THE NAME: From Spanish, meaning “rich coast”; given by Christopher Columbus
THE PEOPLE: The Costa Ricans
Narrow Pacific coastal region
Four cordilleras in the center of the country, bordered by plains that extend east to the Caribbean Sea and west to the Pacifie Ocean.
Max. altitude: 3,820 m. (12,529 ft.) (Chirripo Grande)
Area: 51,100 sq. km. (19,730 sq. mi.)
Density: 53 pers./sq. km. (138 pers./sq. mi.) (1986)
Arable land: 13% (1987) Forest: 31%
Climate: Warm and damp in the coastal lowlands, but cooler on the central plateau.
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Originally inhabited by independent Indian tribes
(Boruca, Carib, Chorotega, Corobici, and Nahua)
1502: Discovery by Christopher Columbus
1563: After 60 years of fighting the Indians, the Spanish establish a permanent settlement.
Founding of Cartago, which was administered as part of the Captaincy of Guatemala
September 15, 1821: Independence from Spain
Joins Mexican Empire
1823-38: Member of the United Provinces of Central America
1890: First free election begins a tradition of democracy
1917-19: Dictatorship of Federico Granados
1948: Revolution; army is proscribed and replaced by a civil guard.