, Native Village, Canal Zone, Panama, 1941

Arriajan, Native Village, Canal Zone, Panama, 1941

Balboa Housing for canal workers, 1940-42

Barracks pets in Panama, 1945

Canal Zone, Panama, 1945

Children in Guarare, Panama, 1940-42

Club Florida in Panama, 1945

Couples at France Field in Panama, 1945

Dog House Bar, Panama, 1945

Girl at her home in Panama, 1940-42

Men sitting on the fence in Panama, 1940-42

Pan American Grace Airline office in Panama, 1945

Panamania horsemen, 1940-42

Panamania horsemen, 1940-42

Panamanian boy at door, 1940-42

Panamanian boy scouts, 1940-42

Childrens playing baseball at France Field, Canal Zone, 1945

Panamanian boys, 1940-42

Panamanian child, 1940-42

Panamanian children, 1940-42

Panamanian family, 1940-42

Panamanian girl and two younger boys, 1940-42

Panamanian girl in Canal Zone, 1941

Panamanian girl posing in front of her house, 1940-42

Panamanian girls, 1940-42

Panamanian girl, 1940-42

Panamanian girls, 1940-42

Panamanian girls, 1940-42

Panamanian horsewoman, 1940-42

Panamanian woman, 1940-42

Panamanian women in Canal Zone, 1940-42

School girls in Panama, 1940-42

Three typical native girls in David, Panama, 1940-42

Two Panamanian girls, 1940-42

Woman and her child, 1940-42


  1. We lived in Panama & Colon in WWII years - 40's -
    and these fotos are close to what was then there..

    but these do not show the big-city-lifestyles or many big stores, busy streets that were in cities.... not rural then there...

    tho these were fun to review -but not to reminice but to sorta recognize - these are apparently native Panamanians -located outside of urban areas. Thanx

  2. Hermoso la sencillez de la epoca




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