The narrow Isthmus of Panama became a melting pot mainly due to the construction of the Trans-isthmian Railroad in 1855 and the Panama Canal at the turn of the 20th Century. People from many parts of the world swarmed to Panama in search of a better future and a dose of adventure in the process.
The Chinese community played an important part in the construction of the waterway and in the shaping of the country as well. Panama, because of its historical reliance on commerce, is above all a melting pot. This is shown, for instance, by its considerable population of Chinese origin. Many Chinese immigrated to Panama from southern China to help build the Panama Railroad in the 19th century; their descendants number around 50,000. Starting in the 1970s, a further 80,000 have immigrated from other parts of mainland China as well.
Chinese are hard-working people. Gradually they have become owners of small mom-and-pop stores, dry cleaners and restaurants. El Chinito de la esquina (the Chinese on the corner) referring to a neighborhood store, is a common expression in Panama. They are appreciated by the Panamanian people and contribute significantly to the progress of their host country.
Below is a picture of a young Chinese woman with a warm smile cutely wrapped in red. She was promoting Bimbo products at a Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in Panama City, Panama. Take a look.