By Robert Aguirre

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Europeans also introduced their advanced military equipment, cultural and religious conventions, and most significantly, contagious diseases to which people in North and South America had never been exposed. 13 Inferential evidence of massive population loss on the Isthmus of 12 Christopher C. Ward, Imperial Panama: Commerce and conflict in isthmian America, 1550–1800 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993). 13 Mark B. Bush, Dolores R. Piperno, Paul A. Colinvaux, Paulo E. De Oliveira, Lawrence A.

11 See Beu (2001). the environment of the isthmus of panama 23 narrow seaways across the Isthmus of Panama. The Pleistocene is significant because it was during the late Pleistocene epoch about 150,000 years ago when modern human beings began emigrating out of the African continent to Europe and Asia, crossing the Bering Sea ice bridge to North America and eventually across the Isthmus of Panama to South America. Evidence from sources like fossil pollen, phytoliths, diatoms, sediment chemistry, pigment-analysis, and clay mineralogy suggests that the landward spread of human beings out of the African continent had reached the Isthmus of Panama by about 11,000 years ago, although well-preserved archaeological finds of stone tools and weapons typically tend to date human occupation of Panama to earlier periods.

Introduction 15 Territoriality over a strait’s environment and everything that flows through it can occur by means of official executive orders, or by means of emergent group activities whereby people assert some sort of symbolic control over territory, even if they do not carry any official title or endorsement from a government. This latter aspect of territoriality allows for consideration of more than just government representatives at the diplomatic negotiating table. Territoriality describes groups of people acting for the welfare or defense of perceived social interests in contest with internal rivals and opposition, for example, during the student-led demonstrations during the 1960s involving planting the Panamanian flag in the Canal Zone.

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