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History of Costa Rica

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago

History of Costa Rica


Pre-Spanish Life:

Before the Spanish came to Costa Rica, little is known about the inhabitants except that they could be associated with Mesoamerican and Andean cultures. With no written language, most of the knowledge that can be ascertained of the ancient people comes from ruins and it remains quite mysterious. In Costa Rica specifically, hundreds of hand constructed stone balls have been found in the lands and in the water around Costa Rica. They are mysterious because they are very old, but nothing is known about why or how they were constructed.





Spanish Arrival:

Christopher Columbus was the first European to explore Costa Rica. He arrived on the lands in 1502. It was during the 16th century that the Spanish Conquistadors invaded, and overtook the lands. European settlement began in aproximately the year 1522. Little of the current Costa Rican culture was influenced by the indigenous Costa Ricans, since so many of them were either killed by Conquistadors, or killed by the many diseases they had never before encountered. However, one thing that could be attributed to the Indigenous people is the name of the coast. When the Spanish invaders arrived, they saw that many of the natives were adorned in gold and had many treasures. Because of this, they called the land "the rich coast", or Costa Rica. The riches they exected though, were not as abundant as immediately believed, and Costa Rica was soon forgotten due to the resources availible in neighboring lands. With little of value coming from thier land, settlers in Costa Rica were forced to farm to sustain thier lives and eventually the economy. The major resources that began a progression of societal development were coffee and bannanas. These are still the two major exports coming from Costa Rica. 





Central America:

Costa Rica joined many of the other Central American countries in 1821, in a joint movement declaring thier independance from Spain. After breifly allying themsevles within the Mexican Empire, Costa Rica became a state in the Federal Reupublic of Costa Rica from 1823-1838. In 1838 Costa Rica claimed thier soveirgnty and became thier own coutry, indepndant from all other lands. Immediately following, the country suffered because all of thier trade routes were lost, and they struggled exporting thier goods (thier main income source). In 1843, William Le Lacheur, a British shipwner and merchant established trade routes, and from then on Costa Rica operated and functioned quite independantly.




William Walker:

In 1856 a man named William Walker decided, of his on accord, that he would declare himself President of Nicuragua and re-instated slavery. He planned to spread his control to Costa Rica, but the people of Costa Rica fought back, mostly with farming equipment. They held him off, and eventually William Walker was forced to retreat from all Central American lands.



Disbanding the Military:

The first truley free elections in Costa Rica occured in 1889. Since much of Costa Rica was deviod of valuble resources, and they were a farming land, they avoided much of the violence that plagued other portions of Central America. For a short period of time (1917-1919) Frederico Tinoco Granados ruled as a dictator, and in 1948 Jose Figueres Ferrer led an Army in light of a presidential election deispute.  After a 44 day civil war leaving 2,000 dead, Figueres was then elected president. Soon after, he abolished the military in 1949. Since then, Costa Rica has been one of the few countries that operate democratically without the existence of a standing military. Jose Figueres Ferrer was the first man to be elected without the existence of the military, and is regarded as a national hero in Costa Rica. 




costa rica timeline.doc

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