Los Santos Province

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Coordinates: 7°30′N 8°20′W / 7.500°N 8.333°W / 7.500; -8.333

Los Santos Province
Provincia de Los Santos
Province
Panamá-Playa.JPG
Panama - Los Santos.svg
Country Panama
Capital city Las Tablas
Area
 • Total 3,809.4 km2 (1,470.8 sq mi)
Population (2010 census)
 • Total 89,592
 • Density 24/km2 (61/sq mi)
Time zone Eastern Time (UTC-5)
ISO 3166 code PA-7

Los Santos is a province of Panama, reaching from the La Villa river in the North to the Pacific Ocean in the south and east. It is part of Azuero Peninsula, bounded by province of Herrera to the north and northeast and Mariato disctrict in Veraguas to the West. The City of Las Tablas is the capital and most populous city; seven other disctricts of Los Santos, Guararé, Las Tablas, Macaracas, Pedasi, Pocrí and Tonosí are under the jurisdiction of Los Santos Province Governorate. Los Santos' area is 3 809.4 km ², and its population is about 89,592 inhabitants.

In this region are the oldest human settlements in the Isthmus of Panama. It was part of the cultural region of Gran Cocle where one of the first ceramic styles of the Americas developed. The first Europeans to explore Los Santos were the Spanish in 1515 under the command of Gonzalo de Badajoz. Upon the arrival of Europeans the area was ruled by the cacique Antataura or Cutara, and was known as the Land of Mr. Paris or Parita from Ngäbere Bari-ta meaning Confederation of Peoples, having under his control six other Indian chiefdoms: Guararí, Quemá, Chiracoitia, Huere, Guanata and Usagaña. The only province that was not under his dominion was Escoria. Gaspar de Espinosa succeeded in conquering and annexing Pariba to the Spanish Empire in 1516, decimating nearly all of the native population.

Geographically, Los Santos is located in the 'Arco Seco', name given to the strip of land between the Gulf of Panama and the Central Mountain range which includes areas of the provinces of Cocle, Herrera and Veraguas in the south of the Isthmus of Panama. It's climate is mainly a tropical savanna climate with moderate temperatures, strongly influenced by the winds of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the mountains, and the Humboldt Current. The average annual rainfall is 1,200 mm, allowing the growth of either dry or humid rainforest. Its highest point is located at the peak of Cerro Hoya with 1559 metres. Other major peaks are Cambutal hill (1400 metres) and Mount The Ñopos (1068 metres).

The modern province of Los Santos, was created in January 1945 replacing the defunct province of Azuero according to Cabinet Decree No. 13, leaving its territorial regime regulated by the second chapter of the Law 58 of July 29, 1998, losing the Territory of Quebro in this process.

Although Los Santos closely shares its political and social history with the rest of Panama, and the vast majority of the population speaks Spanish, the province has retained a distinct cultural identity. Los Santos' culture is the result of the passage of different peoples and civilizations that, over time, have shaped a particular cultural identity. These people, some very different from each other, have been slowly leaving an imprint seated among the inhabitants. It is one of the last regions in Panama where Spanish voseo is the standard form for use.

Toponymy[edit]

As is common in most of Panama, the province took its name from its ancient capital, La Villa de Los Santos. Founded on November 1569, All Saints' Day, takes its name from this Catholic celebration. The Day of All Saints is a Christian tradition instituted in honor of All Saints, known and unknown, as Pope Urban IV, to compensate for any lack of the feasts of the saints during the year by the faithful. It has roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain or Samain. The Saints (<Latin sanctus, -i; ['chosen by God']) are distinguished men and women in the various religious traditions for their alleged special relationship with the gods.

Geography and natural history[edit]

The mainland of Los Santos comprises most of the southern portion of the Azuero Peninsula, which lies in the south of Panama and two main islands, Iguana Island and Cañas Island, and the small Isla Frailes del Norte and Isla Frailes del Sur. The total area is 3,809.4 km2 with 214 km2 of coast shores, comparable to the size of Cape Verde. Los Santos's border with Herrera to the north, runs along La Villa river, which exerts a natural border, although both sides of the river show the same landscape. The Pacific ocean borders the south and east with a large area of coastline, giving it a major maritine landscape. Finally, Mariato disctrict west border is characterized by its mountainous natural shape, separating the Gulf of Montijo in Veraguas from the valleys of Tonosi.

