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History of Costa Rica

History of Costa Rica

In Pre-Columbian times the Native Americans in what is now Costa Rica were part of the Mesoamerica cultural area.

Pre-Columbian Ceramics from Nicoya, Costa Rica

The native peoples were conquered by Spain in the 16th century. Costa Rica was then the southern-most province in the Spanish territory of New Spain. The provincial capital was in Cartago.

After a brief time in the Mexican Empire of Augustin de Iturbide (see: History of Mexico) Costa Rica became a state in the United States of Central America (see: History of Central America) from 1823 to 1839. In 1824 the capital was moved to San José. From the 1840s on Costa Rica was an independent nation.

Costa Rica is a Central American success story: since the late 19th century, only two brief periods of violence have marred its democratic development. In 1949, José Figueres Ferrer abolished the army; and since then, Costa Rica has been one of the few countries to operate within the democratic system without the assistance of a military.

Although still a largely agricultural country, it has achieved a relatively high standard of living. Land ownership is widespread. Tourism is a rapidly expanding industry.

See also : Costa Rica