Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east, with a total of 1,290 kilometres (800 mi) of coastline, 212 km (132 mi) on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km (631 mi) on the Pacific. The name Costa Rica actually means “Rich Coast.” The country prides itself on its efforts to promote sustainability and green activities. It is a top ranked Latin American country in the Human Development index and has been rated as one of the greenest countries in the world. The literacy rate in Costa Rica is 94.9%, one of the highest in Latin America. When the army was abolished in 1949, it was said that the “army would be replaced with an army of teachers.”
Costa Rican History
HISTORY In 1502, on his fourth and last voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus made the first European landfall in the area. Settlement of Costa Rica began in 1522. For nearly 3 centuries, Spain administered the region as part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala under a military governor. The Spanish optimistically called the country “Rich Coast.” Finding little gold or other valuable minerals in Costa Rica, however, the Spanish turned to agriculture.
PROVINCES, CANTONS and DISTRICTS
Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, which in turn are divided into 81 cantons each of which is directed by a mayor. Mayors are chosen democratically every four years by each canton’s people. The cantons are further divided into 421 districts (distritos).
The provinces are:
7. San José