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Colón, Panama

Ciudad de Colón
Skyline of Colon
Flag of Colon
Coat of arms of Colon
Coat of arms
Colon is located in Panama
Country  Panama
Province Colon Province
 • President Juan Carlos Varela
 • Mayor Federico Policani
Elevation 9 m (30 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 78,000
 • Metro 241,928
Area code(s) (+507)

Colón is a sea port on the Caribbean Sea (Atlantic) coast of Panama. The city lies near the Caribbean Sea entrance to the Panama Canal. It is the capital of Panama's Colón Province and has traditionally been known as Panama's second city. Colón was originally located entirely on Manzanillo Island, surrounded by Limon Bay, Manzanillo Bay, and the Folks River. Since the disestablishment of the Canal Zone, the city's limits have been redefined to include the former Canal Zone towns of Cristobal, Margarita, and Coco Solo, as well as the former U.S. Army base of Fort Gulick.


  • History 1
    • Fort De Lesseps 1.1
    • From 1948 to 1989 1.2
  • Since Late-2014 2
    • Social Media Hashtag 2.1
  • Climate 3
  • Population 4
  • Notable Colonites 5
    • Arts, sciences, and politics 5.1
  • Historic Monuments With International Value 6
  • Historic Athletes 7
  • Images of Colon 8
  • Hotels in Colon 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13


The city was founded by Americans in 1850 as the Atlantic terminal of the Panama Railroad, then under construction to meet the gold rush demand for a fast route to California. For a number of years early in its history, the sizable United States émigré community called the town Aspinwall after Panama Railroad promoter William Henry Aspinwall, while the city's Hispanic community called it Colon in honor of Christopher Columbus. The city was founded on the western end of a treacherously marshy islet known as Manzanillo Island. As part of the construction of the Panama Railroad, the island was connected to the Panamanian mainland by a causeway and part of the island was drained to allow the erection of permanent buildings.

Much of the city was burned during the Colombian Civil War of 1885, and again in a massive fire in 1915.

Fort De Lesseps

Fort De Lesseps was a small U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps fort located at the northern tip of the city. It was named after Ferdinand de Lesseps.

From 1948 to 1989

In 1948, the southeastern corner of Manzanillo Island was designated as the Colón Free Trade Zone. The Free Trade Zone has since been expanded through land reclamation on the Folks River and annexation of parts of France Field (now Enrique Adolfo Jiménez Airport) and Coco Solo.

During its heyday, Colon was home to dozens of nightclubs, cabarets, and movie theaters. It was known for its citizens' civic pride, orderly appearance, and outstanding native sons and daughters. Politically instigated riots in the 1960s destroyed the city's beautiful municipal palace and signaled the start of the city's decline, which was further accelerated by the military dictatorships of Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega from 1968 to 1987.

Colón between 1910 and 1920

Since Late-2014

In late-2014, the City of Colon started a massive restoration and reconstruction plan. Since then Colon has been in a renovation state. Historic monuments such as churches, buildings, parks, and avenues have been included.

Social Media Hashtag



#RenovationColon (Renovation of Colon)



Colon has a tropical monsoon climate with heavy rainfall from May to December.

Climate data for Colon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29
Average low °C (°F) 24
Average precipitation mm (inches) 109
Source: Weatherbase[1]


In 1900, the population was some 3,001 people. It grew significantly with the building of the Panama Canal, and was 31,203 in 1920. In 2000, it had a population of about 204,000 people.

With the city's economic decline, many of its upper- and middle-class residents left, reducing its ethnic diversity. Formerly vibrant European and American expatriate communities, as well as Panamanians of Greek, Italian, Jewish, Chinese, and South Asian heritage, some started moving to Panama City, to former Canal Zone towns, and overseas.

Today, sizable South Asian and Arab communities live in the remaining prosperous areas of the city, as well as in gated communities outside it. The majority of the city's population is of West Indian or mixed mestizo-hispanic ancestry.

Colón was home to some of the best-educated and most well-heeled Panamanians families of West Indian heritage, such as the Drews, the Fords, the Moodys, the Robinsons, the Beebys, the Archibolds, the Edwards, the Crowns, the Hoys, the Warehams, the Abrahams, and the Mckintoshs [citation needed]. From these families sprang the teachers, professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, and politicians that contributed to the city's prosperity [citation needed]. Most of them eventually left the city for the United States or the United Kingdom. However, their influence can still be seen by the descendants that remain in the province.

Colon was also home to Las Amigas de la Caridad ("Women of Charity"), a charitable organization of women of Caribbean descent. The organization met largely in the home of Gladys Booth Ford and her stepdaughter Ruby Ford Drew at Calle 7 and Avenida Sta. Isabel. Ruby Drew was a long-standing member of Christ Church by the Sea.

Notable Colonites

Arts, sciences, and politics

Historic Monuments With International Value

Since the renovation in Colon started in late-2014 the First Baptist Church of Colon, Panama has done a complete renovation (completed already) by American specialists. In the meanwhile, other historic, emblematic churches are under restoration.

Historic Athletes

Images of Colon

Panorama of Colón entrance of the canal.
Colón entrance to the Panama Canal.

Hotels in Colon

  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Radisson Hotel City of Colon
  • Hotel Washington, Colón, Panamá

See also


  1. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Colon, Panama". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  2. ^  
  3. ^ " MLB All-Century Team". Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "George Headley". espncricinfo. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 

Further reading

  • Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor.  
  • Mellander, Gustavo A. (1971). The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years. Danville, Ill.: Interstate Publishers.  
  • Military Railroads on the Panama Canal Zone by Charles S. Small, Railroad monographs 1982

External links

  • Colón City Panama extensive site about Colón, Panama
  • MSN Map
  • MSN Map
  • Map of Fort De Lesseps
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