Hat History: Panama Hats

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Panama hats are known for being high quality and always hand woven. The craft was even added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2012 to protect the jobs and craftsmanship of the artists, so every hat that is labelled a true panama hat is guaranteed authentic.

The hat is actually not made in Panama but in Ecuador. It received their name because like most goods from South America in the 18th and 19th century, the hats were shipped to the Isthmus of Panama before being shipped worldwide.

The hat grew in popularity in the 19th century during the California Gold Rush when miners travelled to California through the Isthmus of Panama. The hats lightweight fibers and sturdiness made them excellent to protect miners from the California sun. Theodore Roosevelt was even photographed wearing one while building the Panama Canal in 1904.

Today the lightweight Panama Hat is still perfect for sunny, warm days. They come in tons of colors and styles from the traditional wide-brimmed fedora to floppy hat styles. But no matter what style you decide on, you'll be wearing an amazing piece of history and culture.

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