It seems I’m unintentionally having a bit of a Panama week here on Jaspa’s Journal.
On Wednesday, in the first of a two-part story about my recent visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Panama City, I described strolling around the original Spanish settlement, Panama Viejo. On Friday, I took you on a trip through the Panama Canal. And next Wednesday, I plan to conclude my Old Panama City mini-series, with a visit to Casco Viejo, the colonial town that succeeded Panama Viejo after it was sacked by pirates.
During my trip to South America last month, I saw Panama hats being made in the town where they originated. So when I saw that Ailsa’s (of Where’s My Backpack?) travel photo theme this week was Hats, I immediately thought… yes, you guessed it… Ecuador!
I’m sure I’m not the only person to assume ‘Panama’ hats are so called because that’s where they come from. Not so, our guide Mauro from Manta SOS Guide informed us. And just to prove it, took us to the small Ecuadorian town of Montecristi to see ‘Panama’ hats being made in the traditional way.
So why are they called Panama hats, if they come from Ecuador? As far as I can tell, there isn’t a single simple answer to this question. That said, the most important part of the tale seems to go something like this…
Back in the mid-1800s, a savvy Ecuadorian hat-maker realised there was a much bigger market for his product in Panama. Unfortunately, there was no way to put ‘Made in Ecuador’ on the hats back then, and people naturally associated them with the place they were bought. So the name ‘Panama hat’ was born, much to the continued annoyance of the Ecuadorians!
If you agree I’d look pretty good in a Panama hat – worn at a jaunty angle, of course – why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?
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