Costa Rica (meaning "rich coast" in Spanish) is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the eastDell Latitude E5420 Battery.
Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army permanently in 1949. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 older democracies. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), ranked 69th in the world in 2011Dell Latitude E5520 Battery.
Costa Rica was cited by the UNDP in 2010 as one of the countries that have attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, and in 2011 was highlighted by UNDP for being a good performer on environmental sustainability, and better record on human development and inequality than the median of their region. It was also the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. Dell Latitude E6120 Battery The country is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index.
In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 Happy Planet Index, and once again in 2012. The NEF also ranked Costa Rica in 2009 as the "greenest" country in the worldDell Latitude E6220 Battery. In 2012 Costa Rica is set to be the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.
Main article: History of Costa Rica
Historians have classified the indigenous people of Costa Rica as belonging to the Intermediate Area, where the peripheries of the Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures overlapped. More recentlyDell Latitude E6320 Battery, pre-Columbian Costa Rica has also been described as part of the Isthmo-Colombian Area. The northwest of the country, Nicoya Peninsula, was the southernmost reach of the Nahuatl culture when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century. The rest of the country was influenced by various Chibcha speaking indigenous groupsDell Latitude E6420 Battery.
The impact of indigenous peoples on modern Costa Rican culture has been relatively small compared to other nations, since the country lacked a strong native civilization to begin with. Most of the native population was absorbed into the Spanish-speaking colonial society through inter-marriage, except for some small remnantsDell Latitude E6520 Battery, the most significant of which are the Bribri and Boruca tribes who still inhabit the mountains of the Cordillera de Talamanca, in the southern part of Costa Rica, near the frontier with Panama.
Accounts differ as to whether the name la costa rica (Spanish for "rich coast") was first applied by Christopher Columbus, who sailed to the eastern shores of Costa Rica during his final voyage in 1502, Dell Latitude D420 Batteryand reported the presence of vast quantities of gold jewelry among the natives or by the conquistador Gil González Dávila, who landed on the west coast in 1522, met with the natives, and appropriated some of their gold.
During most of the colonial period, Costa Rica was the southernmost province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, which was nominally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain (i.e., Mexico) Dell Latitude D430 Battery, but which in practice operated as a largely autonomous entity within the Spanish Empire. Costa Rica's distance from the capital in Guatemala, its legal prohibition under Spanish law to trade with its southern neighbors in Panama, then part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (i.e., Colombia), and the lack of resources, such as gold and silver, made Costa Rica into a poor, isolated, and sparsely inhabited region within the Spanish Empire. Dell Studio 1450 BatteryCosta Rica was described as "the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all America" by a Spanish governor in 1719.
Another important factor behind Costa Rica's poverty was the lack of a significant indigenous population available for Encomienda (forced labor), which meant most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work on their own land, preventing the establishment of large haciendas (properties). For all these reasonsDell Studio 1457 Battery, Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The circumstances during this period are believed to have led to many of the idiosyncrasies for which Costa Rica has become known, while concomitantly setting the stage for Costa Rica's development as a more egalitarian society than the rest of its neighborsDell Studio 1458 Battery. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class. It was not long before Spanish settlers turned to the hills, where they found rich volcanic soil and a milder climate than that of the lowlands.
Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain. On September 15, 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21) Dell Latitude D410 Battery, the authorities in Guatemala declared the independence of all of Central America. That date is still celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica, even though, technically, under the Spanish Constitution of 1812 that had been readopted in 1820, Nicaragua and Costa Rica had become an autonomous province with its capital in León.
Like other Central American nationsDell Inspiron 9100 Battery, Costa Rica joined the short-lived First Mexican Empire of Agustín de Iturbide but, after its collapse in 1823, Costa Rica became instead a province of the new Federal Republic of Central America, which theoretically existed from 1823 to 1839, but which exercised a very loose authority over its constituent provinces, particularly the poor and remote Costa RicaDell Inspiron XPS Battery. In 1824, the Costa Rican capital was moved to San José, leading to a brief outburst of violence over rivalry with the old capital, Cartago. While civil wars raged both among the provinces of the Federal Republic of Central America and between political factions within individual provinces, Costa Rica remained largely at peaceDell Inspiron 1320 Battery.
