A migration of indigenous Americans from the Bering Straight to Patagonia
brought the first humans to the isthmus. The earliest evidence of an existance
of humans in Panama date to approximately 11000 BC.
There exist many theories and legends, like "Donkin Kri" about
the origin of the Ngobe and Bugle peoples.
The arrival of the Europeans
1501: Rodrigo Galván de Bastidas is the first European to visit
the coast of the Istmus of Panama.
1513: Vasco Núñez de Balboa disvovered the "Sea of
the South" (Pacific Ocean)
In the territory that today is the Republic of Panama, there were many
more indigenous groups than exist today. However, as a result of contact
with the colonialists, many were eradicated by various causes.
The Spanish conquistidors were interested in discovering valuable minerals
and a route to India, and so at first did not take a great notice of the
Ngöbe y Buglé, who for the most part occupied the western
part of the country.
Expulsion and Extermination
The Buglé in habited a part or all of what are now the Provinces
of Veraguas, Herrera, Los Santos and Coclé.
In the following centuries, the Buglé, originally more numberous
than the Ngöbe, repeatedly confronted the invasions of the Spanish
under the leadership of the pround chiefs like the legendary Urraca.
These wars, however, reduced the population and ther political power,
and so they retreated to the mountains of Veraguas.
The Ngöbe lived in the fertile plains of the Pacific to the Carribean
shore until the 1930's, and did not confront the Spanish as much as the
Bugle did, but were still subject to the forces of colonialization. They
were displaced from their ancestrial land to the isolated mountains of
the Central Cordillera by multinational banana companies and land holders.
Throughout the ceturies, the Ngobe and Bugle have held traditional beliefs,
and many have also converted to Christianity and Bah'ai. In the 20th century
a Ngobe woman called Besiko (pronounced bessie GO) led a new religous
revolution that brought about the establishment of a religion based on
combining Ngobe traditions and Christianity. More
The Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca (autonomous region) is a product of
the efforts of diligent people who fought for more than 40 years to have
the Comarca established. What finally brought about the comarca were hunger
strikes and a protest where people walked 400km to the capitol. And so the
Law 10 of March 7, 1997, establishing the Comarca was signed in front of
more than 10,000 people in the historic community of Kankintu.
President Dr. Ernesto Balladares and the Minister Raúl Montenegro
sign the law establishing the Comarca