31 Jan 165 Years of Colon’s Foundation
The city of Colon celebrates its 165 years on February 27th. Founded in 1852, it is now famous for its emblematic Free Zone and for being the northern terminal of the Panama Canal.
The Foundation of the City of Colón in the middle of the last century ended in what the distinguished university teacher, Dr. Carlos Manuel Gasteazoro, appropriately called “The process of planning and building the cities in the Isthmus” which began with the Foundation of “Santa Maria la Antigua” in the province of Darien. Its establishment, as it is well known, started with the construction of the first Trans-continental Railroad in the World, the Panama Railroad. The promoters of this project were the American businessmen William Henry Aspinwall, Jhan Lloyd Stephens and Henry Chauncey.
In Bogota, capital of the state of Nueva Granada, to which Panama belonged at that time, was signed the contract that allowed the construction of the projected railway on April 15, 1850. By the Neo-Granadian government signed Don Victoriano de Diego Paredes, Secretary of Foreign Relations, and by the promoters of the work, John Lloyd Stephens. The definitive agreement, Stephens-Paredes, was sanctioned by the Congress of Nueva Granada on May 29, 1950.
By its geographical position, the province of Colon has played an important role in the economy and history of Panama. During the Colonial period, it was a strategic point of transit for treasures destined to Spain from the colonies. For its part, the City of Colon, originally called Aspinwall by William Henry Aspinwall, director of Pacific Mail, the company that financed the Panama Railroad Company, has been marked by what would be the construction of the Inter-Oceanic Railroad and the Canal and also by the discovery of gold in California.
This city has had periods of splendor and prosperity, as well as times of deterioration and abandonment. However, Colon is a city that enjoys a historic and abundant wealth, as well as natural and cultural treasures that make it to be valued as an attractive and potential place for tourism.