List of Presidents of Costa Rica

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The following article lists the junta chairmen, presidents and heads of state of Costa Rica since Central American independence from Spain. From 1824 to 1838 Costa Rica was a state within the Federal Republic of Central America; since then it has been an independent nation.

Costa Rica Country in Central America

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 central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, 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: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.


The ruler of Costa Rica is the one who exercises the Executive Power of the country. Currently, the Constitution of 1949 defines such person as the President of Costa Ricadesignated by popular election for a quatrenio without possibility of consecutive reelection. The current ruler is the MSc. Carlos Alvarado Quesada .

Pre-Columbian period

Main article: Native Kings of Costa Rica

Colonial government

Main article: Annex: Colonial governors of Costa Rica

First independent governments (1821-1824)

The November from October of 1821 the province of Costa Rica proclaimed its absolute independence from Spain . On the 29th of that month, the city of Cartago , the head of the Costa Rican party, also signed a decree declaring the absolute independence of the Spanish Government .

During this period the main divisions took place between two sides; the imperialist who sought to annex Costa Rica to the Empire of Iturbide and the republican who sought the full independence of Costa Rica. The monarchists or monarchists also advocated the recognition of Iturbide as emperor. [ 1 ]

Political leaders

See also: Costa Rica Civil War of 1823

Political Head of the Province of Costa Rica [ 2 ]
The PositionPeriodFaction

     Monarchist Republicans    

1 2
Juan Manuel de Cañas -Trujillo and Sánchez from Madrid Patriotic political chiefAs October Novemberas 1821 - November as December1821
Nicolás Carrillo and AguirreChairman of the Peoples' Legacy BoardNovember 12, 1821 - December 1, 1821
Pedro José de Alvarado and BaezaPresident of the Provisional Governing BoardDecember1821 - January1822
Rafael Barroeta and CastillaPresident of the Board of Voters6-13 January1822 ;President of theSuperior Governing Board 6 January-13 April1822
Santiago de Bonilla and Laya-BolívarPresident of the Superior Governing BoardApril 13 - July 15,1822
José María de Peralta and La VegaPresident of the Superior Government BoardJuly 15 - October 17, 1822
José Rafael Gallegos Alvarado President of the Superior Governing BoardOctober 17, 1822 - January 1,1823
José Santos Lombardo and AlvaradoPresident of the Superior Governing BoardJanuary 1 - March 20, 1823
Rafael Francisco OsejoPresident of the Diputación de Costa RicaMarch 20-29, 1823
Joaquín de Oreamuno and Muñoz de la TrinidadGeneral Commander of Weapons,de factoMarch 29 - April 5,1823
Gregorio José Ramírez y Castro General Commander of Weapons,de factoApril 5 - 16, 1823
José María de Peralta and La VegaPresident ofthe Provincial Constituent CongressApril 16 - May 10,1823
Manuel Alvarado y Hidalgo President of the Superior Governing Board1823 -1824
Eusebio Rodríguez and Castro President of the Superior Governing BoardJanuary 8 - February 12, 1824
Manuel Alvarado and Hidalgo President of the Superior Governing BoardFebruary 12 - September 8, 1824

Emperor (1822-1823)

Main article: First Mexican Empire

17 Agustín de Iturbide As maypole 19 as1822 -

19 as March as1823

During the period of permanence of Costa Rica in the First Mexican Empire , the Emperor Agustín de Iturbide was the monarch of the country like of the rest of the Empire. However, imperial sovereignty was not universally recognized. The disputes between imperialists loyal to Iturbide and the republicans who sought full independence led to the first civil war in Costa Rica

President of the Federal Republic of Central America

Main articles: Annex: Presidents of Central America and the Federal Republic of Central America .

Between 1824 and 1838 Costa Rica was a member of the Federal Republic of Central America , and the president of the same was the federal president of the country, although the political influence of the Central American federal government was minimal.

