Today, all of Costa Rica is celebrating and rejoicing its 189-year old independence from Spain. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for nearly 300 years as it colonized the region, enslaved native populations and decimated the island with smallpox. The fight for independence started in 1821 when it declared itself independent from Spain as did four other Central American countries.
Costa Rica was the first Central American country to begin exporting coffee helping to develop the first middle class in the region. Another first for the country is the election of its first female President Laura Chinchilla, who took office in February. The country also has bragging rights as having the highest life satisfaction anywhere in the world and being one of the greenest countries in the world.
The country has lived in relative peace since its declaration of independence abolishing its army in 1949 and living in the words of Jose Maria Zeledon Brenes: “Vivian siempre el trabajo y la paz.”