The first natives in Costa Rica were hunters, and gatherers, and Costa Rica served as an intermediate region between Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures.
Christopher Columbus first dropped anchor in Costa Rica in 1502 at Isla Uvita. Soon after, his forces overcame the indigenous people. He incorporated the territory into the Captaincy General of Guatemala as a province of New Spain in 1524. For the next 300 years, Costa Rica was a colony of Spain. As a result, Costa Rica's culture has been greatly influenced by the culture of Spain.During this period, Costa Rica remained sparsely developed and impoverished.
Following the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821), Costa Rica became part of the independent Mexican Empire in 1821. Subsequently, Costa Rica was part of the Federal Republic of Central America in 1813, before gaining full independence in 1821. Its economy struggled due to lack of connections with European suppliers. In 1856, Costa Rica resisted United States settlers from mounting a take-over of the government.
After 1869, Costa Rica established a democratic government.
After the Costa Rican Civil War in 1948, the government drafted a new constitution, guaranteeing universal suffrage and the dismantling of the military. Today, Costa Rica is a democracy that relies on technology and eco-tourism for its economy. Although poverty has declined since the turn of the 21st century, economic problems still exist. Costa Rica is facing problems of underemployment, foreign and internal debt, and a trade deficiency.
The oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica is associated with the arrival of groups of hunter-gatherers about 10,000 to 7,000 years BC, with ancient archaeological evidence (stone tool making) located in the Turrialba Valley, at sites called Guardiria and Florence, with matching quarry and workshop areas with presence of type clovis spearheads and South American inspired arrows. All this suggests the possibility that in this area two different cultures coexisted.
The people of this era were nomadic. They were organized in family-based bands of about 20 to 30 members. Their usual prey animals were called megafauna, such as giant armadillos and sloths, mastodons, etc. These became extinct about 8,000 years before the modern era. The first settlers had to adapt to hunting smaller animals and develop appropriate strategies to adjust to the new conditions.
In Pre-Columbian times, the Native Americans in what is now Costa Rica were part of a cultural complex known as the "Isthmo-Colombian area," between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultural regions.
The northwest of the country, the Nicoya Peninsula, was the southernmost point of Mesoamerican cultural influence when the Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) came in the sixteenth century. The central and southern portions of the country had Chibcha influences. The indigenous people have influenced modern Costa Rican culture to a relatively small degree. In the years soon after European encounter, many of the people died due to infectious diseases, such as measles and smallpox, which were endemic among the Europeans but to which they had no immunity.The Diquis culture flourished from 700 CE to 1530 CE and were well known for their crafts in metal and stonework.
The colonial period began when Christopher Columbus reached the eastern coast of Costa Rica on his fourth voyage on September 18, 1502. Numerous subsequent Spanish expeditions followed, eventually leading to the first Spanish colony in Costa Rica, Villa Bruselas, founded in 1524.
During most of the colonial period, Costa Rica was the southernmost province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, which was nominally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (i.e., Mexico). In practice it operated as a largely autonomous entity within the Spanish Empire. Costa Rica's distance from the capital in Guatemala, its legal prohibition under Spanish law against trading with its southern neighbors in Panama, then part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (i.e., Colombia), and the lack of resources such as gold and silver, resulted in Costa Rica attracting few inhabitants. It was a poor, isolated, and sparsely inhabited region within the Spanish Empire.a Spanish governor in 1719 described Costa Rica as "the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all America."
Many historians say that the area suffered a lack of indigenous population available for forced labor, which meant that most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work their own land. This prevented the establishment of large haciendas . For all these reasons Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The small landowners' relative poverty, the lack of a large indigenous labor force, the population's ethnic and linguistic homogeneity, and Costa Rica's isolation from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes, all contributed to the development of an autonomous and individualistic agrarian society. Even the Governor had to farm his own crops and tend to his own garden due to his poverty.The failure to build a colonial society based on indigenous and slave labor led to a peasant economy in the 1700s.
During the time of conquest, as many as twenty distinct indigenous societies, numbering in the hundreds of thousands and speaking many different languages, inhabited the area. [ disputed ]The Spanish conquest of Costa Rica lasted more than half a century after it started 1510. The genocidal enslavement of the indigenous societies of Nicoya on the Pacific North coast was the conquest's first stage. Its second phase began with fruitless attempts to consolidate a Spanish settlement on the country's Caribbean side. In the process, Spaniards reduced the indigenous population to the point of extinction through disease, war, reprisals, relocation and brutal exploitation. The Native American population stood at about 120,000 in 1569 and had fallen to 10,000 by 1611.
In the early 19th century, Napoleon's occupation of Spain led to the outbreak of revolts all across Spanish America. In New Spain, all of the fighting by those seeking independence was done in the center of that area from 1810 to 1821, what today is central Mexico. Once the Viceroy was defeated in the capital city—today Mexico City—in 1821, the news of independence was sent to all the territories of New Spain, including the Intendencies of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala. Costa Rica joined the other Central American Intendancies in a joint declaration of independence from Spain, the 1821 Act of Independence.
