Autoridad Nacional de Aduanas (ANA) (Panama)
The history of the exchange of merchandise through the Isthmus of Panama had its beginning in the year 1510, when Diego de Nicuesa founded the town of Nombre de Dios, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa, with the remains of the Ojeda expedition, founded Santa María La Antigua de Darién, the first permanent population on the American continent.
The city of Portobelo was founded on March 20, 1597 by Francisco Velarde y Mercado, replacing the city of Nombre de Dios, since it was disabled for climatic reasons. The original name was San Felipe de Portobelo in honor of Felipe II.
Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Portobelo became the first customs office in the New World and one of the most important ports for the export of silver from New Granada and the departure of the Fleet of the Indies. The gold that came to Panama from Peru was transported on mules through the Camino de Cruces, continuing along the Chagres River by small boats until reaching Portobelo, where it was shipped to Spain.
The city of Portobelo was also famous for its fairs lasting up to forty days, but when the hostility between England and Spain ended in the 18th century, commercial navigation through Cape Horn became secure, which led to the decline of Portobelo. In 1737 the last fair was held and the decline of the economy in the Isthmus ensued, which lasted until the discovery of gold in California and the construction of the Panama Railroad in 1855.
This boom caused by the discovery of gold in California, reaches its end when Greater Colombia assumes economic policies that include the increase of taxes with Law 103 of 1873 that affected the exchange of products in Panama. This situation ended with the start up of the Panama Canal.See more