History of Panama hat

Protagonists of the Guayaquil to Quito railroad project
At the beginning of the 20th century, two great engineering works are executed in our America. These will give impetus to trade, the trans-Andean train, with the most difficult and high railway line in the world in continental Ecuador and the Panama Canal.
These two wonders of his time, will give impetus to the export of the Ecuadorian handicraft icon, "the straw hat".

The Guayaquil & Quito Railway Company, a firm headed by General Eloy Alfaro and the Archer and John Harman brothers, made vehement progress in the construction of the railway line, which linked the Coast and the Sierra and which became the main country transportation.

From Panama the hat was internationally known and people began to call it “Panama Hat” even though the place of origin is Ecuador.

Between style and tradition

Panama hats first gained popularity in 1906. United States president Theodore Roosevelt had worn one of these hats—actually made in Ecuador, despite the name—when visiting the construction site of the Panama Canal, helping cement the Panama hat as an internationally recognized symbol of casual elegance.

 Roosvelt's classic Panama hat

Panama hats are the product of artisanal techniques passed down through the generations, representing extraordinary cultural heritage. The technique for weaving fine toquilla straw was even added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage on December 6, 2012.