President of the Federal Republic of Central AmericaPeriodProfessionMatch
    Liberal Party Conservative Party    
José Matías Delgado President of the National Constituent Assembly of the United Provinces of Central America in1823Catholic priestLiberal
First Triumvirate of Central AmericaConstituted by Dr. Pedro Molina Mazariegos , GeneralManuel José Arce y Fagoagaand the political chief Juan Vicente Villacorta Díaz 1823Medical ,militaryandpoliticalLiberal
Second Triumvirate of Central AmericaConstituted by GeneralManuel José Arce y Fagoaga , Lic. José Cecilio del Valle and Lic. Tomás Antonio O'Horán y Argüello 1823 - 1825MilitaryandlawyersLiberal
Manuel José de Arce and FagoagaPresident of the Republic, elected by Congress1825 - 1829MilitaryLiberal
Mariano Beltranena and LlanoHe assumed the Executive as Vice President of the Republic1828 - 1829; overthrown in 1829AristocratConservative
José Francisco Morazán Quezada He briefly exercised de facto power in 1829MilitaryLiberal
José Francisco Barrundia and CepedaSenator, exercised the presidency interim 1829- 1830JournalistLiberal
José Francisco Morazán Quezada President elected by Congress for the period 1830- 1834MilitaryLiberal
José Cecilio del VallePresident elected for the period1834 - 1838, dies in 1834 without ever practicingMilitaryConservative
José Gregorio Salazar and CastroVice President in charge of the Executive from 1834to 1835PoliticianLiberal
José Francisco Morazán Quezada President elected for the period1835 - 1839, in 1838 the States ofNicaragua ,Hondurasand Costa Rica were successively separated from the FederationMilitaryLiberal
Diego Vigil Vice-president in charge of the executive in1839 and last ruler of the Federal Republic, dissolved that yearlawyerLiberal

Heads of State

Superior Political Chiefs

Head of StateTook officeLeft officeParty
30 Gabino Gaínza 15 September 18215 January 1822
Part of the First Mexican Empire (5 January 1822-1 July 1823)
31 Vicente Filisola 1 July 182310 July 1823

First TriumvirateEdit

Head of StateTook officeLeft officeParty
32 Pedro Molina Mazariegos 10 July 18234 October 1823Liberal
33 Antonio Rivera Cabezas 10 July 18234 October 1823Liberal
34 Juan Vicente Villacorta Díaz 10 July 18234 October 1823

Second TriumvirateEdit

Head of StateTook officeLeft officeParty
35 Juan Vicente Villacorta Díaz 6 October 182315 March 1824Liberal
36 Manuel José Arce 15 March 182420 October 1824Liberal
37José Manuel de la Cerda y Aguilar20 October 182429 April 1825
38 Tomas O'Horan 4 October 182329 April 1825
39José Santiago Milla Pineda Arriaga4 October 18235 February 1824
40 José Cecilio del Valle 5 February 182429 April 1825Conservative


PresidentTook officeLeft officeParty
41 Manuel José Arce 29 April 182513 April 1829Liberal
42Mariano Beltranena y Llano


13 April 182914 June 1829Liberal
43 José Francisco Barrundia


26 June 182916 June 1830Liberal
44 Francisco Morazán 16 September 183016 September 1834Liberal
45 José Cecilio del Valle
Elected in 1834Died in 1834 before being sworn into officeConservative
46 José Gregorio Salazar


16 September 183414 February 1835Liberal
47 Francisco Morazán 14 February 18351 February 1839Liberal
48 Diego Vigil Cocaña


1 February 183931 March 1840Liberal

Heads of State of Costa Rica (1825–1848)

