Independence Day

Panama National Holiday in Panama

Panama City Skyline, Panama

When is Independence Day?

This holiday is always celebrated on 28 November. This holiday celebrates the independence of Panama from Spain in 1821.

November is a key month for public holidays in Panama, with Independence day being the fifth holiday in the month. Earlier in the month, the country enjoys a three day break with Separation Day, Flag Day and Colon Day all being celebrated on consecutive days. The fourth holiday is the Los Santos Uprising Day (see below) on 10 November.

History of Independence Day

Though home to indigenous tribes, Panama came under Spanish control with the arrival of settlers in the 16th century. From 1538 until 1821 Panama was governed as part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The strategic position of Panama made the area one of the wealthiest and prestigious in the region. This helped to forge a sense of pride in a national identity quite early on amongst the new generations of settlers.

With the independence movements that was sweeping across this part of the Americas at that time, the hand of the Panamanian independence movement was forced when a small town called Villa de los Santos, who made the first cry of independence on 10 November 1821. This key event in Panama's history is also marked with a public holiday in Panama.

On 28 November, at an open town meeting, Panama was declared a sovereign entity and become independent from Spain. Fearing reprisals from Spain, the region sought protection and became a department within the Republic of Greater Colombia.

How is Independence Day Celebrated?

Celebrations across the country will include firework displays and parades, especially in the capital, Panama City.

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