La Paja Toquilla | Toquilla straw hat
La Paja Toquilla
Genuine Panama hats from Cuenca Ecuador
A Panama hat or just Panama is a traditional brimmed hat that is made from the plaited leaves of the panama-hat palm (Carludovica palmata). Despite the name, genuine Panama hats are made in Ecuador , not Panama . The origin of the name is uncertain. According to legend, the hat became associated with Panama during the construction of the Panama Canal in the early twentieth century. However, the Oxford English Dictionary cites a use of the term as early as 1834. When Teddy Roosevelt visited the Canal, he wore such a hat, which increased its popularity. The Ecuadorian town of Cuenca is the main producer; however, the town of Montecristi has the reputation of producing the finest quality hats. Glorified during the 19 th century, the panama has since been considered the prince of straw hats. Ecuadorian national hero and emblematic figure, Eloy Alfaro helped finance his liberal revolution of Ecuador through the export of panamas. The reputation of the hat was established by Napoleon III & Edward VII.