• 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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • Costa Rica becomes fully independent.

  • 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.

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

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

  • The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is narrowly approved in a referendum.
  • Costa Rica wins territorial debate with Nicaragua when the International Court of Justice rules it has sovereignty over the wetlands known as Isla Portillo.


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