Founded as a Spanish colony in 1510 by Diego de Nicuesa, it was one of the first European settlements on the Isthmus of Panama and it is currently the oldest, continually populated town in Panama. Originally a major port of call for the Spanish treasure fleet, Nombre de Dios was situated near an unhealthy swamp, and was nearly impossible to fortify. Francis Drake sacked the colony in June of 1572, and ambushed the "Silver Train", a mule convoy carrying a fortune in precious metals, in April of the following year.
By the 17th century Nombre de Dios had been all but abandoned by the Spanish, and its importance to the treasure fleets had been surpassed by Puerto Bello. The town still exists today, though it is nowhere near as large as it was in the 16th century.
Nombre de Dios is mentioned by Derek Walcott in The Prodigal:
Caravels slid over the horizon.
The flags of the sea-almonds wilted
and yard-smoke drifted, forked as Drake's beard,
sacker of Nombre de Dios. (p. 46)