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Costa Rica Information - Page 2
Christopher Columbus visited Costa Rica in 1502. Cartago, Costa Rica's first Colonial city, was founded sixty years later.

Spain ruled Costa Rica for almost three centuries. Independence was achieved in 1821. Soon after independence, Costa Rica became a member of UPCA, the United Provinces of Central America. Other members of UPCA were El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Costa Rica became fully independent in 1838.

Coffee, introduced at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was Costa Rica's most important crop. Towards the end of the century, the US United Fruit Company started cultivation of bananas on a large-scale. This expansion of Costa Rica's agricultural sector led to investment in transport, especially the railways.

In 1948 a short civil war, lasting six weeks, took place after a presidential election. Following the war, a number of social reforms were introduced.

For many years Costa Rica has been one of the most stable countries in Central America. In 1987, Oscar Arias Sanchez gained agreement from neighbouring Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for a regional peace plan. Oscar Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Traditionally dependent on the agricultural sector, Costa Rica has developed a strong technology sector since the 1990s. Tourism has also grown significantly and is the country's main source of foreign exchange.

Nowadays, agriculture accounts for the smallest percentage of the Gross Domestic Product. Agricultural products are maize, rice, beans, potatoes, bananas, melons, pineapples, sugar, coffee and beef.

Principal industries include microprocessors, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic goods, textiles, clothing and food processing. (2011)

Cultural institutions in Costa Rica include the National Theatre, the Melico Salazar Popular Theatre, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the National Dance Company.

Art galleries and museums are the Museum of Costa Rican Art, the Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design, the Museum of the Central Bank of Costa Rica, and the Museum of Natural Science.

Football is a popular sport in Costa Rica. The national football team is called Los Ticos. Other team games played are baseball, basketball and volleyball.

Water sports are swimming, scuba diving and surfing. There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing.

Christmas and Easter are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January, Labour Day - 1 May, and Independence Day - 15 September (1821 from Spain).

News from Costa Rica is available from Newslink.

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