National Heroes of Panama


José Agustín Arango 

José Agustín Arango was born in Panama City on February 24, 1841, to a Cuban father and Isthmian mother. He died on May 10, 1909, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs of what is today the Republic of Panama, which was born of his spirit and efforts.

The revolutionary fervor remained in José Agustín Arango, but he managed to smooth out the roughness of partisan intolerance and exercised good judgement in managing to act without resorting to violence, characteristics that distinguished the leaders of that tumultuous era, by being resourceful with his power of speech to convince but not irritate nor stir up violence. He had never participated in any significant political activity before the events of the separation from Colombia.

Tomás Arias

He was born in Panama on December 29, 1856, the son of Ramón Arias Faraudo and Manuela Ávila. A businessman by profession, he studied in Panama, Jamaica, and the United States. Tomás Arias was one of the active figures in the emancipation movement in 1903. His eloquence and traits as a great orator earned him the appointment as a diplomat for the Isthmus of Panama.

During his political career he held several positions, as Treasury Administrator, Deputy of the Departmental Assembly (1882), Representative to the Colombian Congress, Senator in the Upper Chamber (1888-1892), Secretary of Government (1893-1900), Minister of Foreign Affairs, President of the National Assembly (1906), Minister of Panama in Mexico and Consul of Panama, and President of the Republic of Panama (1903-1904). Along with José Agustín Arango, he defended the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty, which represented for him the only guarantee of the construction of the interoceanic canal. Tomás Arias died at the age of 76 in Panama City on July 20, 1932.

Federico Boyd

The fourth President of the Republic of Panama, Boyd was born in Panama City on September 24, 1851 and died at the age of 73 on May 25, 1924. His parents were Archibaldo B. Boyd and María López de Boyd. He became a businessman and made a fortune, and then entered the political world. He is remembered as a patriotic lawyer who fought for his country regardless of the possible consequences.

In 1888 he was elected member of the Panama City Municipal Council. He was supported by important figures of the period, such as Pedro J. Sosa, Constantino Arosemena, and other distinguished people in the construction of many beneficial public works in the city, including the Plaza de Santa Ana, La Zahúrda, and El Matadero.

Porfirio Meléndez

He was born in 1854 and died in 1915. He served as a Colón City Hall officer, Chief of the Panamanian Police, Mayor of Colón, deputy to the National Assembly, and civil and military leader. Meléndez led the separatist movement of Colón in 1903 and was a key actor in the events of November 5 of that year, which sealed the secession of the Isthmus. His daughter was the heroine Aminta Meléndez.