On October 13, 1821 the documents arrived at Cartago, and an emergency meeting was called upon by Governor Juan Manuel de Cañas. There were many ideas on what to do upon gaining independence, such as joining Mexico, joining Guatemala or Nueva Granada (today Colombia). A group was declared (Junta de Legados), which created the temporary Junta Superior Gubernativa de Costa Rica . Meanwhile, "the clouds clear up" ("Mientras se aclaraban los nublados del día"), was a famous phrase of the events of the day.
Independence from Spain was acknowledged and ratified on October 29, 1821 by the colonial authorities. It was then ratified in the cities of San José on November 1, 1821, at Cartago on November 3rd, 1821, at Heredia on November 11, 1821, and Alajuela on November 25th, 1821.
After the declaration of independence, the New Spain parliament intended to establish a commonwealth whereby the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, would also be Emperor of New Spain, but in which both countries were to be governed by separate laws and with their own legislative offices. Should the king refuse the position, the law provided for a member of the House of Bourbon to accede to the New Spain throne. Ferdinand VII did not recognize the colony's independence and said that Spain would not allow any other European prince to take the throne of New Spain.
By request of Parliament, the president of the regency, Agustín de Iturbide, was proclaimed emperor of New Spain, which was renamed Mexico. The Mexican Empire was the official name given to this monarchical regime from 1821 to 1823. The territory of the Mexican Empire included the continental intendancies and provinces of New Spain proper (including those of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala) (See: History of Central America). On 5 April 1823 the Battle of Ochomogo was fought between forces from Cartago who wanted to join the Mexican Empire and those who preferred to remain independent. The Republicans won and the capital was moved from Cartago to San José.
In 1823, a revolution in Mexico ousted Emperor Agustín de Iturbide. A new Mexican congress voted to allow the Central American Intendancies to decide their own fate. That year, the United Provinces of Central America was formed of the five Central American Intendancies under General Manuel José Arce. The Intendancies took the new name of States. The United Provinces federation, not strongly united to begin with, rapidly disintegrated under the pressures of intra-provincial rivalries.
Following full independence in 1838, Costa Rica had no regular trade routes established to export their coffee to European markets. Lack of infrastructure caused problems in transportation: the coffee-growing areas were mainly in the Central Valley and had access only to the port of Puntarenas on the Pacific coast. Before the Panama Canal opened, ships from Europe had to sail around Cape Horn in order to get to the Pacific Coast. In 1843, the country established a trade route to Europe with the help of William Le Lacheur, a Guernsey merchant and shipowner.
In 1856, William Walker, an American filibuster, began incursions into Central America. After landing in Nicaragua, he proclaimed himself as president of Nicaragua and re-instated slavery, which had been abolished.He intended to expand into Costa Rica and after he entered that territory, the country declared war against his forces. Led by Commander in Chief of the Army of Costa Rica, President Juan Rafael Mora Porras, the filibusters were defeated and forced out of the country. Costa Rican forces followed the filibusters into Rivas, Nicaragua, where in a final battle, William Walker and his forces were finally pushed back. Juan Santamaría, a drummer boy from Alajuela who lost his life torching the filibusters' stronghold, was killed in this final battle. He is today remembered as a national hero.
An era of peaceful democracy in Costa Rica began in 1869 with elections. Costa Rica has avoided much of the violence that has plagued Central America. Since the late nineteenth century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its republican development. In 1917–19, Federico Tinoco Granados ruled as a dictator.
In 1948, José Figueres Ferrer led an armed uprising in the wake of a disputed presidential election. "With more than 2,000 dead, the 44-day Costa Rican Civil War resulting from this uprising was the bloodiest event in twentieth-century Costa Rican history."The victorious junta drafted a constitution guaranteeing free elections with universal suffrage and the abolition of the military. Figueres became a national hero, winning the first election under the new constitution in 1953. Since then Costa Rica has been one of the few democracies to operate without a standing army. The nation has held 16 successive presidential elections, all peaceful, the latest being in 2018.
Costa Rica's economy went under a transformation in 1978. The country went from being "an economic development success story" to entering a severe socio-economic crisis. Costa Rica relied on the exportation of bananas and coffee. In 1978, coffee prices dropped, and its revenues declined. In 1979, the price of oil, a main imported item, increased sharply and rapidly, plunging the country into crisis. In order to help improve the economy, President Rodrigo Carazo continued to borrow money internationally. This led the country into further debt.
