Panama hats do not originate from Panama, but from Ecuador. Manufacturing of the hats started in the 1600s, and two centuries later they started being exported via Panama. Being lightweight, and making excellent sunshades, they became known as Panama Hats. They became increasingly popular during the 19th Century with workers building the Panama Canal. The art of weaving the toquilla palm straw was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists in December 2012. The quality of the hats is based on the number of weaves per square inch – with the Montecristi being known as the very best.
Charles & Marc