How Las Tablas Got Its Name


jolly roger photo: Hoist the Jolly Roger 171.jpg“Hoist the Jolly Roger” A Photobucket Photo

It’s just past nightfall, that point in time where it’s hard to see what is truly happening. Picture a group of angry peasants armed with clubs and very sharp machetes pouring onto a beach on the western coast of the Azuero Penninsula. Their targets are the some half-drowned, exhausted, ship-wrecked pirates, who have been plaguing the coast. Scavengers following the example of Captain Morgan who savaged the City of Panama in 1671.

When the pirates lie about bloody and dismembered, and any man still standing is covered in blood-spray and panting from exertion (just like in the movies), the peasants wipe their machetes and begin cleaning off the beach. By torchlight they strip what is left of the ship of everything usable, and then dismember the ship itself, carrying the boards of which it was composed back to their settlement, to a place that will one day bear the name of Las Tablas, which means “The Boards.”

Nah, that’s hooey. The part about the pirates, that is. What’s more true is that there was indeed a shipwreck, and one of people watching from the land probably said to the others (but in Spanish), “Hey, look at all the tablas (boards) from that ship lying around broken on the beach, just going to waste. I sure could use a few to improve my house. What say we go pick them up?”

There was a chorus of Si, Si. Or the equivalent. And some arguing, because there is always some arguing. But Si, Si won the round.

So the people went down and cleaned up the mess on the beach and took all the useful stuff home, mostly las tablas (boards).

And THAT, o best beloved, is how Las Tablas got its name.