Costa Rica: History

  1. 1561

    Juan de Cavallon of Spain leads the first successful colonizers into Costa Rica. Columbus discovered and named the area in 1502, but disease and resistance from the local population delayed permanent colonial establishment until 1561.

  2. 1808

    Coffee is introduced from Cuba and becomes Costa Rica's main crop.

  3. 1821

    Central America gains independence from Spain, leading to a dispute over whether Costa Rica should join an independent Mexico or a confederation of Central American states.

  4. 1823

    Costa Rica elects to join the United Provinces of Central America, along with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

  5. 1838

    Costa Rica become fully independent.

  6. 1870-1882

    Costa Rica encourages intensive foreign investment in railroads and public infrastructure.  As a result, the nation becomes more dependent on international markets and foreign capital.

  7. 1982

    Harsh austerity programs are introduced following several years of sharp economic decline. 

  8. 2007

    Costa Rica realigns their diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in an attempt to increase Chinese investment.

  9. 2007

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


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