Why the name "Panama Hat", if this hat comes from Ecuador? During the construction of the Panama Canal, workers from all over the world acquire Ecuadorian straw hats to protect themselves from the sun. Panama serves as a commercial showcase for South America. The straw hat is called "Panama hat" despite its Ecuadorian origin. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt wore this hat during his visit to the Canal construction sites and helped to popularize this hat, previously traditionally called “Sombrero de Paja Toquilla” (toquilla straw hat). Parisians quickly adopted this elegant headgear at the start of the 20th century.