History of Costa Rica
Costa Rica Eco Travel
It is good to know a little bit about its history before your trip to Costa Rica, so here is a brief history of this peaceful country.
Christopher Columbus, on his fourth voyage to the New World, landed at Puerto Limon in 1502. But because the region lacked significant resources, it escaped the ravages of the Conquistadors.
Costa Rica also avoided the semi-feudal system that so many other Central American countries suffered. Few Indians survived and most of the European settlers worked their own land creating a middle class.
In 1821, Costa Rica declared independence from Spain. They joined the Mexican Empire then the Central American Federation before its dissolution in 1838.
The country experienced several periods of internal strife, most notably in 1919 and 1948. But Costa Rica’s history has mostly been peaceful and its politics democratic, unlike many of its neighbors.
Modern Political History of Costa Rica
The Republic of Costa Rica has had democratically elected presidents since 1949 and is one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. The Executive Power is exercised by the President. The constitution prohibits any army and to maintain peace and order the Civil Guard serves as a police force.
In 1983, Costa Rica proclaimed a formal state of neutrality in world affairs. Oscar Arias Sanchez, who was elected Costa Rica’s president in 1986, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to bring peace to war torn Central America.
Historical Influences of Costa Rica
The population is largely of Spanish descent and there are fewer mestizos here than in other Central American countries. About 60% of the population lives in rural areas, mostly on small farms.
On your trip to Costa Rica, you will see that the predominant influence is European, reflected in everything from language, Spanish, to its churches and architecture. However, the indigenous influence can still be found in everything from the typical Costa Rican meals to its art and pottery.