The 1849 national coat of arms was featured in the first postal stamp issued in 1862
In 1838, long after the Federal Republic of Central America ceased to function in practice, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself sovereign. The considerable distance and poor communication routes between Guatemala City and the Central Plateau, where most of the Costa Rican population lived then and still lives nowDell Vostro a90n Battery, meant the local population had little allegiance to the federal government in Guatemala. From colonial times to now, Costa Rica's reluctance to become politically tied with the rest of Central America has been a major obstacle to efforts for greater regional integration.
Coffee was first planted in Costa Rica in the early 19th century, and was first shipped to Europe in 1843, soon becoming Costa Rica's first major export. Coffee production would remain Costa Rica's principal source of wealth well into the 20th centuryDell Inspiron mini 910 Battery. Most of the coffee exported was grown around the main centers of population in the Central Plateau and then transported by oxcart to the Pacific port of Puntarenas. Since the main market for the coffee was in Europe, it soon became a high priority to develop a transportation route from the Central Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean. For this purpose, in the 1870sDell Inspiron mini 9 Battery, the Costa Rican government contracted with U.S. businessman Minor C. Keith to build a railroad to the Caribbean port of Limón. Despite enormous difficulties with construction, disease, and financing, the railroad was completed in 1890.
Most Afro-Costa Ricans, who constitute about 3% of the country's population, descend from Jamaican immigrants who worked in the construction of that railway. Dell Inspiron 910 Battery United States convicts, Italians and Chinese immigrants also participated in the construction project. In exchange for completing the railroad, the Costa Rican government granted Keith large tracts of land and a lease on the train route, which he used to produce bananas and export them to the United States. As a result, bananas came to rival coffee as the principal Costa Rican exportDell Inspiron 11z Battery, while foreign-owned corporations (including the United Fruit Company) began to hold a major role in the national economy.
Historically, Costa Rica has generally enjoyed greater peace and more consistent political stability compared with many of its fellow Latin American nations. Since the late 19th century, however, Costa Rica has experienced two significant periods of violence. In 1917–19, General Federico Tinoco Granados ruled as a military dictator until he was overthrown and forced into exileDell Inspiron mini 10 Battery. The unpopularity of Tinoco's regime led, after he was overthrown, to a considerable decline in the size, wealth, and political influence of the Costa Rican military. In 1948, José Figueres Ferrer led an armed uprising in the wake of a disputed presidential election between the previous president Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia (he served as president between 1940 and 1944) and Otilio Ulate Blanco. Dell Inspiron mini 1010 Battery With more than 2,000 dead, the resulting 44-day Costa Rican Civil War was the bloodiest event in Costa Rica during the 20th century.
The victorious rebels formed a government junta that abolished the military altogether, and oversaw the drafting of a new constitution by a democratically elected assembly. Having enacted these reforms, the junta relinquished its power on November 8, 1949, to the new democratic government. After the coup d'état, Figueres became a national heroDell Inspiron mini 1010n Battery, winning the country's first democratic election under the new constitution in 1953. Since then, Costa Rica has held 13 presidential elections, the latest in 2010. All of them have been widely regarded by the international community as peaceful and transparent.
Main article: Geography of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It borders the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the Pacific Ocean (to the west), with a total of 1,290 kilometres (800 mi) of coastline, 212 km (132 mi) on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km (631 mi) on the PacificDell Inspiron mini 1011 Battery.
Costa Rica also borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km or 192 mi of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (639 km or 397 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometres (19,700 sq mi) plus 589 square kilometres (227 sq mi) of territorial waters.
The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, at 3,819 metres (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America. The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft). The largest lake in Costa Rica is Lake ArenalDell Inspiron mini 1011n Battery.