Once a largely agricultural country, Costa Rica has transformed to relying on technology industry and services, and eco-tourism. Costa Rica's major source of export income is technology-based. Microsoft, Motorola, Intel and other technology-related firms have established operations in Costa Rica. Local companies create and export software as well as other computer-related products. Tourism is growing at an accelerated pace, and many believe that income from this tourism may soon become the major contributor to the nation's GDP. Traditional agriculture, particularly coffee and bananas, continues to be an important part of Costa Rica's exports.
Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José, with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.
Central America is a region in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subregion of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated at 44.53 million (2016).
When studying the history of Central America one must first clarify just what Central America is. Today (2019) it is commonly taken to include Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. This definition matches modern political borders. However, in some senses and at some times Central America begins in Mexico, at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and the former country of Yucatán was part of Central America. At the other end, before its independence in 1903 Panama was politically and culturally part of the South American country of Colombia, or its predecessors. At times English-speaking Belize, with a quite different history, has been considered as apart from Central America.
The history of El Salvador begins with several Mesoamerican nations, especially the Cuzcatlecs, as well as the Lenca and Maya. In the early 16th century, the Spanish Empire conquered the territory, incorporating it into the Viceroyalty of New Spain ruled from Mexico City. In 1821, the country achieved independence from Spain as part of the First Mexican Empire, only to further secede as part of the Federal Republic of Central America two years later. Upon the republic's dissolution in 1841, El Salvador became sovereign until forming a short-lived union with Honduras and Nicaragua called the Greater Republic of Central America, which lasted from 1895 to 1898.
The Federal Republic of Central America, also called the United Provinces of Central America in its first year of creation, was a sovereign state in Central America consisting of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala of New Spain. It existed from 1823 to 1841, and was a republican democracy.
William Walker was an American physician, lawyer, journalist and mercenary who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as "filibustering". Walker usurped the presidency of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies. He returned in an attempt to reestablish his control of the region and was captured and executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.
The national flag of Costa Rica is based on a design created in 1848. The state flag is also used as the official ensign, and includes the coat of arms of Costa Rica. The civil ensign, omits the coat of arms, since the flag with the Coat of arms is only permitted to be used for the government.
Liberia is the capital and largest city of Guanacaste province, Costa Rica, located 215 kilometres (134 mi) northwest of the national capital, San José, in the canton with the same name.
Nicoya, a city on the Nicoya Peninsula of the Guanacaste province, Costa Rica, is one of the country's most important tourist zones; it serves as a transport hub to Guanacaste's beaches and national parks. According to the 2000 census, the city's population was 13,334; second in the province only to Liberia. The city is the district seat of a cantón of the same name, which in 2013 had 24,946 residents.
The Captaincy General of Guatemala, also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala, was an administrative division of the Spanish Empire, under the viceroyalty of New Spain in Central America, including the present-day nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The governor-captain general was also president of the Royal Audiencia of Guatemala, the superior court.
Veragua or Veraguas was the name of five Spanish colonial territorial entities in Central America, beginning in the 16th century during the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
Miguel de Bonilla y Laya-Bolívar (1763–1826) was a Costa Rican Roman Catholic priest and politician. He was one of the signatories of the Costa Rican Declaration of Independence.
This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Costa Ricans, also called Ticos, are a group of people from a multiethnic Spanish-speaking nation in Central America called Costa Rica. Costa Ricans are predominantly castizos, whites and mestizo, but their country is considered a multiethnic society, which means that it is home to people of many different ethnic backgrounds. As a result, modern-day Costa Ricans do not consider their nationality as an ethnicity but as a citizenship with various ethnicities. Costa Rica has four small minority groups: Mulattoes, Blacks, Asians, and Amerindians. In addition to the "Indigenas", whites, mestizos, blacks and mulattoes, Costa Rica is also home to thousands of Asians. Most of the Chinese and Indians now living in the country are descendants of those that arrived during the 19th century as migrant workers.
Costa Rica–Spain relations refers to the diplomatic relations between Costa Rica and Spain. Both nations are members of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language and the Organization of Ibero-American States.
The Ochomogo War was a civil war fought in Costa Rica, the first in its history, and was fought shortly after the country became independent from Spain.
The Pact of Concord was the provisional Constitution of Costa Rica between 1821 and 1823, officially named the Interim Fundamental Social Pact of the Province of Costa Rica.
The annexation of the Partido de Nicoya to Costa Rica is a historical event that refers to the incorporation of the territory of Nicoya to the State of Costa Rica, which occurred on July 25, 1824.
The Raid on Matina or the Battle of Matina was a small but significant military engagement that took place on 13 August 1747 between British Baymen and Miskito Sambu from the Mosquito Coast and Spanish forces over the Spanish fortiﬁcation at Matina in the Captaincy General of Guatemala. The engagement was part of a larger conflict which was known as the War of Jenkins' Ear. The British and Sambus destroyed the fort after a short sharp fight before destroying the crops and taking away plunder from the surrounding Cacao rich area.
The following lists events that happened during 2020 in Central America: