In the 16th century the city was the strongest Spanish fortress in the New World, excepting Cartagena, and gold and silver were brought hither by ship from Peru and were carried across the Isthmus to Chagres, but as Spain's fleets even in the Pacific were more and more often attacked in the 17th century, Panama became less important, though it was still the chief Spanish port on the Pacific. In 1671 the city was destroyed by Henry Morgan, the buccaneer; it was rebuilt in 1673 by Alfonzo Mercado de Villacorta about five miles west of the old site and nearer the roadstead.
Even the material benefits accruing from the union with Sardinia and the constitutional liberty accorded to all his subjects by King Charles Albert were unable to prevent the republican outbreak of 1848, when, after a short and sharp struggle, the city, momentarily seized by the republican party, was recovered by General Alfonzo La Marmora.
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