Sunday, June 6, 2010

COSTA RICA - Country profile

Although explored by the Spanish early in the 16th century,
initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful
due to a combination of factors, including :
disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives,
and pirate raids.
It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago
was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands.
The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries.
In 1821, Costa Rica became one of several Central American provinces
that jointly declared their independence from Spain.
Two years later it joined the United Provinces of Central America,
but this federation disintegrated in 1838,
at which time Costa Rica proclaimed its sovereignty and independence.
Since the late 19th century,
only two brief periods of violence have marred the country's democratic development. Although it still maintains a large agricultural sector,
Costa Rica has expanded its economy
to include strong technology and tourism industries.

Flag of COSTA RICA :

The flag of Costa Rica was officially adopted on November 27, 1906. However, the blue, white and red horizontal design was created and used since 1848 when Costa Rica left the Federal Republic of Central America and declared itself a Sovereign Republic. Pacífica Fernández, wife of the president, José María Castro Madriz created it inspired on the colors of the French Flag. The state flag and ensign includes the coat of arms of Costa Rica, while the civil ensign (there is no civil flag) omits the coat of arms.

The blue color stands for the sky, opportunities, idealism and perseverance. The white color stands for peace, wisdom and happiness. The red color stands for the blood spilt by martyrs in defense of the country, as well as the warmth and generosity of the people.

The flag of Costa Rica is similar to the flag of Thailand, which was adopted 11 years later. It also resembles the flag of North Korea.

Red, white, and blue recall the colors of the French Tricolore. Blue and white were the colors of the original flag of the United Provinces of Central America.

The Central American flag remained in use in Costa Rica until 1848 when, in response to events in France, it was decided to incorporate the French colors into the national flag. This was done by adding a central red stripe. The coat of arms was also revised and placed in the center of the flag. In 1906, it was placed in a white disk on the red stripe, and later on an oval, set toward the hoist.

The coat of arms depicts the isthmus between the Pacific ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with 3 volcanoes. The 7 stars stand for the 7 provinces of Costa Rica. The Spanish name of the country is scrolled on a white banner, Republica de Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica), and the Central American union is recognized in the blue upper scroll, America Central, recalling the former United Provinces of Central America.

National Anthem COSTA RICA :

"Himno Nacional de Costa Rica" is the national anthem of Costa Rica. It was originally adopted in 1853, with the music composed by Manuel María Gutiérrez. Words by José María Zeledón Brenes were added in 1900.

Lyrics :

Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera
expresión de tu vida nos da ;
bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo
blanca y pura descansa la paz.

En la lucha tenaz,
de fecunda labor
que enrojece del hombre la faz,
conquistaron tus hijos
labriegos sencillos
eterno prestigio, estima y honor.

¡Salve, o tierra gentil !
¡Salve, o madre de amor !
Cuando alguno pretenda
tu gloria manchar,
verás a tu pueblo valiente y viril,
la tosca herramienta en arma trocar.

Salve oh Patria tu pródigo suelo,
dulce abrigo y sustento nos da ;
bajo el límpido azul de tu cielo
¡vivan siempre el trabajo y la paz !

Location :

Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama.

Maps :

Area :

Total : 51 100 sq km
Land : 51 060 sq km
Water : 40 sq km
Note : includes Isla del Coco.

Coastline :

1 290 km

Elevation extremes :

Lowest point : Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point : Cerro Chirripo 3 810 m

Terrain :

Coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes.

Natural resources :


Climate :

Current weather : tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April) ; rainy season (May to November) ; cooler in highlands.

Population :

4 516 220 (Estimation 2010)

Nationality :

Demonym : Costa Rican, Tico

Ethnic groups :

White (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1%.

Religions :

Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2%.

Languages :

Spanish (official), English.

Country name :

Conventional long form : Republic of Costa Rica
Conventional short form : Costa Rica
Local long form : Republica de Costa Rica
Local short form : Costa Rica

ISO country code :


Government type :

Democratic republic.

Capital :

San Jose (population : 350 535 - 2007 ; costa rican largest city)

Other major cities :

Puntarenas, Limon.

Administrative divisions :

7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia) :
  1. Cartago
  2. Guanacaste
  3. Heredia
  4. Limón
  5. Puntarenas
  6. San José

Independance :

15 September 1821 (from Spain)
4 October 1824 (from Mexico)
21 march 1847 (from UPCA)

10 May 1850 : recognized by Spain

National holiday :

Independence Day, 15 September.

Constitution :

7 November 1949.

Executive branch :

Chief of state : President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010); First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010) ; Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010).
Note : the president is both the chief of state and head of government.

Head of government : President Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (since 8 May 2010) ; First Vice President Alfio PIVA Mesen (since 8 May 2010) ; Second Vice President Luis LIBERMAN Ginsburg (since 8 May 2010).

Cabinet : Cabinet selected by the president.

Elections : president and vice presidents elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term ; election last held on 7 February 2010 (next to be held in February 2014).

Election results : Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda elected president ; percent of vote - Laura CHINCHILLA Miranda (PLN) 46.7% ; Otton SOLIS (PAC) 25.1%, Otto GUEVARA Guth (ML) 20.8%.

Legislative branch :

Unicameral Legislative Assembly or Asamblea Legislativa (57 seats; members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms).

Judicial branch :

Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (22 justices are elected for renewable eight-year terms by the Legislative Assembly).

Currency :

Costa Rican colón (CRC)

Agriculture products :

Bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar, corn, rice, beans, potatoes, beef, poultry, dairy, timber.

Industries :

Microprocessors, food processing, medical equipment, textiles and clothing, construction materials, fertilizer, plastic products.

Exports partners :

US 23.9%, Netherlands 13.3%, China 13%, UK 5%, Mexico 4.9% (2008).

Imports partners :

US 42.7%, Mexico 6.9%, Venezuela 6.3%, Japan 5.4%, China 4.6%, Brazil 4.5% (2008).

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