- Written by Volker Alsen
In 1502 Christopher Columbus arrived for the first time to the area that today is called Costa Rica.
However, the colonization by the Spaniards only began in 1560. This phase ended rather quickly (there were probably not enough treasures to find) and in 1821 appeared the Declaration of Independence.
From 1823 to 1838 Costa Rica was part of a Central American federation of states with Mexico, in 1838 the independent Republic was founded. Through the years, Costa Rica has seen may different regimes at power, some autocratic and since 1889 (relatively) freely chosen goverment.
1948 almost 2,000 people were killed in a civil war. Then José Figueres Ferrer founded the Second Republic, there were social reforms, women's suffrage and the abolition of the army. He limited the presidential term to 4 years and placed an independent electoral commission, which should manage future elections.
1983, the President Luis A. Monge announced, given the intensification of the civil war in Nicaragua, the unarmed neutrality of his country.
In the elections of 1986, the sociologist and lawyer Oscar Arias Sanchez won the presidency of Costa Rica. Arias did everything to force the Contras from the country and implement the declaration of neutrality of Costa Rica in the act. The breakthrough came in 1987 with the signing of a peace plan by the five Central American countries. For this, Mr. Arias was awarded the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize. Arias handed the presidency in 2010 to Laura Chinchilla, for the first time in history, Costa Rica had a female president. 2014 Luis Guillermo Solis won presidency of Costa Rica.
The batalla de Santa Rosa
The national park of Santa Rosa was founded in commemoration of the battle of Santa Rosa and Rivas.
History of Costa Rica: The unscrupulous North American commander William Walker was struggling to turn the Central American states into slavery states and to incorporate them into the Southern States of USA. In March 1856, his troops out of war-hungry outlaws set off from Nicaragua to the south and invaded Costa Rican territory.
Luckily, the Costa Ricans were informed early enough by their representative in Washington so that they activated military forces for a battle against the unsuspecting enemy. Mercenaries and inexperienced small farmers armed themselves and marched from San José to the north until they met the invaders on March 20th 1856 in Santa Rosa.
During the bloody struggle, the brave Juan Santamaria went to the enemy's hiding place. An old wooden fort that was set on fire. In this way, the Costa Ricans bate and expelled the surprised troops of William Walker after a quite short time and marked an incredible victory which guaranteed their own independence.
Today, Juan Santamaria is celebrated as a national hero and in order to honor him, the international airport in San José bears his name. William Walker who did not appear at the battle field was shot some years later.