Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

January 10, 2013

COSTA RICA - A COUNTRY IN SPANISH AMERICA


WHERE IS COSTA  RICA LOCATED?


The location of Costa Rica can be defined in several ways.
In the first place, this country is part of North America, and specifically it is one of the six Spanish-speaking countries in Central America (a part of North America, of course!)


This provides us with the second definition for its location: Costa Rica is one of the countries in Spanish America, and therefore it is an important element of this Blog!


Map of Costa Rica, showing Location and Relief.





Source: Eric Gaba, CC BY SA 3.0.Wikimedia Commons



The map shows us the boundaries of Costa Rica:

  • To the North, Nicaragua
  • To the South, Panama
  • To the East, the Caribbean Sea
  • To the West, the Pacific Ocean.



 A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRE-HISPANIC COSTA RICA 



Humans have inhabited the rain forests of Costa Rica for 10,000 years, but there is very little knowledge of these pre-Columbian cultures. Many vestiges of these inhabitants have been lost due to the characteristics of the rain-forest environment, never a good place for the preservation of fragile organic remains.


The Central Valley contains the only major archaeological site uncovered in Costa Rica at Guayabo. It is thought to be an ancient ceremonial center and features paved streets, an aqueduct and decorative gold.


In the southwest and on the Isla del Caño, many mysterious stone spheres dot the landscape. Weighing up to 16 tons, the smallest is the size of a baseball. They are all hand-sculpted and have inspired many theories!



COSTA RICA AS A COLONY OF SPAIN.


During the colonial period, Costa Rica was a province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, which in turn was included in the Viceroyalty of New Spain (basically Mexico). Lacking in resources such as gold or silver, the province was not a favorite of the Spanish Conquistadores. The native population was sparse, so there was no available work force. The settlers had to do the work with their own hands. This made the area doubly unattractive.


For all these reasons Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. It was also rather isolated from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes; this all contributed to the development of an autonomous and individualistic agrarian society.



MODERN DEVELOPMENT OF COSTA RICA.



The characteristics mentioned above seem to have conditioned the more modern history of this country. After Independence in 1821, instead of recurring cycles of dictatorship and poverty, Costa Rica was able to achieve an enduring democracy and the highest standards of living in Central America. What’s more, Costa Rica is unique among all nations for its “unarmed” political democracy (no army) and “green” economic revolution.


The economic development started in the 19th century, when it was realized that the soil and climate of the Central Valley highlands were ideal for coffee cultivation. Costa Rica led the Central American nations in introducing the coffee bean, which turned the impoverished country into the wealthiest in the region.


Much of this wealth came from exporting the coffee production to external markets. The Costa Rican coffee boom was on!


In the 1970s, world coffee prices rapidly dropped due to oversupply. This brought together an unusual alliance of economic developers and environmental conservationists. Deciding that if wealth could no longer be obtained by exports, Costa Rican developers looked to importing … tourists! The nation initiated its “green revolution”


At present, almost one-third of the country is under environmental protection, giving rise to a very strong eco-tourism.


According to an international list that ranks nations by combining measures of their ecological footprint with the happiness of their citizens, Costa Rica is at present “the greenest and happiest nation in the world”!



MORE FASCINATING DETAILS ABOUT COSTA RICA.


The cuisine is varied, combining meat, vegetables and fruit in original, colorful and tasty ways.


The music is lively, combing native melodies and rhythms with both the Spanish and the African influence.


The native folklore is colorful, there are attractive group dances and pair dances performed with the dancers adorned with beautiful costumes. There is a love of vibrant colors, which are used profusely.


The beaches are too many to count! All of them are beautiful!



FAMOUS POLITICAL FIGURES



  • Oscar Arias, President of Costa Rica for two periods: 1986 – 1990 and 2006 – 2010. Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his Central American Peace Plan.
  • Laura Chinchilla, first female president of Costa Rica, is the present incumbent (8 May 2010)


FINAL WORDS.


Costa Rica is a fun place to visit, especially for all us “green” enthusiasts who also like to eat well!



A FAMOUS TOURIST LOCATION:  POAS CRATER.




Source: Peter Andersen, CC BY SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons



ONE OF THE FAMOUS BEACHES IN COSTA RICA




Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons


A SCENE FROM COCO'S ISLAND: A GORGEOUS WATERFALL






Source: J. Rawls, CC BY SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons




SPANISH VERSION




Costa Rica se ubica en América Central y por tanto es una parte de Norte América. Corresponde en este Blog por ser un país de habla hispana.
Se indican los límites, que se entienden sin traducción.


Hay un breve comentario sobre la historia pre-hispana de Costa Rica, que comenzó al menos 10.000 años atrás. Se observan ruinas de un posible centro ceremonial, ubicado en el Valle Central y en la región sureña abundan unas bolas de piedra que fueron talladas a mano, y cuyo propósito sigue siendo un misterio.


En su rol como colonia de España, Costa Rica no se lució. No contaban con riquezas en oro y plata y no contaba tampoco con suficiente fuerza laboral para explotar sus tierras. Fue por tanto mas bien ignorada por los Conquistadores. Al parecer esto terminó siendo una ventaja para su posterior desarrollo democrático.


En los tiempos actuales, Costa Rica es una democracia estable, que no cuenta con un ejército propio y que ama la cultura “verde”.


Después de vivir el boom de la producción del café, Costa Rica descubrió la ventaja económica de transformarse en un país dedicado al eco-turismo.
Según encuestas internacionales, Costa Rica es actualmente la nación más verde del planeta y también la más feliz.


Entre los puntos de interés, Costa Rica se destaca por su variada cocina, su música desarrollada con influencias indígenas, españolas y africanas, el gusto por los colores vibrantes, y numerosas y hermosísimas playas.


Dos de sus figuras políticas más importantes son: el ex Presidente Oscar Arias, quien completó dos períodos por elección democrática y además se hizo acreedor del Premio Nobel de la Paz en 1987. La otra figura destacada es la actual presidenta, Laura Chinchilla, primera mujer que ostenta este alto rango en Costa Rica.



More about Costa Rica in future post.               Más sobre Costa Rica en un próximo post.



LANGUAGE TIPS FOR ENGLISH



Words that go together!  * Keep a promise - * Get ready - * Close a meeting - * Spare time – * Take on staff



LANGUAGE TIPS FOR SPANISH.



Expresiones de uso frecuente: * Déjame en paz - * Hacer borrón y cuenta nueva - * Hoy por ti mañana por mí - * La avaricia rompe el saco



How is your level of comprehension?      ¿Cómo está su nivel de comprensión?



© 2012  joanveronica  (Joan Robertson)



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