Pan American Day is celebrated on April 14 each year. This is a day for us to remember the first International Conference of American States, which took place in Washington and resulted in the formation of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.) in 1948. The O.A.S. is the oldest regional organization of its kind in the world. Pan American Day celebrates the coming together of the Americas — the northern and southern American states. It also celebrates the various cultures and diverse traditions of the region. The day also reminds us to strive for better opportunities for all the states.
History of Pan American Day
The idea of an international union of the Americas was first brought up at the 1826 Congress of Panama by José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar. The aim was to create an alliance of American nations. At the time, however, it was decided that national interests were more important than the union of the various countries.
However, on April 14, 1890, the idea of having international solidarity among the Americas was reignited at the First International Conference of American States. This conference took place in Washington, D.C. with 18 member nations who decided to join the assembly. This was the beginning of the Organization of American States (O.A.S.). This organization was served by a permanent secretariat called the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics.
In the 1930s, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt organized an inter-American conference in Buenos Aires to talk about the need for a ‘League of Nations of the Americas.’ The members of this league would stay neutral in the event of any conflict. Members also adopted a system of collective security in response to the demands of the post-war situation. The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) was signed in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro.
Finally, after many subsequent conferences, April 1948 saw the birth of the O.A.S. with signatures from 21 American member countries. This particular conference in 1948 also approved and adopted the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which became the first human rights document in the world.
Pan American Day timeline
José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar introduce the idea of an international union of the Americas at the Congress of Panama.
The First International Conference of American States is held in Washington, D.C.
U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt organizes a conference to propose a ‘League of Nations of the Americas.’
The Organization of American States is established with signatures from 21 American member countries.
Pan American Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate Pan American Day?
Pan American Day is a day to celebrate the alliances we have with other countries in North and South America. It is an opportunity to be thankful for the many opportunities that we have.
Why is Pan American Day important in Belize?
In Belize, Pan American Day is also a day of celebrating the arrival of various cultural groups from the Yucatan. It was originally known as Columbus Day.
What do people do on Pan American Day?
Parades and shows are held on Pan American Day. People also set up exhibits.
How to Observe Pan American Day
Plan a vacation
There is no better way to celebrate this day than to go and visit other American states. Explore the variety of cultures that the Americas have to offer.
Increase your knowledge
If you are a reader, find the nearest bookstore and read up about the different historical periods and cultures of the Americas. You can also listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
Take a quiz
Find a fun quiz to take with your friends or family. Make sure it is about North and South America.
5 Interesting Facts About The Organization Of American States (O.A.S.)
The O.A.S. helps strengthen democracy
The organization oversees free and fair elections in its member states.
The O.A.S. strives for peace
The organization has initiated peace-keeping missions in places like Haiti and Guatemala.
The O.A.S. defends human rights
The O.A.S. monitors and generates reports on the human rights situations in member states.
The O.A.S. fosters free trade
It supports intracontinental free trade from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.
The O.A.S. stands for sustainable development
It promotes sustainable development to fight poverty and climate change.
Why Pan American Day is Important
It’s a chance to revisit the past
This day reminds us to go back in time and look at how this union came to be. It is necessary to remember the many contributions that this union has made to life as we know it in America.
It’s a reminder to have an attitude of gratitude
This day helps us to be grateful for having allies. We should also be grateful for the many diplomatic and political advantages of this union.
It celebrates diversity
Pan American Day celebrates various cultures and people from the Americas. It makes us appreciate the rich heritage and history of the many generations before us.
Pan American Day dates