The provincial capital of Colón, beside the canal's Atlantic entrance, is named for the Spanish-language surname of Christopher Columbus, though the Americans called it Aspinwall in the 19th century. It was once a prosperous city, as the architecture of its older buildings attests, but it spent the second half of the 20th century in steady decay. Though the 21st century brought relief to the city’s chronic unemployment problems, much of it remains a slum, and crime is endemic.
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