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Costa Rica

Costa Rica History
Pre-Columbian period

-The oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica is associated with the arrival of groups of hunter-gatherers around 10 000-7,000 years before our era, with ancient archaeological evidence found in the Turrialba Valley.

-Ago 2000-3000 BCE, appears the most ancient use referred to ceramics, with fragments of pots, cylindrical vases, bowls, jugs and other forms of vases, decorated with techniques such as paragraphs or grooves, prints and modeled.

-Corn becomes consolidated as the crop in some regions, while in others it gives a mixed system, in addition to the use of coastal resources (fisheries) and hunting.

-Appears the production and use of artifacts of jade and other green stones, ceremonial metates, stone for poles and special ceramics Finials, starts the use of objects of metal (copper and gold) in particular in the Central Valley, the Central Caribbean and North.

-The so-called metates hanging panel tripods are a unique and outstanding demonstration of Costa Rican pre-Columbian art, decorated with animal and human elements (0-500 a.d.).

-Between 300 and 800 of our era are the first complex chiefdoms, with presence of large villages and infrastructure.

-Starting from 800 a.d. and until the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, it showed an increase in the size and complexity of the internal design of the villages, and regional differences are accentuated.

-In the Valley of the Diquis region, starts the manufacturing of spheres of stone typical of the region, in the delta of the rivers Terraba and Sierpe, which postulated that they were used as a symbol of rank and territorial markers.

-These groups shrank considerably after the arrival of the Spaniards to the Costa Rican territory since some did not let themselves be and were killed or sent to other countries.

Exploration and Conquest

-Costa Rica was discovered by Christopher Colombus on September 25, 1502, on his fourth voyage. Gold believed that there was much in the territory, which encouraged adventurers to undertake other explorations and it served as a pole of attraction for the colonizers.

-Some terrain, cultural and social difficulties caused the death of many Spaniards. After this, there was no more expeditions to the country for a period of ten years.

-In January 1561, Juan de Cavallón left Nicaragua, toured the province of Guanacaste, and entered into the Central Valley. In March of that year, he founded Garcimuñoz Castle, the first population of the Central Valley. Juan de Cavallón considered the first conqueror of Costa Rica.

-During the colonial period, the territory of the current Costa Rica was part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and was the southernmost dependence of the Spanish General Captaincy of Guatemala, quartermaster of the Viceroyalty Neo Spanish, situation in which it remained until its independence from 1574.

-The distance from the city of Guatemala and their lack of agricultural or mining riches led Costa Rica to be in total abandonment by the Spanish authorities of Mexico and Guatemala, however this facilitated to Costa Rica to be developed with much greater autonomy than other provinces of Central America. That generated a marked social differentiation, with a commercial elite and landowner who handled the threads of the economy and domestic policy at whim.

-The development of the territory came from an agricultural economy of subsistence, without the enormous differences in wealth that occurred in other countries in the region.

-With the aim of concentrating to an increasingly dispersed population, civil and ecclesiastical authorities ordered the founding of churches, chapels and parishes in the Central Valley.

-The indigenous population, which was always scarce, declined further due to the wars of conquest, and diseases brought from Europe especially from 1650. Few Indians who were not wanted to work in personal services, which brought indigenous rebellions. Brought African labor for this work between 1680 and 1690.

-Costa Rica, with only 50 000 inhabitants to 1800, did not have enough population to colonize throughout the national territory. Tropical diseases, marshes, and the lack of fertile land, shortage of labour as little suitable land for the dense populations, limited mineral resources, and the rugged terrain that makes up most of the Central Valley (the area fertile country, where it could finally make settlements and cities) joined the Spanish colonization was very slow and were faced with serious economic constraints to carry out


-It is believed that the name Costa Rica comes from the arrival of Columbus on September 25, 1502, on his fourth voyage. Impressed by the exuberance of the vegetation, the abundance of jewelry and ornaments of gold of the Indians, Columbus thought that there were many riches in these lands. Which may subsequently have influenced between years later Spanish explorers.

-The second theory about the origin of the name of Costa Rica was proposed as a hypothesis by Dionisio Cabal Antillon, whose premise was that Costa Rica was the castilianization from an indigenous word of origin huetar (upon the arrival of the Spaniards, the largest indigenous group in the country) with which this people designated to the country or to an important settlement within it. According to Cabal, Costa Rica would derive from a huetarismo (an indigenous Word), possibly "Coquerrica", "Coquerrique" or "Cotaquerrique", and the Spanish simplified under the term "Costarrica", by the way they pronounced it.

-The name "Costa Rica" appeared for the first time in a Royal letter sent to the Audiencia of Panama in 1543, in which Spanish King Carlos V granted a special permit to Diego Gutiérrez and Toledo so that it takes place the conquest and colonization of the territory.
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