Taboga Island’s Early History. Taboga’s original name was ‘Aboga’, which means “an abundance of fish”.

The island is located on the Gulf of Panama, only 20 kilometers away from Panama City.

Taboga has a rocky ground that allows water that falls in the form of rain to permeate and accumulate it through its pores and cracks. This is how the island has freshwater wells that made the island a perfect place to live in.

Keep on reading to learn more about Taboga Island’s Early History.


Around 1510, just a couple of years after Colombus arrived to the American continent, the Spanish settled in the Darien area.

From Darien, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa departed to discover the route that led to the Pacific. Balboa left Darien on September 1st of 1513. He then observed the Pacific ocean, for the first time, on September 25th. Not very long after, he arrived to Taboga.

Before 1515 Taboga was inhabited only by indigenous Indians who fished for food.


After raiding and stealing the gold from every indigenous tribe he found on the way and intending to do the same. In 1515, Gonzalo Badajoz arrived at the Azuero Peninsula from Panama’s Atlantic Coast.

As Badajoz arrived at chief’s Paris settlement, the chief sent a group of messengers to give Badajoz a large gold peace offer. But instead of making him want to go away, the offer awoke his greed.

Badajoz attacked chief Paris, thinking he would have large amounts of gold but chief Paris managed to scape. Being one of the most influential chieftains in the area Paris managed to gather 4,000 Indians and battle Badajoz, who never expected the counter-attack.

Not only did Badajoz lost most of his soldiers but he also lost all the gold he had stolen from the Indian tribes.

He then had to escape from Chame sailing on some native Indian canoes he found on (stole from) the shore. He managed to arrive to Otoque, and then to Taboga.

Taboga’s Bay

Unlike The Old Panama, Taboga has a deep waters bay, deep enough for the sailing ships to drop anchor. Sailors would use Taboga to anchor and they would sails in a smaller vessel to the mainland if needed.

Let’s keep learning about Taboga Island’s Early History.

The founding of San Pedro

Before being called Taboga, it was first, San Pedro’s village was founded by Hernando de Luque, in 1524.

Hernando was a priest who dedicated his life to the village’s development as well as financing some expeditions that led to the Spanish conquest of South America.

Pizarro & Almagro

Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro sailed from Taboga and then arrived to Peru and Chile. These expeditions were financed by Hernando de Luque with the support of the Spanish crown.

Francis Drake & Henry Morgan

Many people think Henry Morgan was the first pirate to visit Taboga, however, Francis Drake made it to the island first.

The pirates not only raided the island but they also used it as a place to rest and stock for future trips.

El Morro

El Morro is a tiny island that is connected to Taboga by a sand bar that vanished during high tide.

As small as it is, at some point, it was worldwide known in the shipping industry. The Pacific Steamship Navigation Company purchased it around 1840 and brought Irish crews to work in the supply base.

The company had a fleet of twelve vessels, that transported passengers as well as cargo between Chile and Taboga.

If you liked Taboga Island’s early history you will for sure love the island! Come and discover all the amazing bits of lost history that lay in every corner of the island!

Book your tour today!