Revolution & History




Historical memory, locates the origins of the Kuna people, across the plains of the Lower Atrato. Where migrated to other tributaries of the river as a result of the constant clashes with neighboring peoples, the epidemics that struck the region and the pressure of the Spanish in the sixteenth century.

At the time of the Spanish Conquest, the Kuna elders lived in the Darien rainforest. They met for over 250 years the pressure of the Spanish attempts to colonize the Darien, get the gold from the area and submit the Kunas to its political control. Despite this, in early nineteenth century, the Kuna controlled large areas of the Darien region. This territorial control and independence of the Kuna dule was due largely to cultural cohesion, social and political life of their people, expressed through knowledge of its history, the will, capacity and ability to change their society to adversity and pirate alliances with Europeans (English, French, Dutch and Scottish).


They later moved to the river "Guguna" today Cucuta, from there moved to "Iba Gen" or "Guenadgan Diuar" River Basin. Then they moved to the Atrato River region and from there to Tanela-Darien, currently live in the Kuna Yala Shire, Madugandii County in the province of Panama, Wargandii County and communities in Darien Paya and Pucuro. In Colombia remains two communities, Arquia and Cayman. Until 1903, all these communities were united into one territory called "Tulenega County, " which as a result of the separation of Panama from Colombia, subject to new product divisions of the new territorial organization of the Panamanian State, and the traditional fragmented regions occupied by the Kuna, keeping apart, four villages Kuna, Kuna Yala, Madungandí, Wargandi and Dakarkunyala.




The Kuna revolution began on February 21, 1925 when an armed group attacked the Panamanian police stationed on the islands of Tupile and Ukupseni. The police had been involved in the violent suppression of Kuna cultural practices and had been abusing the populations of various communities. The revolution was led by NELE KANTULE of Ustupu and SIMRAL COLMAN of Ailigandi. It took place after many meetings with the Panamanian government and even a delegation to the United States.


The flag of Kuna Yala was adopted in 1925, and is based on a swastika design, an ancient symbol in Kuna culture. A number of variations on the flag have existed over the years; red top and bottom bands instead of orange were previously used, and in 1942 a ring was added to the centre of the flag to differentiate it from the symbol of the Nazi party (this version subsequently fell into disuse). To this day, different versions of the flag are used on different islands. The flag is most often seen on the islands which were directly involved with the revolution, such as Ustupu, Aligandi, and Ukupseni.


The autonomous status of the Kuna was officially recognized in 1930 in response to political pressure by Kuna leaders. The Comarca of Kuna Yala was established in 1938, under the name of Comarca de San Blas. The comarca was formed from the provinces of Colón and Panamá. The governmental structure of Kuna Yala is defined in the Carta Orgánica, of Law 16 of 1953.



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