On that day, nearly 200 Spaniards led by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and six hundred Indian porters climbed to the top of the highest ridge of Castilla de Oro. No, that’s not what happened: they were stopped by the commanding hand of the famous conquistador. He climbed to the top alone and saw, far away before him, … in short, he saw what no-one from the Old World had seen before. According to Vasco, it was the South Sea, but we, the enlightened, call it the Pacific Ocean. Incredulous, the Spanish went down from the ridge and tasted the water. The salty taste convinced them that it was indeed a sea.
Although some people take the palm from Balboa to give it to the Portuguese Antonio de Abreu who reached the disputed ocean from the west, the currency of Panama is still called the Balboa. Why Panama? Because we normally refer to Castilla de Oro as the Isthmus of Panama.