No.Head of State
Term of OfficePolitical AffiliationNotes
1 Juan Mora Fernández
Juan Mora Fernandez.JPG 1825–1833LiberalTwo consecutive terms; re-elected in 1829.
2 José Rafael Gallegos
Jose Rafael Gallegos Alvarado.JPG 1833–1835ConservativeResigned, Manuel Fernández Chacón and Nicolás Ulloa Soto followed as acting Heads of State.
3 Braulio Carrillo Colina
Braulio Carrillo.jpg 1835–1837LiberalFirst term.
1 Juan Mora Fernández
Juan Mora Fernandez.JPG March–April 1837LiberalProvisional.
4 Manuel Aguilar Chacón
Manuel Aguilar Chacon.JPG 1837–1838LiberalDeposed in a coup d'état.
3 Braulio Carrillo Colina
Braulio Carrillo.jpg 1838–1842LiberalSecond term. Deposed in a coup d'état.
5 Francisco Morazán
General Francisco Morazan.JPG April–September 1842LiberalDeposed by popular uprising; executed on 15 September 1842.
6 António Pinto Soares
Antonio Pinto Soares.JPG September 1842LiberalCame to power in popular uprising, and quickly resigned.
7 José María Alfaro Zamora
Jose Maria Alfaro Zamora.JPG 1842–1844LiberalFirst term. Provisional.
8 Francisco María Oreamuno Bonilla
Francisco Maria Oreamuno Bonilla.JPG November–December 1844LiberalDeposed in a coup d'état.
9 José Rafael Gallegos
Jose Rafael Gallegos Alvarado.JPG 1845–1846Conservative
7 José María Alfaro Zamora
Jose Maria Alfaro Zamora.JPG 1846–1847LiberalSecond term.
10 José Castro Madriz
Jose Maria Castro Madriz.JPG 1847–1848Liberal

Presidents of Costa Rica (1848–present)

  Liberal  Conservative  Military   PR    PRN    PUN    PLN    PUSC    PAC

National Republican Party (Costa Rica)

The National Republican Party was a political party in Costa Rica.

National Union Party (Costa Rica)

The National Union Party is the name of several liberal conservative parties in Costa Rica, generally located right-to-center in the political spectrum.

National Liberation Party (Costa Rica) political party

The National Liberation Party, nicknamed the verdiblancos, is a political party in Costa Rica. The party is a member of the Socialist International.

