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Why is it called a Panama Hat?

Panama Hats are actually made in Ecuador!  The canal workers during the excavation in Panama were early adopters of these fine and practical hats.  Panama Canal workers often wore the hats as they are lightweight and offer maximum sun protection because of the wide brims.

Teddy Roosevelt waving Panama Hat
Teddy Roosevelt- Panama Hat

Theodore Roosvelt wearing a Panama Hat
Theodore Roosvelt and his Panama Hat

Additionally in the year 1906, US President Teddy Roosevelt was photographed at the Panama Canal excavation, he was sitting at the helm of a huge steam shovel.  The photo is quite startling and there sits Teddy in a guessed it....a Panama Hat!    This greatly popularized the term "Panama Hat" and these hats without their Ecuadorian name of origin started to be sold in large quantities in the USA and throughout the entire world.  The hats were and still are woven by hand in Ecuador by skillful weaver artisans that actually select the palm leaves, split them, dry and bleach them and weave them into beautiful hat bodies.  Further work on these gorgeous treasures is done by artisans that block and finish them. The Hat House as well as other artisans block and finish these woven gems.
Theodore Roosevelt excavating on Steam Shovel with Panama Hat
Teddy Roosevelt at Helm of Steam Shovel Panama excavation with his hat