The Flag of Panama: History, Meaning, and Symbolism

Panama flag
© Osman Bugra Nuvasil/

Written by Heather Hall

Published: December 11, 2022

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The Flag of Panama is a symbol of the country’s history, culture, and identity. Panama is located in Central America, with Costa Rica and Colombia as its borders. The country has a population of over four million people. Interestingly, the Panamanian culture is an amalgamation of Spanish, African, and Indigenous influences. The Flag of Panama is one of the country’s most recognizable symbols and is a source of pride for its citizens. In this blog post, we will explore the history, meaning, and symbolism behind the Flag of Panama.

Panama: Geography and Climate

Panama is a country located in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, and the Caribbean Sea to the north. It has a population of over four million people, and its capital city is Panama City. The country has nine provinces and five indigenous territories. The climate of Panama is tropical savanna with dry seasons from January through April and a rainy season from May to December. Temperatures generally range from 75-90°F. 

Two mountain ranges run east-west across the country: the Cordillera de Talamanca along the Costa Rican border and Serranía de Tabasará near the western coast on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal. This region receives more rainfall than other parts of the country due mainly to its high elevation, which also creates various microclimates throughout these areas, as well as unique ecosystems such as cloud forests. Additionally, this rain can create mangrove swamps near sea level regions.

Panama: Culture and Cuisine

Panama is a country with a unique culture and cuisine. Its location between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean has shaped its cultural influence. Panama has a diverse population of mestizos (people of mixed European and Native American ancestry), Afro-Caribbean people, Europeans, Asians, and North Americans. This mix creates a vibrant culture unlike anywhere else in Central America.

Traditional Panamanian dishes include tamales from cornmeal dough filled with meats or vegetables, and sancocho de gallina, a chicken soup cooked in a root vegetable broth. Other popular dishes are Arroz con Pollo, which consists of rice prepared with chicken, and ceviche made from raw fish marinated in lime juice and served with spices such as onion, cilantro, chilies, or peppers. You can also find patacones, which are sweet or savory fried plantains. For a tasty treat, try yuca frita – crispy fried yucca root strips topped with garlic sauce. The national drink is Seco Herrerano – sugar cane liquor flavored with herbs such as mint or lemon verbena. Panama also produces world-renowned coffee beans to enjoy while exploring its rich history and stunning landscape!

Panama: Religions and Languages

The Republic of Panama is a multicultural nation. Spanish is the official language and the primary language of commerce, education, and government. However, many indigenous languages are still spoken in rural areas by different ethnic groups, such as Kuna, Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca, Emberá Wounaan, or Naso Tjerdi. In addition to Spanish, there are also English speakers throughout the country due to large populations of West Indian immigrants who have settled in Panama City and Colón.

Religion plays a major role in Panamanian culture, with Catholicism as the dominant faith practiced by most citizens but other religions exist as well, including Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, among others. The constitution grants freedom of religion so everyone can practice their faith openly without fear of discrimination or persecution. On Flag Day each year, religious organizations from across the country come together to celebrate this important holiday that honors both history and tradition within Panama’s diverse population.

Flag of Panama: Description

flag of Panama

The flag of Panama reflects the country’s culture and history.


The Flag of Panama has a divided rectangle of four quarters: the upper field closest to the pole is white with a blue star of five points. The upper field to the right is red. The lower area nearest the pole is blue. The lower field to the right is white with a red star of five points. This flag has been flown in Panama since 1904.

The flag of Panama reflects the country’s culture and history. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of Panama and it often flies in public spaces throughout the country. It represents Panama’s independence and unity, as well as its commitment to justice, peace, and patriotism.

Flag of Panama: Meaning and Symbolism

The colors used in the Flag of Panama are blue for the Conservative Party and red for the Liberal Party. The white stands for peace and purity. The blue star represents honesty, and the red star represents the authority of the law in the country. Together, the stars stand for the new republic.

Flag of Panama: Timeline and History

1821Panama as the Province of Istmo in the Republic of Columbia. This flag consisted of three horizontal bands of equal size, including yellow at the top, aqua blue in the middle, and red across the bottom. Additionally, in the center of the flag is a circle with a cornucopia in the middle.

1834 – Panama as the Province of Istmo in the Republic of New Granada. This flag consisted of three vertical stripes of equal size. It had red to the right, bright blue in the middle, and yellow to the left. In the middle is a circular emblem showing an eagle alongside a banner of red, white, yellow, and blue. Around the emblem are the words Republica De Nueva Granada.

1855 – Panama as a State in the Granadine Confederation. This flag is identical to the vertical red, blue, and yellow striped flag above. However, the words Confederacion Granadina replace Republica De Nueva Granada around the emblem.

1861 Panama as a State in the United States of New Granada. This flag is identical to the vertical red, blue, and yellow striped flag above. However, the words Estados Unidos De Nueva Granada replace Confederacion Granadina around the emblem.

1886 Panama as a Province in the Republica of Columbia. This flag is identical to the vertical red, blue, and yellow striped flag above. However, the words Republica De Columbia replace Estados Unidos De Nueva Granada around the emblem.

1903 – From November to December, the country flew a new flag. This flag had four equal-sized quadrants. The upper left was blue. Additionally, the upper right was white with a red star, the lower left was white with a blue star, and the lower right was red.

1904 – On June 4th, 1904, officials approved the current flag of Panama. The National Assembly approved it through Law 4 in 1925 and it was ratified by Law in 1941.

Flag Day in Panama

Flag day in Panama is an important celebration that takes place annually on November 4th. This holiday commemorates the adoption of the flag of Panama, which was first established in 1904. During this time, citizens gather to show their patriotism and pride for their country by displaying flags around cities and towns nationwide. 

On this special day, citizens hold military parades along with other festivities such as sports competitions, concerts, and cultural performances to honor the importance of having a national symbol that unites all Panamanians.

Additionally, various government buildings, such as schools and public spaces, are full of colorful decorations depicting scenes from Panamanian history or iconic images associated with the country’s culture. 

Flag day serves to remind everyone of how far Panama has come since its independence from Spain over 200 years ago, while also looking ahead to a future filled with hope and prosperity for generations yet to come.


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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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