Costa Rica also comprises several islands. Cocos Island (24 square kilometres / 9.3 square miles) stands out because of its distance from continental landmass, 300 mi (480 km) from Puntarenas, but Calero Island is the largest island of the country (151.6 square kilometres / 58.5 square miles). Over 25% of Costa Rica's national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country's protected areasDell Inspiron 1470 Battery. Costa Rica also possesses the greatest density of species in the world.
See also: List of volcanoes in Costa Rica, Islands of Costa Rica, and Category:Waterfalls of Costa Rica
Main article: Climate of Costa Rica
Because Costa Rica is located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical year round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular regionDell Inspiron 1470n Battery.
Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not to the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The "summer" or dry season goes from December to April, and "winter" or rainy season goes from May to NovemberDell Inspiron 1570 Battery, which almost coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season, and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.
The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5,000 mm (196.9 in). Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27 °C (81 °F), 20 °C (68 °F) in the main populated areas of the Central CordileraDell Inspiron 1570n Battery, and below 10 °C (50 °F) on the summits of the highest mountains.
Flora and fauna
Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas)
Heliconius doris Linnaeus butterfly of Costa Rica
See also: Wildlife of Costa Rica and List of birds of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.25% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%)dell inspiron 500M battery. Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005.
One national park, the Corcovado National Park, is internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. Corcovado is the one park in Costa Rica where all four Costa Rican monkey species can be found. dell inspiron 600M batteryThese include the white-headed capuchin, the mantled howler,the endangered Geoffroy's spider monkey and the Central American squirrel monkey, found only on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and a small part of Panama, and considered endangered until 2008, when its status was upgraded to vulnerable. Deforestation, illegal pet-trading, and hunting are the main reasons for its threatened status. dell inspiron 630M battery
Tortuguero National Park—the name Tortuguero can be translated as "Full of Turtles"—is home to spider, howler and white-throated capuchin monkeys; the three-toed sloth and two-toed sloth; 320 species of birds; and a variety of reptiles. The park is recognized for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle, and is the most important nesting site for the species. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest theredell inspiron 640M battery.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids. Over 400 types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals can be found there.
As a whole, around 700 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importancedell inspiron 6000 battery.
Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).
An Intel microprocessor facility in Costa Rica is responsible for 20% of Costa Rican exports and 5% of the country's GDPdell inspiron 6400 battery.
A coffee plantation in the Orosí Valley
Main articles: Economy of Costa Rica and Tourism in Costa Rica
According to the World Bank, Costa Rica's GDP per capita is US$11,122 PPP (as of 2009); however, this developing country still faces lack of maintenance and new investment in infrastructure, a poverty rate estimated to be 23%, a 7.8% unemployment rate (2009 est.), and a trade deficit of 5.2%. For the fiscal year 2007, the country showed a government surplus. Economic growth in 2008 diminished to a 3% increase in the face of a global recession (down from 7% and 9% growth in the prior two years) dell inspiron 9200 battery.
Costa Rica's inflation rate was an estimated 4.8% in 2011. On October 16, 2006, a new currency exchange system was introduced, allowing the value of the CRC colón to float between two bands as done previously by Chile. This policy's objective was to allow the Central Bank to be able to better tackle inflation and discourage the use of U.S. dollarsdell inspiron 9300 battery. However, as of August 2009, the value of the colón against the dollar has decreased to 86% of its late-2006 value (see commonly available forex trading charts). The unit of currency is the colón, and as of May 2012, it trades around 507 to the US$, and about 660 colones to the euro.
The central government offers tax exemptions for those willing to invest in the countrydell inspiron 9400 battery. Several global high tech corporations have already started developing in the area and are exporting goods, including chip manufacturer Intel, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and consumer products company Procter & Gamble. In 2006, Intel's microprocessor facility alone was responsible for 20% of Costa Rican exports and 4.9% of the country's GDP. Trade with Southeast Asia and Russia boomed during 2004 and 2005dell inspiron e1505 battery, and the country obtained full Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) membership in 2007 after becoming an observer in 2004. The Financial Times Intelligent Unit awarded Costa Rica with the fDi’s Caribbean and Central American Country of the Future 2011/12 for its successful record in attracting FDI into the country, and being the number one destination country in the region in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) project numbers since 2003dell inspiron e1705 battery.