Term of OfficePolitical Affiliation Election Notes
10 José María Castro Madriz
Jose Maria Castro Madriz.jpg 31 August 1848 [1] 16 November 1849Non-partisan Liberal 1847 "Founder of the Republic".
11 Miguel Mora Porras
Miguel Mora Porras 001.jpg 16 November 184926 November 1849Non-partisan LiberalInterim president.
12 Juan Mora Porras
Juan Rafael Mora Porras 1859.jpg 26 November 184914 August 1859Non-partisan Liberal 1849
First, second and third term.
13 José María Montealegre Fernández
Jose Maria Montealegra Fernandez.JPG 14 August 18598 May 1863Non-partisan Liberal 1860 Provisional 1859–1860.
14 Jesús Jiménez Zamora
Jesus Jimenez Zamora.JPG 8 May 18638 May 1866Non-partisan Liberal 1863
10 José Castro Madriz
Jose Maria Castro Madriz.jpg 8 May 18661 November 1868Non-partisan Liberal 1866 Second term. Deposed in a coup d'état.
14 Jesús Jiménez Zamora
Jesus Jimenez Zamora.JPG 1 November 186827 April 1870MilitarySecond term.
15 Bruno Carranza Ramírez
Bruno Carranza Ramirez.JPG 27 April 18708 August 1870Non-partisan LiberalAppointed by Tomás Guardia as provisional president. Resigned after a few months.
16 Tomás Guardia Gutiérrez
Tomas Guardia Gutierrez.JPG 10 August 18708 May 1876Non-partisan Liberal 1872 Provisional 1870–1872, latter elected.
17 Aniceto Esquivel Sáenz
Aniceto Esquivel Saenz.jpg 8 May 187630 July 1876Non-partisan Liberal 1876 Deposed in a coup d'état.
18 Vicente Herrera Zeledón
Vicente Herrera Zeledon.JPG 30 July 187611 September 1877Non-partisan ConservativeAppointed by Guardia.
16 Tomás Guardia Gutiérrez
Tomas Guardia Gutierrez.JPG 11 September 18776 July 1882Non-partisan LiberalSecond term as de facto ruler. Died in office.
19 Saturnino Lizano Gutiérrez
Saturnino Lizano Gutierrez.jpg 6 July 188220 July 1882Non-partisan LiberalActing president.
20 Próspero Fernández Oreamuno
Prospero Fernandez Oreamuno.JPG 20 July 188212 March 1885Non-partisan Liberal 1882 Died in office.
21 Bernardo Soto Alfaro
Bernardo Soto Alfaro.JPG 12 March 18858 May 1890Non-partisan Liberal 1886 Two consecutive terms, the first incomplete. Carlos Durán Cartín was acting president 1889–1890.
22 José Rodríguez Zeledón
Jose Joaquin Rodriguez Zeledon.JPG 8 May 18908 May 1894 Constitutional 1889
23 Rafael Yglesias Castro
Rafael Yglesias Castro.jpg 8 May 18948 May 1902 Civil 1893 First and second term.
24 Ascensión Esquivel Ibarra
Ascencion Esquivel Ibarra.JPG 8 May 19028 May 1906 National Union 1901
25 Cleto González Víquez
Cleto Gonzalez Viquez.jpg 8 May 19068 May 1910 National 1905 First term.
26 Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno
Ricardo Jimenez Oreamuno.jpg 8 May 19108 May 1914 Republican 1909 First term. Son of Jesús Jiménez Zamora.
27 Alfredo González Flores
Alfredo Gonzalez Flores.jpg 8 May 191427 January 1917 Republican Designated by Congress as no clear candidate won in 1913 Deposed by Tinoco in a coup d'état.
28 Federico Tinoco Granados
Federico Tinoco Granados.jpg 27 January 191713 August 1919Military /
1917 First and second term. Overthrown by popular uprising.
29 Juan Quirós Segura
Juan Bautista Quiros Segura.jpg 13 August 19192 September 1919Military /
Previously Vice President. Forced to resign by the U.S. government.
30 Francisco Aguilar Barquero
Francisco Aguilar Barquero.jpg 2 September 19198 May 1920 Republican Interim president.
31 Julio Acosta García
Julio Acosta Garcia.JPG 8 May 19208 May 1924 Constitutional 1919
26 Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno
Ricardo Jimenez Oreamuno.jpg 8 May 19248 May 1928 Republican 1923 Second term.
25 Cleto González Víquez
Cleto Gonzalez Viquez.jpg 8 May 19288 May 1932 National Union 1928 Second term.
26 Ricardo Jiménez Oreamuno
Ricardo Jimenez Oreamuno.jpg 8 May 19328 May 1936 National Republican 1932 Third term.
32 León Cortés Castro
Povedano - Leon Cortes Castro, pte CR.JPG 8 May 19368 May 1940 National Republican 1936
33 Rafael Calderón Guardia
Calderon Guardia 1940 cropped.jpg 8 May 19408 May 1944 National Republican 1940
34 Teodoro Picado Michalski
Teodoro Picado Michalski.jpg 8 May 194420 April 1948 National Republican 1944
35 Santos León Herrera
Santos Leon.jpg 20 April 19488 May 1948 National Republican Interim president. Former vice-president of Teodoro Picado Michalski.
36 José Figueres Ferrer
Jose Figueres Ferrer 1.png 8 May 19488 November 1949 Social Democratic De factoCame to power in the Civil War. Returned power to elected president after re-organizing the government.
37 Otilio Ulate Blanco
Otilio Ulate Blanco cropped.jpg 8 November 19498 November 1953 National Union 1948
36 José Figueres Ferrer
Jose Figueres Ferrer 1.png 8 November 19538 May 1958 National Liberation 1953 Second term. Presidential re-election disallowed.
41 Mario Echandi Jiménez
Mario Echandi Jimenez cropped.jpg 8 May 19588 May 1962 National Union 1958
42 Francisco Orlich Bolmarcich
Francisco J. Orlich cropped.jpg 8 May 19628 May 1966 National Liberation 1962
43 José Trejos Fernández
Jose Juaquin Trejos Flores cropped.jpg 8 May 19668 May 1970 National Unification 1966
36 José Figueres Ferrer
Jose Figueres Ferrer 1.png 8 May 19708 May 1974 National Liberation 1970 Third term. Presidential re-election disallowed.
44 Daniel Oduber Quirós
Daniel Oduber 3 cropped.jpg 8 May 19748 May 1978 National Liberation 1974
45 Rodrigo Carazo Odio
Rodrigo Carazo.jpg 8 May 19788 May 1982 Unity Coalition 1978
46 Luis Monge Álvarez
Johnny Araya en anuncio de candidatuta presidencial Luis Alberto Monge cropped.jpg 8 May 19828 May 1986 National Liberation 1982
47 Óscar Arias Sánchez
(born 1940)
OscarArias.jpg 8 May 19868 May 1990 National Liberation 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner 1987.
First term.
48 Rafael Calderón Fournier
(born 1949)
R A Calderon.jpg 8 May 19908 May 1994 Social Christian Unity 1990 Son of Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia.
49 José Figueres Olsen
(born 1954)
Jose Maria Figueres.jpg 8 May 19948 May 1998 National Liberation 1994 Son of José Figueres Ferrer.
50 Miguel Rodríguez Echeverría
(born 1940)
MiguelAngelRodriguezEcheverria.jpg 8 May 19988 May 2002 Social Christian Unity 1998
51 Abel Pacheco de la Espriella
(born 1933) News Photo 050511-D-9880W-053 Abel Pacheco cropped.jpg 8 May 20028 May 2006 Social Christian Unity 2002 Presidential re-election re-instated.
47 Óscar Arias Sánchez
(born 1940)
Oscar Arias (2009).jpg 8 May 20068 May 2010 National Liberation 2006 Second term.
52 Laura Chinchilla Miranda
(born 1959)
KOCIS Korea-Costa Rica summit (4763079742) (cropped).jpg 8 May 20108 May 2014 National Liberation 2010 First female president of Costa Rica. [2]
53 Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera
(born 1958)
Luis Guillermo Solis, Costa Rica 03(cropped).JPG 8 May 20148 May 2018 Citizens' Action 2014
54 Carlos Alvarado Quesada
(born 1980)
Carlos Alvarado Le Chateu (cropped).jpg 8 May 2018Incumbent Citizens' Action 2018 Youngest president since Alfredo González Flores (1914).


