The islands could be rendered uninhabitable by sea level rise in the late 21st century.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the Guna wore few clothes and decorated their bodies with colorful designs. When encouraged to wear clothes by the missionaries, they copied these designs in their molas, which they wore as clothing.
The Guna worship a god named Erragon, whom they believe came and died just for the Guna people. Driven off Panama during the Spanish invasion, the Guna fled to the surrounding 378 islands. Today their chief lives on an island called Acuadup, which means "rock island". Many Guna are hunters and fishermen. On some of the islands, children can attend school. Most of the men now speak Spanish, although the women carry on older traditions.
From 1679 to 1681, William Dampier started and ended his first journey with privateers and pirates in these islands which he called "The Samballoes," a rendezvous-place for pirates, convenient for hiding and privacy.