In recent times, pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development, and ecotourism have become the prime industries in Costa Rica's economy. High levels of education among its residents make the country an attractive investing location. Since 1999, tourism earns more foreign exchange than the combined exports of the country's three main cash crops: bananas, pineapples and coffee. dell latitude d820 battery Coffee production has played a key role in Costa Rica's history and economy, and by 2006, was the third cash crop export.
The largest coffee growing areas are in the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Puntarenas, and Cartago. Costa Rica is famous for its gourmet coffee beans, with Costa Rican Tarrazú among the finest arabica coffee beans in the world used for making espresso coffee, together with Jamaican Blue Mountain, Guatemalan Antigua and Ethiopian Sidamodell latitude d830 battery.
Costa Rica's location provides access to American markets as it has the same time zone as the central part of the United States and direct ocean access to Europe and Asia. In a countrywide referendum on October 5, 2007, the voters of Costa Rica narrowly backed a free trade agreement, with 51.6% of "Yes" votes. Dell Latitude E5500 Battery
Poás Volcano Crater is one of the country's main tourist attractions.
With a $2.2 billion per year tourism industry, Costa Rica is the most visited nation in the Central American region, with two million foreign visitors in 2008, which translates into a high expenditure per tourist of $1,077 per trip, one of the highest in the Caribbean Basin. In 2008, most visitors came from the United States (38.6%), neighboring Nicaragua (21.8%), Europe (11.3%) and Canada (5.2%). In 2005, tourism contributed 8.1% of the country's GNPDell Latitude E5400 Battery, and represented 13.3% of direct and indirect employment. Tourism now earns more foreign exchange than bananas and coffee combined.
Ecotourism draws many tourists to visit the extensive national parks and protected areas around the country. Costa Rica was a pioneer in this type of tourism, and the country is recognized as one of the few with true ecotourism. In terms of the 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness IndexDELL Latitude E5410 Battery, Costa Rica ranked 44th in the world and second among Latin American countries after Mexico. Considering its subindex natural resources, Costa Rica ranks sixth worldwide in the natural resources pillar, but 104th in terms of its cultural resources due to the country's limited number of cultural sites.
Costa Rica has also developed a system of payments for environmental services. Similarly, Costa Rica has a tax on water pollution to penalize businesses and homeowners that dump sewage, agricultural chemicals, and other pollutants into waterways. DELL Latitude E5510 Battery In May 2007, the Costa Rican government announced its intentions to become 100% carbon neutral by 2021. As of 2012, Costa Rica produces more than 90% of its electricity through renewable sources.
In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services. This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestationdell latitude e6400 battery, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e. carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).
Main articles: Provinces of Costa Rica and Cantons of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is composed of seven provinces, which in turn are divided into 81 cantons (Spanish: cantón, plural cantones), each of which is directed by a mayor. Mayors are chosen democratically every four years by each canton's peopledell latitude e6500 battery. There are no provincial legislatures. The cantons are further divided into 421 districts (distritos). The provinces are:
Main article: Foreign relations of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is an active member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations University of Peace are based in Costa Rica. It is also a member of many other international organizations related to human rights and democracyDELL Latitude E6410 Battery Battery.
A main foreign policy objective of Costa Rica is to foster human rights and sustainable development as a way to secure stability and growth.
Costa Rica is a member of the International Criminal Court, without a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the United States military (as covered under Article 98).
