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Separation Day 2023: History, FAQs, Activities, Dates, and Facts About Panama

When they won independence from their colonizer, Spain, in the nineteenth century, Panama and Colombia were a single nation known as Gran Colombia or New Grenada.

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Separation Day 2023 History, FAQs, Activities, Dates, and Facts About Panama

Separation Day 2023: Separation Day, also referred to as Panama’s National Day, is annually observed on November 3. It signifies the transition of Panama from Colombia to a sovereign republic. When they won independence from their colonizer, Spain, in the nineteenth century, Panama and Colombia were a single nation known as Gran Colombia or New Grenada. However, it was the proposition to construct the Panama Canal across the Isthmus of Panama—a proposition that Colombia opposed but Panama was amenable to—that ignited Panama’s revolution against Colombia. Constraints of opinion ultimately led to the formation of this nation’s republic, as was the case with the majority of significant revolutions.

The History of Independence Day

In 1903, to commemorate Panama’s independence from the South American nation of Colombia, Separation Day was instituted. It is noteworthy that Panama already observes its own Independence Day on November 28, commemorating the date of its liberation from Spanish rule in 1821. Simon Bolivar, one of the most renowned leaders in South American history, spearheaded that rebellion. A Venezuelan leader, he fueled the flames of revolution and facilitated the independence of Colombia and Panama from Spain, in addition to Ecuador and Venezuela, among other South American nations.

Panama was incorporated into the Republic of Greater Colombia (or Gran Colombia) upon its independence from Spanish authority. Notwithstanding this momentous achievement of liberation from Spanish rule, the Panamanians remained discontent. With an enduring desire for self-governance, they came dangerously close to achieving independence from Columbia in 1831, the year Ecuador and Venezuela severed ties with the Republic of Greater Colombia.

The Panama Canal project was conceived in the late 1800s when the French determined that constructing a canal across the Isthmus of Panama would be an excellent method to gain access to the Pacific Ocean. Nonetheless, the French abandoned the endeavor due to its failure. At that moment, the United States also intervened and endeavored to finalize construction; however, they encountered resistance from the Colombian government. As a result, it was advantageous for the United States to provide assistance to the Panamanian separatist movement, given the dispute between Colombia and Panama concerning the United States’ authority to construct and manage the canal.

With assistance from the United States, Panama achieved its independence from Colombia in 1903. Panama ratified the “Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty” at that time, which acknowledged the Republic of Panama’s independence and permitted the United States to recommence work on the Panama Canal. Panama supported the canal on the grounds that it would contribute to an improvement in their socioeconomic situation. The Panama Canal was finished in 1914, and by 1999, it had been transferred in its entirety to the Government of Panama by President Jimmy Carter.

Presently, Panama’s motto is “Pro Mundi Beneficio” (meaning “For the benefit of the world”). The importance of the Panama Canal in facilitating global trade and other commercial activities lends support to this argument. Such is the depth of their patriotism that many Panamanians have even adopted ‘Patria’ (‘Motherland’) by Ruben Blades as their unofficial national anthem. An activist and musician from Panama, Blades’s 1988 single ‘Patria’ explores the significance of the term ‘homeland’.

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FAQs on Separation Day 2023

What factors contributed to Colombia’s loss of Panama?

Following the Colombian government’s rejection of the United States’ proposal to construct the Panama Canal, a faction in Panama stood up and led a revolt, ultimately resulting in the country’s independence. Their uprising was effective due to the support of the Panama Canal Company, a French-American joint venture, as both countries considered the construction of the Panama Canal across the Isthmus of Panama to be in their best interests.

What are the reasons for Panama’s dual Independence Days?

Due to its history of being under the control of two different countries—Columbia and Spain—Panama observes two independence days. As a result, two distinct independence days occur.

The rescuers of Panama?

‘El Libertador’ (‘The Liberator’) Simon Bolivar was the individual responsible for liberating Panama from Spanish authority. Between 1819 and 1822, Panama and Colombia separated as a single entity known as Gran Panama. Bolivar was a Venezuelan leader renowned in South American history not only for securing independence for his nation, but also for securing independence for Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama.

Separation Day 2023 Activities

Commence a “fiesta”

If it is impracticable for you to travel to Panama in order to participate in the general festivities, including parades and pyrotechnics, you can always celebrate in your own location. A considerable number of Panamanians don their traditional garb and perform cultural performances such as ‘El Tamborito.’ Become jubilant by perusing the entire shebang; naturally, no celebration is complete without sustenance.

Make arrangements for your upcoming vacation.

In addition to its 365 islands, Panama is endowed with an abundance of natural fascination. Therefore, why not arrange your subsequent family vacation (or individual excursion) to one of these awe-inspiring islands, characterized by turquoise waters and azure skies? We advise you to retrieve your piggy bank immediately.

Immerse oneself in the culture of Panama.

Similar to other countries, Panama boasts a profound cultural and historical heritage that compels curiosity. Whether it be literature, music, art, rituals, cuisine, or any other cultural artifact, we strongly advise you to begin your journey immediately. We have already advised that you listen to Ruben Blades.

Five Panama facts that will have you packing

An evening lapse into two oceans

Panama is the only location on the planet where the sunrise and sunset occur in opposite directions.

It was the first time Coca-Cola had traveled outside the United States.

Panama was the first nation to distribute Coca-Cola subsequent to the United States.

Numerous species of biodiversity

The second largest rainforest in South America is located within the urban boundaries of the capital city of Panama.

Currency simplified

Pan American Airways was the first nation in South America to employ the United States dollar as its official currency, much to the delight of American tourists.

The marvel of the universe

The Panama Canal contributes one-third of the country’s gross domestic product and is regarded as one of the “Seven Modern Wonders of the World.”


Year Date Day
2023 November 3 Friday
2024 November 3 Sunday
2025 November 3 Monday
2026 November 3 Tuesday
2027 November 3 Wednesday