Balboa Republic of Panama

The Balboa, the official currency of Panama, derives its name from the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Vasco Núñez de Balboa is renowned for being the first European explorer to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Americas. In 1513, he led an expedition across the Isthmus of Panama and was the first European to set eyes upon the Pacific Ocean, which he named the "South Sea" (Mar del Sur).

As Panama was part of the Spanish Empire during the colonial era, it adopted the Spanish currency system. When Panama gained independence from Spain in 1821, it became part of the Republic of Gran Colombia. However, it continued to use the Spanish colonial currency until it became fully independent in 1903.

In 1904, Panama officially adopted the United States dollar as its legal tender through the 1904 Panamanian Monetary Convention with the United States. Despite adopting the U.S. dollar as its official currency, Panama also introduced its own coinage, which was pegged to the U.S. dollar at a 1:1 ratio. These Panamanian coins came to be known as "Balboas" in honor of Vasco Núñez de Balboa's historic expedition across the isthmus.

Today, the Balboa remains in circulation alongside the U.S. dollar in Panama, with both currencies being used interchangeably for everyday transactions. The Balboa is subdivided into 100 centésimos, with coins denominated in Balboas and centésimos, while U.S. banknotes are commonly used for cash transactions.
Balboa coins are denominated in the same manner as U.S. dollars, with coins issued in 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centésimos, as well as 1 Balboa. These coins are identical in size, weight, and design to their U.S. counterparts, and they circulate alongside U.S. coins in Panama. The only difference is the inscription, which states "Republica de Panama" instead of "United States of America."
From time to time, Panama has issued commemorative coins featuring special designs or themes. These coins are often minted in precious metals like gold or silver and are sold to collectors rather than circulated for everyday use. Commemorative Balboa coins may feature significant historical events, national symbols, or famous figures from Panamanian history.
In addition to regular circulation coins and commemorative issues, Panama has occasionally released special edition Balboa coins for specific purposes. For example, there have been coins minted to celebrate anniversaries of national significance, such as the centennial of the Panama Canal.

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