On 10 September 1961, some months after Fidel Castro declared Cuba a socialist state, Costa Rican President Mario Echandi ended diplomatic relations with Cuba through Executive Decree Number 2DELL Latitude E6510 Battery. This freeze lasted for 47 years until President Óscar Arias Sánchez announced on 18 March 2009 that normal relations were to be re-established, saying, "If we have been able to turn the page with regimes as profoundly different to our reality as occurred with the USSR or, more recently, with the Republic of China, how would we not do it with a country that is geographically and culturally much nearer to Costa Rica?" Arias also announced both countries would exchange ambassadors. DELL Precision M2400 Battery
Costa Rica also has a long-term disagreement with Nicaragua over the San Juan River, which defines the border between the two countries. This disagreement arises regarding Costa Rica's rights of navigation on the river. In 2010, there was also a dispute around Isla Calero, and the impact of Nicaraguan dredging of the river in that area.DELL Precision M4400 Battery
On July 14, 2009, the Hague (ICJ) court upheld the rights Costa Ricans had to navigate for commercial purposes to subsistence fishing on their side of the river. An 1858 treaty extended navigation rights to Costa Rica, but Nicaragua denied passenger travel and fishing were part of the deal; the court ruled Costa Ricans on the river were not required to have Nicaraguan tourist cards or visas as Nicaragua alleged, but, in a nod to the NicaraguansDELL Precision M4500 Battery, ruled Costa Rican boats and passengers must stop at the first and last Nicaraguan port along their route. They must also have an identity document or passport. Nicaragua can also impose timetables on Costa Rican traffic. Nicaragua may require Costa Rican boats to display the flag of Nicaragua, but may not charge them for departure clearance from its ports. These were all specific items of contention brought to the court in the 2005 filing.DELL Precision M6400 Battery
On June 1, 2007, Costa Rica broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan, switching recognition to the People's Republic of China. Costa Rica was the first of the Central American nations to do so. President Óscar Arias Sánchez admitted the action was a response to economic exigency. In appreciation, the PRC built Costa Rica a new, $100 million, state-of-the-art football stadium in Parque la SabanaDELL Precision M6500 Battery, in the province of San José. Approximately 600 Chinese engineers and laborers took part in this project, and it was inaugurated in March 2011, with a match between the Costa Rica and China national teams.
Costa Rica finished a term on the United Nations Security Council, having been elected for a nonrenewable, two-year term in the 2007 election. Its term expired on 31 December 2009; this was Costa Rica's third time on the Security Councildell xps m1210 battery.
Main articles: Demographics of Costa Rica and Costa Rican people
Costa Rican Censuses
The 2011 census counted a population of 4,301,712 people. Whites, castizos and mestizos 83.63%, while 1.05% are Black, or Afro-Caribbean, 6.12% Mulattoes, 2.4% Native American, 0.2% Chinese, and 6.6% other. The average Costa Rican from the Central Valley is 75% European, 20% Amerindian and 5% Blackdell xps m1330 battery.
There are also over 104,000 Native American or indigenous inhabitants, representing 2.4% of the population. Most of them live in secluded reservations, distributed among eight ethnic groups: Quitirrisí (in the Central Valley), Matambú or Chorotega (Guanacaste), Maleku (northern Alajuela), Bribri (southern Atlantic), Cabécar (Cordillera de Talamanca), Guaymí (southern Costa Rica, along the Panamá border), Boruca (southern Costa Rica) and Térraba (southern Costa Rica) dell xps m1530 battery.
The population of European ancestry is primarily of Spanish descent, with significant numbers of Italian, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, Lebanese and Polish families, as well a sizable Jewish community. The majority of the Afro-Costa Ricans are Creole English-speaking descendants of 19th century black Jamaican immigrant workersdell xps m1710 battery.
The 2011 census classified 83.63% of the population as white, castizo or mestizo, Mulattoes (mix of white and black) represent now 6.12% of the total population, 2.4% as Amerindian, 2% as black and less than 1% as asian. Native and European mixed blood populations are far less than in other Latin American countries. Exceptions are Guanacaste, where almost half the population is visibly mestizodell xps m1730 battery, a legacy of the more pervasive unions between Spanish colonists and Chorotega Amerindians through several generations, and Limón, where the vast majority of the Afro-Costa Rican community lives.
Costa Rica hosts many refugees, mainly from Colombia and Nicaragua. As a result of that and illegal immigration, an estimated 10–15% (400,000–600,000) of the Costa Rican population is made up of Nicaraguans. Some Nicaraguans migrate for seasonal work opportunities and then return to their countryDell Vostro 1710 Battery. Costa Rica took in many refugees from a range of other Latin American countries fleeing civil wars and dictatorships during the 1970s and 1980s, notably from Chile and Argentina, as well as people from El Salvador who fled from guerrillas and government death squads.
