History of Costa Rica

History of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Coat of Arms

Costa Rica’s history starts with the naming of it.  When the Spaniard Gil Gonzalez Davila saw the Carib Indians, the natives of the country, wear golden bands in their noses and ears, he got so impressed that he called the country Costa Rica which means Rich Coast.  The introduction of coffee propelled the nation in 1808 to new heights of prosperity. Costa Rica's blends are famous to this day, with well-known brands such as Britt's sipped worldwide.

There were four major indigenous tribes living in Costa Rica by the time Columbus arrived. The Diquis, Chibchas  and Borucas resided in the southwest, while the east coast was the realm of the Caribs. Only a few hundred thousand strong to begin with, none of these peoples lasted long after the dawn of Spanish colonialism. Some fled, while many others perished from the deadly smallpox brought by the Spaniards.

Having decimated the indigenous labor force, the Spanish followed a common policy and brought in African slaves to work the land. Seventy thousand of their descendants live in Costa Rica today, and the country is known for good relations among races.

Regrettably, only 1 percent of Costa's Rica's 3 million people are of indigenous heritage. An overwhelming 98 percent of the country is white, and those of Spanish descent call themselves Ticos.

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