History of Costa Rica

Spanish colonization had a huge impact on the history of Costa Rica. It took nearly 60 years for Spanish settlers to make a strong hold of the country.
Costa Rican culture originated with the traditions of indigenous groups from both Mesoamerica and South America. By the time Columbus arrived, there were probably no more than 20,000 inhabitants in the country. There were four major indigenous tribes living in Costa Rica, namely the Caribs, Borucas, Chibchas, and Diquis. They lived in several autonomous tribes, all with distinct cultures and customs.

Like much of Latin America, colonization had a huge impact on the history of Costa Rica. However, the change was slow-going; it took nearly 60 years for Spanish settlers to make a stronghold of the country. Once the process started, Costa Rica suffered the effects of European invasion. The indigenous population did not have the sufficient numbers to resist the Spanish, and their numbers dwindled quickly because of their susceptibility to European diseases.

By 1821 Costa Rica was ready to join other Spanish colonies in a revolt and declare independence from Spain. From 1823 to 1839 Costa Rica was a state in the Federal Republic of Central America.

An era of peaceful democracy in Costa Rica began in 1899 with elections considered the first truly free and honest ones in the country's history. This marked a trend that continued until today: Costa Rica is often considered one of the most politically stable countries in Latin America. There was, however, a 44-day civil war in 1948, which was the bloodiest event in 20th-century Costa Rican history. Interestingly, the new government abolished the nation’s army, dedicating the country to democracy and the good of the people. Today, every four years a President is elected along with two Vice-Presidents.