Interesting Colonisation History of Costa Rica

Posted by Sep05, 2013 Comments (0)

We all know about Costa Rica’s recent history with its stance on peace and the elimination of the armed forces. What many people don’t know about is its history before it was independent. The history of Costa Rica is made up mainly of colonisation and imperialism by European powers. Let’s take a look at some of the major historical points of the country before it transformed into the country we know of today.
Christopher Columbus

Discovery by Columbus

In 1502 the famous explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the coast of what is now Costa Rica. Most historians agreed he landed in the Limon province where he met a tribe of friendly natives. This was his fourth and final trip to the New World. During this trip, he declared Costa Rica as a colony of Spain and petitioned the government and the king to make him the colonial governor of Costa Rica.

Despite his achievements, political wrangling back home stopped him from being made governor. Instead, the title was given to one of his rivals and he retired in disgust, never to return to the New World.

Colonisation Attempts

After Spain had discovered Costa Rica and declared it a province of its flourishing empire it attempted to colonise it. The first few colonies ended in disaster. Tropical diseases wiped out most of the settlers and the rest were killed in battles with the natives. Unlike other parts of the New World, the natives of Costa Rica refused to be enslaved.

It also lost focus as Columbus had initially assumed there was lots of gold to be found here. Without a steady stream of riches flowing back to Europe, other areas of the New World demanded more attention.

The Spanish finally gained a foothold in 1563 when they sent some of their best troops to subjugate the natives. Through their superior tactics and weaponry, the natives were easily defeated. The rest of the roughly 400,000 people living here at the time were cowed with the onset of European diseases, specifically small pox.

The New World had never been exposed to these diseases and the population had no immunity to these foreign diseases. It was what saw the end of the Inca and Aztec Empires as well.

Colony Established

Costa Rica gained its first colony in 1563. It was called Cartago and this interior settlement became the first capital of the country. It stayed this way until 1823 when it was largely levelled by an earthquake.

The history of Costa Rica tells us the establishment of Cartago brought many Spanish natives to the country. At the time, settlers preferred to live in countries with large numbers of foreign servants so they didn’t have to do the work themselves.

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Categories : Costa Rica Interest

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