Costa Rica, the ‘rich coast’
Costa Rica, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502, has a rich indigenous history. Many artifacts from this pre-Colombian age such as pottery, jade and gold jewelry are still found by archeologists. A great sample of these artifacts is on display in the Museum of Gold and Jade in San José, well worth a visit.
It is claimed that Columbus, upon seeing the gold worn by tribal dignitaries, named the country Costa Rica, ‘rich coast’.
Costa Rica, an independent country
One of the most important holidays in Costa Rica is celebrated on September 15, Independence Day, the day that Central America gained its independence from Spain in 1821.
Another important moment of independence found place in what is now Santa Rosa National Park and the city of Rivas. In 1856, the army of William Walker invades Costa Rica, with the intent of establishing a slave state for the U.S. Juan Santamaría, now Costa Rica’s national hero, was a drummer boy in the voluntary army that had to protect the country. He died in the act of setting fire on the enemies’ barracks and so contributing decisively to Costa Rica’s victory. This victory is celebrated annually on April 11.
Costa Rica, a land of coffee
During the late 18th century, coffee was introduced to Costa Rica. On the rich soil of the Central Valley, an important industry became to blossom. Export was taken overseas, when in 1843 the first pounds went to London.
Costa Rican coffee soon became world-renowned, as it still is today.
Costa Rica, a democracy with no army
Nowadays, Costa Rica is considered to have the most stable political climate in Central America, having the oldest democracy in Latin America, established in 1889. Additionally, it abolished its armed forces in 1948, making it one of the safest countries in Latin America.