Posts Tagged ‘Panama Canal’
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist who was not well appreciated until after his death. His work was influential to the French avant-garde and many modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Gauguin’s art became popular after his death and many of his paintings were in the possession of Russian collector Sergei Shchukin.
Paul Gauguin experienced many bouts of depression and at one time attempted suicide. He traveled to Martinique in search of an idyllic landscape and worked as a laborer on the Panama Canal construction; he was dismissed from his job after only two weeks. He also stayed in Taboga Island on the Pacific side of Panama where he painted for a short time. In 1891, Gauguin sailed to French Polynesia to escape European civilization and “everything that is artificial and conventional”.
Paul Gauguin lived on Taboga Island twice when he was out of money working for the French attempt of the Panama Canal. When Gauguin moved on to French Martinique and then Tahiti, most feel that his work was a result of his time spent on Taboga. Painter Charles Laval lived in Taboga (the island of flowers) as well.
The Inter-Oceanic Panama Canal Museum is housed in a fine antique building that was once the Gran Hotel and later the French canal headquarters. This is the best museum in Panama City and a mandatory stop for every traveler. The museum is a study of the Panama isthmus—from pre-Columbian times, to the arrival of the Spanish, to the French and the American canal-building efforts, through the present day.
The museum gives you a good understanding of the Isthmus of Panama as the center of world trade. It also provides (somewhat subjectively) an explanation of the effect of the isthmus and the canal on the Panamanian idiosyncrasy. Historical documents here include the Torrijos-Carter Treaty that turned over control of the international waterway to Panama, multimedia and interactive exhibits, mock-household exhibits of everyday life during the history of the canal, a register of the U.S. Senate votes approving the canal, and a floor of old coins and stamps, including the famous Nicaragua stamp with an erupting volcano that was sent to senators to sway them from choosing that country to build a canal. There are no earthquakes in this area of the country.
This is an impeccable museum, with interpretive information in both Spanish and English and on-site guides who provide excellent bilingual tours. The museum is wheelchair accessible. You can easily spend a full hour here.
- Visiting Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.
- Location: Avenida Central at Plaza Independencia, Casco Viejo, San Felipe
- Phone: 228-6231
- Web site: http://www.sinfo.net/pcmuseum
- Admission Prices: $2.00 (£1.00) for adults
- Closed: Closed on national holidays
Posted in Miscellaneous, Photography, tagged Afro-Caribbean People, Architecture, Buildings, Church, Culture, Demographics, Museum, Panama, Panama Canal, Photographs, Photography, Tourism, Tradition on February 25, 2013 | 2 Comments »
The original building of this church is in the neighborhood of Calidonia in Panama City. It is now a museum depicting the Afro-Caribbean culture.
Afro-Caribbean people played a critical role in the construction of the Panama Canal at turn of the 20th century. Without their contribution the international waterway would not have been accomplished. They were strong, hard-working people who challenged the harsh condition of the steaming rainforest of Panama.
They came mainly from Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Montserrat, Anguilla, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana (which although on the South American mainland is culturally similar to the Caribbean and was historically considered to be part of the British West Indies), and Belize.
Their knowledge of the English language was highly beneficial for the American authorities who wanted a workforce that understood the English language. They were having communicating problems with people from other nationalities like Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Polish and other European countries.
Afro-Panamanians played a significant role in the creation of the Panama. Some historians have estimated that up to 50 percent of the population of Panama has some African ancestry. The descendants of the Africans who arrived during the colonial era are intermixed in the general population or live in small Afro-Panamanian communities along the Atlantic Coast and in villages within the Darién jungle.
Most of the Panamanian population of West Indian descent owe their presence in the country to the monumental efforts to build the Panama Canal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Three-quarters of the 50,000 workers who built the canal were Afro-Caribbean migrants from the British West Indies. Thousands of Afro-Caribbean workers were recruited from Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.
It is estimated that about ten percent of the Panamanian population are Black (West Indian). Their music, art, traditions, and lifestyle, constitute a significant part of the culture of the Panamanian melting pot. Good Day.