He there beheld the Culebra and the Chagres; he saw the mountain and the stream, those two greatest obstacles of nature that sought to bar his route.
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.
The buccaneers to the number of 2000 began by seizing Chagres, and then marched to Panama in 1671.
The Chagres flows from a source near the Pacific south-west and then north to the Caribbean; is a little more than 100 m.
North-west to Cruces at the head of navigation on the Chagres River.