A little history Costa Rica - The Traveller

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Friday, July 13, 2012

A little history Costa Rica

The origins

The country is inhabited since 5000 BC, but the Indians of Costa Rica were few compared to the great pre-Columbian civilizations. Costa Rica has a single archaeological feature: mysterious stone balls that appear smooth near cemeteries or along the tracks aborigines (especially in the park Corcovado). Even today, their origin and the petroglyphs that adorn them remain a mystery.

Spanish colonization

In 1502, during his fourth and final voyage, Christopher Columbus, caught in a storm off the coast of Honduras, enters unknown territory. It gives them the name "Costa Rica" because he thinks they are rich in gold. However, he is mistaken. The Spaniards, in the absence of gold, find a fertile soil and excellent climate that allows them to commence their colonial life. There is no real clash with the indigenous population which, on the one hand, is not very large, and on the other hand, enjoys the protection afforded by laws of 1542 inspired by Bartolome de las Casas. The settler of the Province of Costa Rica is characterized by its poverty.

From 1570, Costa Rica is part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, in the Viceroyalty of Mexico, but its distance from Guatemala City and its apparent lack of wealth allow it to grow without undergoing the same direct intervention than other Central American provinces.

Relatively few in the country, representatives of the Spanish authority and the church left the country to grow away from the historical trend of Latin America.

The colony took some importance to the Guatemalan authorities as the late eighteenth century when the Spaniards began the emphasis on commercial agriculture and made tobacco a major export. These exports favored the creation of a more prosperous and Costa Ricans dominated the intellectual and political life of Central America in the early nineteenth century.

The independence

Costa Rica became one of five states of the United Provinces of Central America in 1824 and formed an independent and sovereign republic in 1838.

From the outset, Costa Rica adopted a policy that promotes education to ensure the sustainability of democratic institutions.

The free and compulsory education was instituted in 1869.  Moreover, militarism, political wound of Latin American countries, does not thrive in Costa Rica. Indeed, the way the country is firmly based on the three traditional powers and universal suffrage. Costa Rica has always strived to defend democracy and freedom.

The war declared William Walker, filibuster and oppressor of Nicaragua in 1856, is an example. This is one of the only military intervention by Costa Rica outside its territory, at which illustrates the national hero Juan Santamaría.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the country undergoes a transformation due to the economic and social development of coffee exports, and the institution of universal suffrage in 1889. Under President Tomás Guardia (1870-1882), Costa Rica enjoys large foreign investments.

The implementation in the country of the United Fruit Company banana empire created by U.S. businessman Minor C. Keith, allows the development of the coastal plains, railways and other infrastructure, but also made Costa Rica more dependent on foreign capital and markets.

In the twentieth century, a liberal reform of education and politics "more schools, more roads" were instrumental in the development of Costa Rica.

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