Panama is a country located in Central America. Occupied by the Spanish, Panama broke free from the Spanish settlement in the 19th century but became a part of the union of the Nueva Granada, Ecuador, Venezuela and Republic of Gran Columbia. It was in 1903 that Panama finally separated from Columbia and declared its independence as a nation. Today the country is the fastest growing economy in Central America with a largest per capita consumer. Also, it ranks fifth in the Human Development Index in Latin American countries. Much of that has been due to its efficient and highly talented group of leaders who have led the country to the top. The Republic of Panama, similar to other American countries, follows a presidential representative democratic republic according to which the President of Panama is both the head of the state and the government. Manuel Amador Guerrero was the first President of Panama. Before taking up the coveted position, he played an instrumental role in the independence movement of Panama in 1903. Mireya Moscoso was the first female President of Panama. She was the wife of three-time Panama President Arnulfo Arias and played a crucial role in the handover of the Panama Canal from US to Panama. Juan Carlos Varela is the incumbent President of Panama. With this section, find out more about famous Panamanian leaders.