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Costa Rica is officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica. It is
19,575 square miles in size and has a population of approximately 3,342,000
people. It is bordered by Panama and Nicaragua. The capital of Costa Rica
is San Jose. Its coastal areas are hot and humid and heavily forested. It has a
large chain of volcanoes rising over 12,000 feet. The official language of
Costa Rica is Spanish. It is a democratic nation and has no military. Costa
Rica has only 3 national newspapers.
Christopher Columbus discovered Costa Rica in 1502. In 1563 Spain
began its conquest of the Costa Rican area. In 1821 Costa Rica gained
independence and was successfully part of the Mexican empire. Coffee
growing started in the early 1800's and banana cultivation began in 1874.
Costa Rica's democratic government began in 1889. Its president from 1986
to 1990 worked for peace in Central America. Economically, Costa Rica has
a history of payment problems.
Costa Rica has a democratic government. Its current constitution was
adopted in 1949. In Costa Rica, the president serves as the chief executive
and head of state. The president is elected to a four year term. The
legislative assembly has fifty-seven deputies that are elected for a four year
term. The supreme court has seventeen justices appointed by the legislature.
Costa Rica's army was abolished in 1948. However, they do have a national
guard that can fight in a time of war. Costa Rica's seven provinces each have
a governer appointed by the president. All citizens 18 years of age or older
are required to vote in the national election. The country's two main political
parties are the National Liberation Party and the Social Christian Unity Party.
Population and Ancestry
In 1994, Costa Rica's population was about three and one quarter of a
millon people. It is estimated to be growing at a rate of about two and one
quarter percent. At this rate, Costa Rica's population will double in 30 years.
Costa Ricans take great pride in their country's heritage of government and
social equality. They do not take for granted their personal dignity and strong
family ties. Almost all of Costa Ricans speak Spanish but some blacks speak
with a Jamaican dialect. About 90% of the people belong to the Roman
About 50% of the Costa Ricans live on farms or in rural towns. A lot
of farmers live in Adobe cottages with thick, white stucco walls and red or
pink-tiled roofs. Most of Costa Rica's city people live in row houses. Many
Costa Ricans like to decorate their homes with plants and flowers. Wealthy
familys live in large ranch-style homes surrounded by huge gardens.
Parts of the diet of many Costa Ricans can include beans, coffee, corn,
eggs, rice, and tropical fruits like bananas, guaves, mangoes, oranges, and
pineapples. Many Costa Rican families als...
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