The Costa Rican Red Cross was founded by a group of volunteers who wanted to provide aid to wounded soldiers during the civil war that struck the country in 1866. The Red Cross has provided medical care, blood transfusions, first aid and psychosocial support to people in need since its inception.

History of the Costa Rican Red Cross

This organization was born on October 29, 1863. It was born as a humanitarian organization providing aid to people in need. Since 1888 they have been working in providing assistance to victims of natural disasters and other emergencies. This was a consequence of the earthquake in Fraijanes, when the need for permanent relief personnel outside the armed conflict was evident.

In 1917 the first commission of ladies of the Costa Rican Red Cross was created with María Fernández de Tinoco and other women of the time. As a result of the explosion of the Casa de la Pólvora. A warehouse of the Costa Rican Army arsenal, located next to the General Penitentiary, currently the Children’s Museum.  In which, as a result of the great explosion, there were more than 75 victims. Professor Macabeo Vargas Castro, testified from his workshop called “El Cometa” the explosion and its effects caused by the need to provide help to the victims.

In 1921, at the initiative of Macabeo Vargas, who decided to reorganize the Costa Rican Red Cross. A Provisional Board met on March 31, 1921 to create a new Superior Council and a National Society where principles, ideals and concrete actions were born. On April 15, 1921, the President of the Republic, Julio Acosta, by means of Executive Decree no. 114, accepts the proposal, modifies the proposal, modifies the Constitution and establishes a new National Society. 114, accepts the proposal, modifies the one signed by Bernardo Soto and authorizes the operation of the Institution not only in times of war, but also in times of peace. The foundations of what is today the Institution were laid, the first ambulance that left for Guanacaste was organized, as well as the groups of Ladies Volunteers, First Responders and Youth Red Cross.


“Closer and closer to the people”

Under this motto, the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that aims to prevent and alleviate human suffering in emergency situations. It was founded in 1863 by Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman and social activist, who was inspired by the vision of suffering after the Battle of Solferino in 1859. The organization is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement along with the International Red Cross Movement Committee of the Red Cross.

The Costa Rican Red Cross has been active in different areas such as health, education, social welfare, disaster relief and protection. They are working to improve the quality of life of Costa Ricans through their programs such as “El Buen Vivir”, which is an integral approach to development that focuses on the well-being, happiness and vitality of people.

In Summary

  1. The history recorded in this part of the chronology dates back to 1885. This, with the creation of the Costa Rican Red Cross due to the armed conflicts of the time. 
  2. It has been determined that the period changes in 1919, thanks to previous events, allows the Costa Rican Red Cross to initiate the change of function. This function was initially created to provide aid in times of armed conflict.
  3. The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that aims to prevent and alleviate human suffering in emergency situations.

Author: Zelda Walters for Sensorial Sunsets