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I spent lots of time in Ecuador in the eighties and nineties, and was even in the town of Jipijapa, where the Panama hats are made. Somehow, I failed to buy one, and I still regret that. I am sure I can get a Panama hat from hat shops in the US or online stores, but it would certainly have been nice to have bought one in the town where they are made. No idea why they are called Panama hats, though.
As I understand it, they came to be called Panama hats when Teddy Roosevelt wore one when he went to Panama to inspect the construction of the canal. (Trivia for the day: Teddy was the first US president to leave the country during his term of office.)
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