Penonomé was founded in 1581. The name of this town comes from the words "penó Nomé". Nome was a chief of a local native American tribe, who was put to death by the Spanish colonial officials. "Penó Nomé" means "Nome was executed." The town was the capital of Panama for a short period after Panama City was sacked by Henry Morgan in 1671.
The town is home to many descendants of Turkish, Chinese, and Arab immigrants.
Local legend (unknown origin) has it that Penonomé was a chieftain in love with an indigenous woman named Zaratí. His tribe didn't want him to marry and so told him that his beloved had drowned. Trying desperately and without success to find her, het threw himself from a bluff, crying out "I'm coming Zara!" Hence the names of the Zaratí River and Penonomé ("Nomé died" in the local dialect).
The Catedral de Penonomé and the municipal government office (Casa de Gobierno) are located on the town's central plaza. The town also has a small museum, El Museo de Penonomé, which is often closed. The town has two main shopping streets, Avenida Juan Demóstenes Arosemena and the Inter-American Highway along the edge of town.
Penonomé is served by buses to many locations in Panama.
- Contraloría General de la República, Censo 2010 http://www.censos2010.gob.pa/Resultados/cuadros.aspx (Spanish)
- Katzman, Patricia. Panama. Hunter Publishing (2006), p. 162. ISBN 978-1-58843-529-3.
- Panama Now. Focus Publications (1986), p. 19. OCLC 15925937.
Media related to Penonomé at Wikimedia Commons