PostHeaderIcon The History Of Costa Rica

According to official reports, the first European to have formerly sited Costa Rica was Christopher Columbus, in 1502.

The period of colonialism in Costa Rica was blemished by poverty and isolation due to the fact that Costa Rica was not located near Guatemala, which at the time was the largest city in Central America and attracted most economic activity. Costa Rica’s further inability to develop trade routes for easier access to Guatemala and lack of a large pool of Amerindians who could be used as laborers also worsened the economic situation. As a result, most Spaniards who settled Costa Rica were forced to labor their own land in order to produce crops. Costa Rica was therefore abandoned by the Spanish Crown and basically left to struggle on its own. In 1719, a Spanish governor described Costa Rica as the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all Americas.

The upside to the gloomy economic and social circumstance of Costa Rica was the development of an egalitarian society in which racial and class discrimination did not exit, very much contrary to other colonies where the forced labour on the indigenous tribes was rampant. Costa Rica therefore developed a rural democracy and unique social features. Eventually, however, as settlers moved farther into the mountainous regions of Costa Rica, a friendlier climate and fertile lands originating from rich volcanic soil gave new hope, something on which to build and start anew.

By 1821, along with neighbouring other Central American countries which had signed unto a joint declaration of independence from the colonial master, Spain, Costa Rica secured a head start on journey towards independence and nation building. In 1823, the Federal republic of Central America was established, and though this came to an end in 1839, Costa Rica’s formal withdrawal was accompanied by its proclamation of sovereignty.

Costa Rica’s historical isolation from Guatemala which was the hub for economic activity, trade and central government of what was at the time, the Spanish Provinces, deepened the country’s disassociation with the policies and central governance of Guatemala along with other beneficiary and participating provinces. The local population of Costa Rica therefore showed a general disinterest in and was not allegiant to the central government for Central America based in Guatemala. This partly contributed to the demise of the Federal Republic of Central America but did not prevent Costa Rica’s agreement to celebrate its independence along with the other countries. Today, September 15 is recognised by all countries of Central America as Independence Day for Central America.

Costa Rica has benefitted from a much greater degree of social and political stability that its neighbours, despite contentions which arose in 1917 under the dictatorship regime ked by Frederico Tinoco Granados and in 1948 under Jose Figueres Ferrer under whom an armed protest was staged against the results of the presidential election. This led to a civil war which lasted forty-four days, known as the bloodiest period in Costa Rica’s history. In response to this however, with the election on of a new government, the military was abolished and a new constitution was drafted. November 8, 1949, marked the beginning of a new era of peace and democratic governance attributed to Jose Figueres Ferrer, who was proclaimed a national hero. In 1953, four years later, Costa Rica held its second round of general elections, but this time under a new constitution.