Costa Rica: History

  1. 1502

    Christopher Columbus makes the first European landfall in the area and names it Costa Rica which means rich coast.

  2. 1522

    Settlement of Costa Rica begins, and it becomes part of the vice-royalty of New Spain.

  3. 1808

    Coffee is brought to Costa Rica and becomes the principal crop.

  4. 1821

    Costa Rica joins other Central American provinces and declares independence from Spain.

  5. 1940

    President Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia brings liberal reforms to Costa Rica, including the strengthening of worker’s rights and minimum wages.

  6. 1949

    Jose Figueres Ferrer becomes president after leading an armed rebellion, and a new constitution is formed that guarantees free elections with universal suffrage and abolishes the military. Figueres also introduces a social security system and begins nationalizing banks.

  7. 1982

    Luis Alberto Monge is elected to the presidency and begins harsh austerity programs in the face of a sharp economic decline over the past five years.

  8. 2000

    Costa Rica and Nicaragua resolve a long-standing dispute over the San Juan River, which is the border between the two countries.

  9. 2007

    A long term plan is introduced for Costa Rica to become the first voluntarily carbon neutral country.

  10. 2007

    The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is narrowly approved in a referendum.

  11. 2008

    Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Costa Rica, a year after the country switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China. The move is seen as a way to encourage Chinese investment.


BBC News