A Panamanian Convict on Coiba Island

ID: SIA2009-4262 or Wetmore Negative Number 6023

Creator: Wetmore, Alexander 1886-

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: January 6, 1956

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Alexander Wetmore Papers, Record Unit 7006, Box: 183, Folder Album: Panama and Coiba, 1956

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Summary

A Panamanian convict standing on the beach, Coiba Island, Panama, on January 6, 1956. There is a hut in the upper right corner of the image and palm trees are on the mound in the background.

Category

Historic Images of the Smithsonian

Notes

  • The image was taken by Smithsonian Secretary and ornithologist Alexander Wetmore while on a scientific expedition in Panama and Coiba Island. Wetmore Negative Number 6023.
  • This Panamanian man, a convict, who lived in the penal colony on Coiba Island, aided Wetmore on his expedition. He carried Wetmore's equipment and possibly Wetmore, while getting out of the water and onto the beach upon landing.
  • From 1919 to 1991, Coiba Island was a penal colony. Fear of the prison and its inmates deterred visitors from the island. As such, about 80% of the natural areas on the island remain undisturbed. The island is also host to many endemic species. Both of these factors made the island ideal for Wetmore's scientific expedition. The officers and convicts pictured in Wetmore's images from the expedition were part of the penal colony. Some even worked as laborers for the expedition. Today, the island is no longer a penal colony. Instead, it is one of 38 islands composing Coiba National Park, a World Heritage Site.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Alexander Wetmore Papers, Record Unit 7006, Box: 183, Folder Album: Panama and Coiba, 1956

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

January 6, 1956

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions

Topic

  • Scientific expeditions
  • Architecture
  • Beaches
  • School field trips
  • Islands
  • Natural areas
  • Penal colonies
  • Buildings--Panama
  • Field trips
  • Panamanians

Place

  • Panama
  • Coiba Island (Panama)

Form/Genre

  • Photographic print
  • Person, candid

ID Number

SIA2009-4262 or Wetmore Negative Number 6023

Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 4.75w x 4.5h; Type of Image: Person, Candid; Medium: Photographic print

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