Carlos Alvarado QuesadaLuis Guillermo SolísLaura ChinchillaAbel Pacheco de la EspriellaMiguel Rodríguez EcheverríaJosé Figueres OlsenRafael Calderón FournierÓscar AriasLuis Monge ÁlvarezRodrigo Carazo OdioDaniel Oduber QuirósJosé Trejos FernándezFrancisco Orlich BolmarcichMario Echandi JiménezOtilio Ulate BlancoJosé Figueres FerrerSantos León HerreraTeodoro Picado MichalskiRafael Calderón GuardiaLeón Cortés CastroJulio Acosta GarcíaFrancisco Aguilar BarqueroJuan Quirós SeguraFederico Tinoco GranadosAlfredo González FloresRicardo Jiménez OreamunoCleto González VíquezAscensión Esquivel IbarraRafael Yglesias CastroJosé Rodríguez ZeledónBernardo Soto AlfaroPróspero Fernández OreamunoSaturnino Lizano GutiérrezVicente Herrera ZeledónAniceto Esquivel SáenzTomás Guardia GutiérrezBruno Carranza RamírezJesús Jiménez ZamoraJosé María Montealegre FernándezJuan Mora PorrasMiguel Mora PorrasJosé María Castro MadrizFrancisco María Oreamuno BonillaJosé María Alfaro ZamoraAntónio Pinto SoaresFrancisco MorazánManuel Aguilar ChacónBraulio Carrillo ColinaJosé Rafael GallegosJuan Mora FernándezList of Presidents of Costa Rica

See also

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  1. El Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones: Presidentes de la República de Costa Rica
  2. "Costa Rica's new president: After Arias: Tax increases, trade deals and antidisestablishmentarianism". The Economist. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2010.