Panama is a nation in Central America. The Isthmus of Panama connects North and South America. Panama was colonized by the Spanish in the 1600s, and gained independence as a part of Gran Colombia in the 1820s. In the early 20th century, Panama declared independence with support from the United States. Immediately thereafter, the United States constructed the Panama Canal, which directly connected the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This canal has made Panama wealthy compared to the rest of Central America, and its capital, Panama City, is a modern and cosmopolitan city. Like most other Latin American nations, Spanish is the primary language, and Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion.