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Panama is a Central American isthmus connecting North and South America. It is situated between Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Formerly, Panama consisted of a single republic, the southernmost country in Central America. The capital was Panama City. Today, Panama is divided into numerous states and no-man's-lands.
Explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century, Panama broke with Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, known today as the Republic of Gran Colombia. When the latter dissolved in 1830, Panama remained part of Colombia. With US backing, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903. The Panama Canal was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914.
In 1968 a military junta, led by Brigadier General Omar Torrijos, took over the country. In 1977, Torrijos and President Jimmy Carter signed an agreement for the complete transfer of the Canal from the US to Panama by the end of the century. In 1981 Torrijos was killed in a plane crash under suspicious circumstances. By 1983, General Manuel Norriega was in the process of consolidating his control of the country. The United States still maintained a major presence in the Canal Zone.
The destruction of Panama City on Doomsday threw the country into anarchy. With the government and the canal no longer operating, the country soon fractured. Today Panama is divided into four distinct political regions:
West Panama is a diverse place that is home to several communities of survivors.