On 15 March 1503, Vasco da Gama, crossing from India to East Africa, sighted what was almost certainly Silhouette Island and the next day, Desroches Island. The granitic islands began to appear on Portuguese charts as the Seven Sisters.
A year later Christopher Columbus on his fourth voyage, sailing south and eastward from upper Central America, explored Bocas del Toro, Veragua, the Chagres River and Portobelo (Beautiful Port) which he named.
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