Separation of Panama from Colombia


Date: November 3, 1903, Panama City.

The Separation

The union with Colombia, far from helping to improve the living conditions of residents on the Isthmus, had deteriorated them in a palpable way. Such conditions were further aggravated by the devastation caused by the Thousand Day War, which was but the cause of greater misery for the population of this territory.

The execution of Victoriano Lorenzo, the Liberal leader who had refused to accept the peace of Wisconsin, spurred on the idea of final separation for the Isthmus of Panama.

On July 25, 1903, General José Vásquez Cobo, Panama's military commander and brother of the Minister of Colombian War at that time, ordered an assault on the publisher of the El Lápiz newspaper, where the shooting of Lorenzo had been narrated in detail, along with some veiled protests over the incident.

This act provoked Cobo's departure from Panama and led Panamanian Liberals to finally realize that they had no guarantee or security under the Colombian Conservative regime, pushing them to join the ranks of the secessionist conspiracy.

Declaration of Independence

On November 3, 1903, independence was proclaimed in Panama City, a decision that was immediately backed in the rest of the country, and the Panamanian society declared this territory a sovereign independent state under the name of the Republic of Panama. The historical document that stated this proclamation, the Declaration of Independence of the Isthmus, was written that historic morning of the third by the very leader of the revolution, José Agustín Arango, to an eminent Panamanian jurist who was a prominent figure in the country's Liberal Party and political life, Dr. Carlos Antonio Mendoza.