Costa Rica, a name that means ‘Rich Coast’ in Spanish, is certainly rich many ways. Here we will delve into some general information about Costa Rica that may provide some insight in to the numerous ways you may experience the richness of this wonderful constitutional democracy.
Organized civilization had existed in Costa Rica thousands of years before Columbus discovered the region. Archaeologists have discovered remnants of tribes living in the highlands of Costa Rica dating back as far 10,000 years ago. However, it was on September 18, 1502, that the Old World met with the newly discovered region. When Columbus was making his fourth and final voyage to the western hemisphere, he came across what is now known as Costa Rica.
While Columbus was still offshore dropping anchor, a local group of Carib Indians went to greet him in canoes and warmly welcomed his crew. It is said that the golden jewelry that the area’s inhabitants wore in their noses and ears inspired Columbus to name the country Costa Rica, or rich coast.
Costa Rica was first colonized by Spain in 1522 by conquistador González Dávila, and it is purported that the natives were in possession of vast amounts of gold and other precious metals. However, due to the fact that Costa Rica at that time had a relatively small population, the conquistadors were never able to exploit the natives to any significant extent.
This period of time for Costa Rica is known as the Colonial Period.
While Costa Rica never fought for its independence from Spain, it was granted to them by the Guatemalan authorities on September 15, 1821 after Spain lost the war for Mexican independence.
Today, the nation of Costa Rica is a bustling, highly-rated country with a very rich history.
Costa Rica is a modern, constitutional democracy with a significant economy and all the amenities of a first world nation. Historically, Costa Rica has seen a greater amount of peace and political stability than many other nations in Central America.
As a country, Costa Rica is a nation divided into 81 counties, or in Spanish, Cantons. These counties are spread across 7 larger provinces which make up the country as a whole, these provinces are:
- San José
The capital city of Costa Rica is San José.
From the perspective of the rest of the world, Costa Rica has consistently been rated among the top nations on many basis of measurement, especially as concerns the HDI, or Human Development Index. The New Economics Foundation rated Costa Rica first in its Happy Planet Index, twice, and has also rated Costa Rica as the “Greenest” country in the whole world.
Currently, the president of Costa Rica is Laura Chinchilla. Chinchilla’s Partido Liberación Nacional (‘National Liberation Party’, her political party) is a member of the Socialist International whose motto is the promotion of “progressive politics for a better world.”
The ex-president of Costa Rica is Óscar Arias. Oscar Arias won the Nobel Peace Prize of 1987 for his involvement in combating civil war among nations in Central America. Arias is also a member of the National Liberation Party.
It is a widely held contention that Arias’ presidency transformed the entire economy of Costa Rica and contributed greatly to its tourism industry. It’s generally accepted that Arias changed Costa Rica’s economy from one based on the traditional cash crops such as coffee and bananas, to one more focused on tourism, as well as non-traditional agriculture.
An interesting fact about Costa Rica is that it has no military. The Costa Rican military was constitutionally abolished in 1948 at the conclusion of the country’s civil war. The lack of military greatly contributes to Costa Rica’s image of peace and mediation.
It would be good to note, however, that while Costa Rica has no standing military, it still maintains a well-armed police force for peacekeeping purposes.
The economy of Costa Rica is currently at a growth rate higher than that of the United States. Costa Rica has a large number of high-tech corporations building and investing in Costa Rica and are currently exporting a large number of goods contributing to the country’s GDP.
Costa Rica has a large number of green projects currently implemented lending greatly to its image as the “greenest” country in the world.
Some of these green projects include:
- Wind farms
- Wildlife conservancy projects
- Sustainable architecture
- Green energy programs
- Lines of credit for green businesses
- Green schools and colleges
Costa Rica is an incredibly ecologically diverse nation with a sincere focus on global sustainability. It offers all the amenities of any first world nation and maintains a fast-growing economy. Remaining one of the top tourism destinations, and widely regarded as THE eco-rainforest capital of the world. Costa Rica is an incredible place to both live and vacation!