Skip to main content


Portobelo, Porto Bello (both: pôr´tōbĕl´ō), or Puerto Bello (pwār´tō bā´yō), town, central Panama, on the Caribbean Sea. The site, an excellent harbor, was visited by Columbus. The town was founded in 1597. A thriving colonial city, it was connected by a stone highway with Panama city; both ports were the points of transshipment for riches from the Spanish Pacific domains. Believed impregnable—Sir Francis Drake died of fever before he could capture it and was secretly buried in the bay—Portobelo was, nevertheless, sacked by English buccaneers (William Parker in 1601, Sir Henry Morgan in 1688, and Edward Vernon in 1739). With the building of the trans-Panama railroad (1848–55) and finally the digging of the Panama Canal, Portobelo declined.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Portobelo." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 24 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Portobelo." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (March 24, 2019).

"Portobelo." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.