Climate[edit]

Located in the Tropics, Los Santos has a rainy season which stretches from May to November, and a dry season extending from late November to early May. According to Köppen climate classification, the province of Los Santos has a tropical savanna climate Awi. The southeast of Los Santos is usually warmer and drier than the west, owing to the influence of Pacific ocean currents and altitude. Rainfall varies widely across Los Santos. The eastern highlands of Los Santos are the wettest, with annual rainfall in a few places like Cerro Hoya and Canajagua exceeding 4,000 mm. In comparison, much of lowland Los Santos receives less than 1200 mm annually. Temperatures range range between 23 ° C and 32 ° C on the coast, with a minimum of 14 ° C in the mountain region. These variations are caused by the mountains of Azuero range and rainfall that occur over very short distances.

Districts[edit]

The province is divided in 7 districts:

History[edit]

In 1850, the province of Azuero was created in honor of Vicente de Azuero y Plata. In 1855, with the establishment of the "Estado Federal de Panamá", the province was divided into the departments of Los Santos and Herrera. After the union with Colombia, and later with Panama becoming a sovereign state, Los Santos underwent many political and administrative changes. In 1941, with the presidency of Ricardo A. de la Guardia (1941–1945), Los Santos and Herrera were established as one province, named Los Santos. By the Decreto de Gabinete N° 13 of January 8, 1945; Herrera and Los Santos became two different provinces.

Tourism[edit]

There are many well-renowned beaches, as found in Venado, Achotines, and Guararé. There are also beaches on the island, Isla Iguana, known for its blue water and white sand. The island is 25 minutes by boat from Pedasí. There are also parks here, such as the national park Cerro Hoya. There are also museums like the: Museum of Nationality (Museo de la Nacionalidad), the Museum Belisario Porras and the Museum Manuel F. Zarate. There is also an arqueological site here called the Sitio Arqueologico Cerro Juan Diaz. There is also the Church of San Antonio and the Church of Santa Librada (made on March 1872). In 1958, a fire burned the Santa Librada's roof.

Culture[edit]

Las Tablas is the capital of the province, one of its biggest attractions is the church of Santa Librada, considered a national monument.

The city lives all its splendor during the Carnival celebration that lasts 4 days and 5 nights, being the headquarters city of Las Tablas Best Carnival of the republic, where one of the main attractions of the carnival in Las Tablas, are famous or culecos mojadera, which is sprayed with water (clean and purified) to the participants of this activity from sisternas cars (especially pre-sterilized for this activity) located throughout the park and surrounding streets are where the carnival, while can admire the tour of the queens of both streets, street up and down the street on spectacular floats, and suitable for this activity packed day, with the notes of the contagious and famous and well known murgas of Panama (which also have its epicenter in the town of Las Tablas, where the best murgas the country), do jumping and dancing for joy to young and old alike, unable to contain her joy and excitement following the queen with the most sympathetic all day without stopping or until the forces accompanying the activity takes place during four days of carnival, another attraction of this carnival is wasteful luxury and splendor of the costumes shown in the queens and their ladies, and the designs and finishes epectaculares floats of both daytime (from culecos or mojaderas) and evening, reaching its greatest splendor Carnival on Monday, his grace and charm of women represented in their Tableña and queens in ladies of his court to make the carnival Tableño one of the best and most famous carnavals the world.

Another well-known celebration is Corpus Christi, a religious holiday which dates its beginnings to the colonial era. It commemorates the institution of the Eucharist in the mix with pagan festivals represented by different dance, which today form part of the folklore of the region, this activity takes place in the City of La Villa de Los Santos.

Los Santos is the place to see the beautiful hand-woven Polleras, the typical costume of Panama. Here you will find artisans who make masks of the famous "Diablicos".

Notable People[edit]

  • Ramiro Mendoza, former Major League Baseball player