In many ways, Panama is the crossroads of the world. Over the years, people from all over the world have found their new home here, launching new communities.
A recent article in The Greek Reporter serves as a vivid reminder. The writer focuses on the Greek community in Panama and the lengthy ties between the two countries. There is a Greek school, a Greek Orthodox Church, Greek festivals, and many elements of Greek culture in the country, representing years of families that have immigrated to Panama.
The first Greeks went to Panama in the late 1800s, many due to the construction of the Panama Canal, Kerry Kolasa-Sikiaridi writes in the article. There were not many Greek families, but they stuck together and formed a community.
“Panama was a very American friendly country because of the Panama Canal,” Antonio Taquis, whose grandparents immigrated to Panama from the Greek village of Dorio. So they went there, they liked it, they stayed….For them, Panama was a contrasting country in terms of the language, in terms of the people there.”
Taquis’ father had the foresight to invest in real estate and properties in Panama and established a new family legacy. Antonio is a shipping agent and served as Panama’s ambassador to Greece.
For many Greeks, Panama became more appealing after they found the United States in the midst of financial depression and wanted to find better opportunities. Sound familiar?
“Even though there are not a lot of Greeks remaining in Panama, the community has made its mark, with the grandchildren of immigrants integrating and contributing to society, becoming lawyers, doctors, teachers, and very successful businessmen the Greek Reporter article states.