The role played by the Azuero region in Spanish independence

Azuero was a strategic location in the Spanish expansion to the interior of the isthmus and a place of rich minerals and fertile soil, but the peninsula also played an important role in helping Panama gain its independence from Spain.

Bellin’s Map of the Isthmus, 1754


The independence revolution began to speed up when the first newspaper in the isthmus, called Miscelánea, appeared in 1820. This newspaper circulated through all the towns in the isthmus, and was filled with ideas about independence and “wise” examples from the French Revolution. In addition to these ideas about liberty expressed in Miscelánea there were the examples of other recently revolutions and the bureaucracy of the governments on the isthmus. Don Francisco Gómez Miró joined the liberal movement and found support in the provinces (called political parties at that time), of Natá, La Villa, and Santiago. Gómez was joined by the patriot Don Segundo de Villarreal and a group of heroic santeño volunteers armed with machetes, sticks, and some guns. They raided the jails and freed political prisoners who shared their desire for freedom. The town called for a public Town Council Meeting in order to deliberate and write the record of its historic initiative. The president of the Town Council, Julián Chávez, listened to their requests and they had a historic meeting in the Council House. From this memorable meeting came the November 10, 1821 Act called The First Cry of Independence. This historic gesture commanded by the leader Don Segundo de Villarreal was the first encouraging event on the journey of Azuero’s independence from Spain.


Author: Irving Vergara