Religious corner

Their intermediate position, neither American nor Panamanian, caused a large dilemma up until the 1970s. In the end, many West Indians stayed in the country and added their culture to that of Panama while others returned to the islands or emigrated to the United States.

People came from all over the world — the United States, Europe, Asia, Panama, Latin America and the Caribbean — to work on canal construction but recruiters targeted West Indian laborers. According to the museum, more than 31,000 Afro-Caribbean people worked on the canal during the American construction with most coming from Barbados (19,900), Martinique (5,542), Guadalupe (2,053) and Trinidad (1,427).

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