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In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index.Since 2010, Panama has been the second-most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.
The existence of the isthmus affected the dispersal of people, agriculture and technology throughout the American continent from the appearance of the first hunters and collectors to the era of villages and cities.The earliest discovered artifacts of indigenous peoples in Panama include Paleo-Indian projectile points.Later central Panama was home to some of the first pottery-making in the Americas, for example the cultures at Monagrillo, which date back to 2500–1700 BC.The best-known version is that a fishing village and its nearby beach bore the name "Panamá", which meant "an abundance of fish".
Captain Antonio Tello de Guzmán, while exploring the Pacific side in 1515, stopped in the small indigenous fishing town.When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia. In 1977 an agreement was signed for the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on December 31, 1999.