According to the World Bank, in 2010 about 489,200 immigrants lived in the country, mainly from Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize, while 125,306 Costa Ricans live abroad in the United StatesDell Vostro 1720 Battery, Panama, Nicaragua, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.
Main article: Health care in Costa Rica
According to the UNDP, in 2010 the life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 79.3 years. The Nicoya Peninsula is considered one of the Blue Zones in the world, where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica first in its 2009 Happy Planet Index, and once again in 2012dell studio xps 1340 battery. The index measures the health and happiness they produce per unit of environmental input. According to NEF, Costa Rica's lead is due to its very high life expectancy which is second highest in the Americas, and higher than the United States. The country also experienced well-being higher than many richer nations and a per capita ecological footprint one third the size of the U.S. dell studio xps 13 battery
Hospital de Alajuela, Alajuela, Costa Rica
In 2002, there were 0.58 new general practitioner (medical) consultations and 0.33 new specialist consultations per capita, and a hospital admission rate of 8.1%. Preventive health care is also successful. In 2002, 96% of Costa Rican women used some form of contraception, and antenatal care services were provided to 87% of all pregnant womendell Studio XPS 16 battery. All children under one have access to well-baby clinics, and the immunization coverage rate in 2002 was above 91% for all antigens. Costa Rica has a very low malaria incidence of 48 per 100,000 in 2000 and no reported cases of measles in 2002. The perinatal mortality rate dropped from 12.0 per 1000 in 1972 to 5.4 per 1000 in 2001. dell Studio XPS 1640 battery
Costa Rica has been cited in various journals as Central America's great health success story. Its healthcare system is ranked higher than that of the United States, despite having a fraction of its GDP. Prior to 1940, government hospitals and charities provided most health care delivery. But since the 1941 creation of the Social Security Administration (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – CCSS) dell Studio XPS 1645 battery, Costa Rica has provided universal health care to its wage-earning residents, with coverage extended to dependants over time. In 1973, the CCSS took over administration of all 29 of the country's public hospitals and all health care, also launching a Rural Health Program (Programa de Salud Rural) for primary care to rural areas, later extended to primary care services nationwidedell Studio XPS 1647 battery. In 1993, laws were passed to enable elected health boards that represented health consumers, social security representatives, employers, and social organizations. By the year 2000, social health insurance coverage was available to 82% of the Costa Rican population. Each health committee manages an area equivalent to one of the 83 administrative cantons of Costa Rica. There is limited use of private, for-profit services (around 14.4% of the national total health expenditure) dell Studio 17 battery. About 7% of GDP is allocated to the health sector, and over 70% is government funded. There are some threats to the universal health care model.
Primary health care facilities in Costa Rica include health clinics, with a general practitioner, nurse, clerk, pharmacist and a primary health technician. In 2008, there were five specialty national hospitals, three general national hospitals, seven regional hospitalsdell Studio 1749 battery, 13 peripheral hospitals, and 10 major clinics serving as referral centers for primary care clinics, which also deliver biopsychosocial services, family and community medical services and promotion and prevention programs. Patients can choose private health care to avoid waiting listsdell Studio 1745 battery.
Costa Rica is among the Latin America countries that have become popular destinations for medical tourism. In 2006, Costa Rica received 150,000 foreigners that came for medical treatment. Costa Rica is particularly attractive to American tourists because of its proximity and short flight, the quality of medical services, and lower medical costs.dell Studio 1747 battery
Main article: Religion in Costa Rica
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels), during 2007 pilgrimage
Christianity is the predominant religion, and Roman Catholicism is the official state religion according to the 1949 Constitution, which at the same time guarantees freedom of religion.
