Lying at the crossroads of the North and South American continents and
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans Panama is of immense strategic importance.

This has made it a target for intervention by the US which in 1989 invaded Panama to depose a former ally Manuel Noriega and until 1999 controlled the Panama Canal.

Panama has the largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere outside the Amazon Basin and its jungle is home to an abundance of tropical plants animals and birds – some of them to be found nowhere else in the world.