From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Coiba is the largest island in Central America, with an area of 503 square kilometers, off the Pacific coast of the Panamanian province of Veraguas. It is part of the Montijo District of that province.Coiba separated from continental Panama about 12,000 to 18,000 years ago when sea levels rose. Plants and animals on the new island became isolated from mainland populations and over the millennia most animals have diverged in appearance and behavior from their mainland counterparts. The island is home to many endemic subspecies, including the Coiba Island Howler monkey, the Coiba Agouti and the Coiba Spinetail. Coiba was home to the Coiba Cacique Indians until about 1560, when they were conquered by the Spanish and forced into slavery. In 1919 a penal colony was built on the island and during the years that Panama was under the dictatorships of Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, the prison on Coiba was a feared place with a reputation for brutal conditions, extreme tortures, executions and political murder. Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed in the prison during this period, but sources claim that the number could be close to three hundred. As such, the island was avoided by locals, and other than the prison, was completely undeveloped. After the prison was closed down in 2004, its pristine condition made it ideal as a reserve. It is one of the last places in Central America the Scarlet Macaw can be found in large numbers in the wild. The island is about 75% forested with a large fraction standing as ancient forest. Coiba Island is home to rare plant species found only on the island. As well, the island harbors tree species that have long disappeared from the mainland due to deforestation and overharvesting. The island was declared a National Park in 1992 and in July 2005, Unesco declared the entire Coiba National Park a "World Heritage Site".