According to the most recent nationwide survey of religion, conducted in 2007 by the University of Costa RicaDell Inspiron 1440 Battery, 70.5% of Costa Ricans are Roman Catholics, 44.9% of the population are practicing Catholics, 13.8% are evangelical Protestants, 11.3% report they do not have a religion, and 4.3% belonged to another.
Because of the recent small but continuous immigration from Asia and the Middle East, other religions have grown, the most popular being Buddhism (because of a growing Han Chinese community of 40,000), and smaller numbers of Hindu, Jewish, Bahá’í, and Muslim adherentsDell Inspiron 1750 Battery.
The Sinagoga Shaarei Zion synagogue  is near La Sabana Metropolitan Park in San José. Several homes in the neighborhood east of the park display the Star of David and other Jewish symbols.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claim more than 35,000 members, and has a temple in San Jose that served as a regional worship center for Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Honduras. However, they represent less than 1% of the population. Dell Inspiron 14 Battery
Main article: Languages of Costa Rica
The primary language spoken in Costa Rica is Costa Rican Spanish. Some native languages are still spoken in indigenous reservations. The most numerically important are the Bribri, Maléku, Cabécar and Ngäbere languages, some of which have several thousand speakers in Costa Rica – others a few hundred. Some languages, such as Teribe and BorucaDell Inspiron 1464 Battery, have fewer than a thousand speakers. A Creole-English language, Jamaican patois (also known as Mekatelyu), is spoken along the Caribbean coast. About 10.7% of Costa Rica's adult population (18 or older) also speaks English, 0.7% French, and 0.3% speaks Portuguese or German as a second language. Dell Inspiron 15 Battery
Main article: Culture of Costa Rica
See also: Costa Rican cuisine
Costa Rican breakfast with gallo pinto
Costa Rica was the point where the Mesoamerican and South American native cultures met. The northwest of the country, the Nicoya peninsula, was the southernmost point of Nahuatl cultural influence when the Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) came in the 16th century. The central and southern portions of the country had Chibcha influences. The Atlantic coast, meanwhile, was populated with African workers during the 17th and 18th centuriesDell Inspiron 1564 Battery.
Costa Rican cuisine is a blend of Native American, Spanish, African and many other cuisine origins. Dishes such as the very traditional tamale and many others made of corn are the most representative of its indigenous inhabitants, and similar to other neighboring Mesoamerican countries. Spaniards brought many new ingredients to the country from other landsDell Inspiron 17 Battery, especially spices and domestic animals. And later in the 19th century, the African flavor lent its presence with influence from other Caribbean mixed flavors. This is how Costa Rican cuisine today is very varied, with every new ethnic group who had recently become part of the country's population influencing the country's cuisine.
As a result of the immigration of Spaniards, their 16th-century Spanish culture and its evolution marked everyday life and culture until todayDell Inspiron 1764 Battery, with Spanish language and the Catholic religion as primary influences.
The Department of Culture, Youth, and Sports is in charge of the promotion and coordination of cultural life. The work of the department is divided into Direction of Culture, Visual Arts, Scenic Arts, Music, Patrimony and the System of Libraries. Although the department creates many initiatives, they are constrained by lack of resources. Permanent programsDell Studio 1440 Battery, such as the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica and the Youth Symphony Orchestra, are conjunctions of two areas of work: Culture and Youth.
Dance-oriented genres, such as soca, salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia and Costa Rican swing are enjoyed increasingly by older rather than younger people. The guitar is popular, especially as an accompaniment to folk dancesDell Studio 1440n Battery; however, the marimba was made the national instrument.
"Pura Vida" is the most recognizable phrase attached to Costa Ricans, and it reflects the Costa Rican way of life. Often, people walking down the streets, or buying food at shops say hello by saying "Pura Vida", which means pure life, or good life. It can be phrased as a question or as an acknowledgement of one's presence. A recommended response to "How are you?" would be "Pura Vida"Dell Studio 1535 Battery.
