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Costa Rica History Timeline

Costa Rica's Information

Flag of Costa Rica
Land Area 51,060 km2
Water Area 40 km2
Total Area 51,100km2 (#126)
Population 4,872,543 (#123)
Population Density 95.43/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $79.26 Billion
GDP Per Capita $16,100
Currency Colon (CRC)
More Information Costa Rica
Largest Cities
  • (1502) Christopher Columbus visited area, named it Costa Rica (Rich Coast)
  • (1522) Gil González Dávila led expedition to Golfo de Nicoya, converted thousands of Indians to Christianity, took their gold, sold some as slaves
  • (1524) Francisco Fernández de Córdova founded first Spanish settlement near present day Puntarenas
  • (1540's) Costa Rica part of vice-royalty of Spain
  • (1561) Juan de Cavallon of Spain established first colony
1700s - 1800s
  • (1723) Irazú volcano erupted, destroyed Cartago
  • (1808) Coffee from Cuba introduced, became primary crop
  • (1821) Central America gained independence from Spain; dispute over Costa Rica joining independent Mexico or confederation of Central American states
  • (1823) Costa Rica joined United Provinces of Central America with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
  • (1838) Costa Rica became independent
  • (1855) US adventurer, William Walker, took over Nicaragua, attempted to take Costa Rica
  • (1849 - 1859) Led by Juan Rafael Mora, Costa Rica took lead in organising Central American resistance against William Walker
  • (1859) Mora ousted, fled to El Salvador
  • (1860) Mora attacked Costa Rica to attempt to recoup the presidency; after initial victories, he was defeated, captured, taken before firing squad
  • (1874) Banana cultivation began
  • (1910) Earthquake destroyed Cartago, 700 killed
  • (1917) Frederico Tinoco ousted President Alfredo Gonzalez
  • (1919) US Marines invaded Costa Rica
  • (1940's) US Navy purchased two-thirds of the island of Vieques, for $1.4 million
  • (1940 - 1944) President Rafael Angel Calderon Guradia introduced liberal reforms: recognition of workers' rights, minimum wages
  • (1948) Civil war over disputed presidential election lasted six weeks, more than 2,000 dead
  • (1949) New constitution in effect; women, people of African descent given right to vote; armed forces abolished, replaced with civil guard; social security, national banks introduced
  • (1963 - 1964) Irazu volcano erupted, destroyed over 400 homes, 40 killed, crops seriously damaged
  • (1968) Arenal volcano erupted, destroyed town of Tabacón, killed 78
  • (1978) Economy sharply deteriorated
  • (1982) Harsh austerity program introduced to pull Costa Rica out of economic decline
  • (1985) US-trained anti-guerrilla force clashed with Sandinista troops

1900s continued

  • (1987) Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras signed peace plan devised by Oscar Arias Sanchez; Sanchez won Nobel Peace Prize
  • (1991) Earthquake in Limon region killed 27, injured 400, left 13,000 homeless
  • (1999) One million tourists visited Costa Rica
  • (2000) Nicaragua, Costa Rica settled border dispute over navigation along San Juan River
  • (2003) Energy, telecommunications workers struck over privatization plans; teachers struck due to problems in receiving salaries; three ministers resigned; US Navy left Vieques Island
  • (2004) Three diplomats from Chile killed by security guard at embassy in San Jose; three former presidents investigated for contractor payments
  • (2005) Serious flooding along Caribbean coast caused by heavy rains, 13,000 forced from homes; seven Central American nations (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) agreed to create rapid-response force to combat drug trafficking, terrorism, other regional threats; bank robbery attempt resulted in 30-hour hostage standoff, nine people killed, including five bank customers
  • (2006) Public workers struck for two days in protest of free trade deal with US
  • (2007) Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) barely passed; Costa Rica elected as non-permanent member of UN Security Council; agents made largest marijuana bust in nation's history, seized 4.85 tons in abandoned boat.
  • (2009) Costa Rica re-established ties with Cuba after 48 years
  • (2010) Laura Chinchilla elected first woman president
This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.

Costa Rica Trivia

What Languages are Spoken in Costa Rica?

panish is the official language of Costa Rica. A number of indigenous languages such as Cabécar, Bribri, and Maléku are also spoken.

What Languages Are Spoken In Costa Rica?

What is the Biggest City in Costa Rica?

San José is the largest city in Costa Rica, with a population of 333,980.

Biggest Cities In Costa Rica

What Kind of Government Does Costa Rica Have?

Costa Rica is a presidential, representative democratic republic, whereby the president serves as the country's head of state and head of government.

What Type of Government Does Costa Rica Have?

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is endowed with natural resources including arable land, minerals, wildlife, rivers, forests, and the country's beautiful scenery.

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Costa Rica?

What is the Capital of Costa Rica?

San José is the capital city of Costa Rica.

What Is the Capital of Costa Rica?

What Kind of Mammals are From Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is home to diverse plant and animal life. The country contains 5% of world’s biodiversity. Some mammals that are native to Costa Rica include the West Indian Manatee, the Baird's tapir, and the rough-toothed dolphin.

Native Mammals Of Costa Rica

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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