Panama Hats are NOT from Panama!
The true name of these beautiful hats is "Sombrero de Paja Toquilla" or in English "Toquilla Straw Hat" and they come from Ecuador.
Archeological evidence suggest that these hats origin data around 4,000 B.C. and were handwoven by the Valdivia Culture in the coast of Ecuador, where the Manabi province is today.
Over the years, the weavers of these master pieces, perfected the craft.
At the beginning, these hats did not really look like hats but instead they looked like "Tocas" a name given by the Spanish conquistadores for the resemblance of the head covering crafts worn by priests and nuns at the time.
These Toquilla Tocas were head covering gear that protected the head and shoulders of those who worn them, from the hot Ecuadorian sun and eventually evolved to hats with brims as we know them today.
History tells us that, conquistadores Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro were the ones who first encounter the Valdivians wearing these hats. When they first saw them, they were very impressed by its fine weave and they even thought that these were made of "Vampire Skin".
These mystical hats are part of Ecuador's and the World's history and have always been known as "The Finest Hats in The World" until today.
On December 5 2012, UNESCO included the traditional weaving of the Ecuadorian "Sombrero de Paja Toquilla" on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Weavers getting "Paja Toquilla" ready for weaving.
100% Handwoven by Master Weavers for generation...