On Coiba Island, Panama, a Convict Carries Coconuts

ID: SIA2010-0512 and Wetmore # 6010

Creator: Wetmore, Alexander 1886-

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: February 2, 1956

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

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Summary

On Coiba Island, Panama, a convict of the penal colony there, carries on his shoulder 5 drinking coconuts or "pipas" to take to Smithsonian Secretary and ornithologist Alexander Wetmore and colleagues who were on the island. Also on the left are three men, two sitting on a bench and one standing. The image was taken by Secretary Wetmore while on a scientific expedition to Panama to study birds.

Category

Historic Images of the Smithsonian

Notes

From 1919 to 1991, Coiba Island, Panama, was a penal colony. Fear of the prison and its inmates deterred visitors from the island; thus some 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 Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore's scientific expedition to study birds. 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 Island National Park, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) 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

February 2, 1956

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions

Topic

  • Correctional institutions
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Architecture
  • Reformatories
  • Coconut
  • Islands
  • Penal colonies
  • Prisoners
  • Food
  • Buildings--Panama
  • Panamanians

Place

  • Coiba Island
  • Veraguas
  • Panama
  • Coiba Island (Panama)

Form/Genre

  • Photographic print
  • Group, candid

ID Number

SIA2010-0512 and Wetmore # 6010

Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and White; Size: 4.75 x 4.5; Type of Image: Group, candid; Medium: Photographic print

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