Costa Rica’s Independence: the first problem was the economy

Costa Rica’s Independence Day is celebrated every year on September 15. It is a national holiday that is widely celebrated throughout the country with parades and patriotic speeches in the capital city of San Jose and other Costa Rican cities. Costa Rica’s independence has been over 200 years ago, however, there are still some people who want to change their system of government from a presidential democratic republic to a socialist republic or even an absolute monarchy.

History of the Independence of Costa Rica

The independence of Central America is the commemoration of the signing of the Act of Independence of Central America on September 15, 1821. This independence covered countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Moreover, the signing of the document resulted in independence from the Spanish government.

Costa Rica has a rich history, including periods of colonial rule by both the Spanish and the French. It gained independence from Spain in 1821, but was not recognized as an independent nation until 1824 when they signed a treaty with Great Britain.

To begin with, Central American independence gained momentum after the French occupation of Spain in 1808. This generated political chaos in the Iberian Peninsula that culminated in the formation of different popular resistance groups better known as juntas. They created a clandestine Spanish government and promulgated the Constitution of 1812 with direct effect throughout the American continent. The first independence movement in Central America took place on November 5, 1811. This movement originated when, due to a conspiracy led by the priests José Matías Delgado and Nicolás Aguilar, an attempt was made to seize some weapons that existed in the casemates of San Salvador. This movement was followed by rebellions in Nicaragua, the conspiracy of Belen and other movements from 1814 to 1821. A meeting between the colonial authorities and a council of notables composed of religious leaders and enlightened Creoles ended on September 15, 1821. This meeting was dominated by Spain in the former viceroyalty of Guatemala, and the republics of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

On September 15, 1821, Costa Rica became an independent nation. They had been a colony of Spain for almost 300 years. However, after independence the first problem was the economy.

Costa Rica Independence photo: Bruce Thompson

What was the economic situation after Costa Rica’s Independence?

The first problem Costa Rica faced after gaining independence was the economy. Costa Rica is a small country with a population of just over 4 million people. The country has a diverse economy that includes agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. However, the main export is coffee beans.

At that time, the country opted for an open economy in which exonerations were given to promote exports. From then on, it became more dependent on state monopolies. In other words, the payment of stamps, taxes on certain products and the tax burden were not enough to cover the growth of the public sector and the alternative was to go into debt. In fact, there are two important elements that can mean a particularity in the national case, which caused this deficit to increase, especially in investment. These are investment in education and investment in health. However, there was also support from certain elements of the elite, including the Church, which was also a lending power at the time.

In conclusion, in 1821, Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain. In the following decades, Costa Rica’s economy was based primarily on agriculture and coffee production. However, in recent years the economy has been shifting towards the tourism industry and services with a focus on healthcare and technology.


Zelda Walters for Sensorial Sunsets

In Summary

  • Costa Rica is a Central American country with a long history of independence. It was the first country in the region to abolish its army and use democracy as a form of government.
  • Costa Rica’s economy is based on agriculture and tourism.
  • September 15, 1821 is the date Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain. The first problem after independence was the economy. Costa Rican coffee and bananas were not enough to sustain the country’s economy.