Main article: Education in Costa Rica
Estudios Generales (General Studies) building inside Universidad de Costa Rica
The literacy rate in Costa Rica is 94.9%, one of the highest in Latin America. When the army was abolished in 1949, it was said that the "army would be replaced with an army of teachers." Elementary and high schools are found throughout the country in practically every community. Universal public education is guaranteed in the constitutionDell Studio 1536 Battery. Primary education is obligatory, and both preschool and high school are free. There are only a few schools in Costa Rica that go beyond the 12th grade. Students who finish 11th grade receive a Costa Rican Bachillerato Diploma accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education.
There are both state and private universities, with the public universities being regarded as the best in the countryDell Studio 1537 Battery, as well as being one of the best means of social mobility, given the large proportion of the budget spent to subsidize students from poor families. The University of Costa Rica has been awarded the title "Meritorious Institution of Costa Rican Education and Culture". In recent years, many private universities and colleges have consolidated because demand for higher education exceeds places available in the public sectorDell Studio 1555 Battery.
Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti (République d'Haïti; Repiblik Ayiti), is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti (land of high mountains) was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island. The country's highest point is Pic la Selle, at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft) Dell Studio 1557 Battery. The total area of Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) and its capital is Port-au-Prince. Haitian Creole and French are the official languages.
Haiti's regional, historical, and ethno-linguistic position is unique for several reasons. It was the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the first black-led republic in the world, and the second republic in the Americas when it gained independence in 1804 as part of a successful slave revolution lasting nearly a decade. Dell Studio 1558 BatteryIn 2012, Haiti announced its intention to seek associate membership status in the African Union. Haiti is the most populous of the predominantly Francophone independent nations in the Americas; others include Saint Lucia, and the Commonwealth of Dominica. It is one of only two independent nations in the Americas (along with Canada) to designate French as an official language; the other French-speaking areas are all overseas départements, or collectivités, of FranceDell Studio 1735 Battery.
Haiti is the most populous full member-state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-bloc. It is the poorest country in the Americas as per the Human Development Index. Political violence has occurred regularly throughout its history, leading to government instability. Most recently, in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Dell Studio 1737 Battery A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Michel Martelly, the current president, was elected in the Haitian general election, 2011.
The island has had a history of destructive earthquakes. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 and devastated Port-au-Prince. The highest reliable death count was estimated at 220,000. Haitian government estimates were higher. Dell Inspiron 1210 Battery The Presidential palace, Parliament and many other important structures were destroyed, along with countless homes and businesses, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. The country has yet to recover from the 2010 earthquake (and subsequent incidents) due to both the severity of the damage Haiti endured in 2010, as well as a government that was ineffective well before the earthquake. Dell Inspiron Mini 12 Battery United States aid organizations have donated $2 billion. Combined with other international donations, these funds are intended to contribute to the rebuilding of the country.
Precolonial and Spanish colonial periods
The island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western third, is one of many Caribbean islands inhabited at the time of European arrival by the Taíno Indians, speakers of an Arawakan language. The Taíno name for the entire island was either Ayiti or KiskeyaDell Latitude E4300 Battery. In the Taíno societies of the Caribbean Islands, the largest unit of political organization was led by a cacique; the Europeans called these polities caciquedoms or chiefdoms (French caciquat, Spanish cacicazgo). Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the island of Hispaniola was divided among five or six long-established caciquedoms.
The five caciquedoms of Hispaniola at the time of the arrival of Christopher ColumbusDell Latitude E4310 Battery. The modern country of Haiti spans most of the territory of the caciquedoms of Xaragua (Jaragua in modern Spanish) and Marien.
The caciquedoms were tributary kingdoms, with payment consisting of harvests. Taíno cultural artifacts include cave paintings in several locations in the country, which have become national symbols of Haiti and tourist attractions. Modern-day Léogane, a town in the southwest, is at the site of Xaragua's former capitalDell Vostro 1310 Battery.
Christopher Columbus landed at Môle Saint-Nicolas on 5 December 1492, and claimed the island for Spain. Nineteen days later, his ship the Santa María ran aground near the present site of Cap-Haïtien; Columbus was forced to leave behind 39 men, who founded the settlement of La Navidad. Following the destruction of La Navidad by the local indigenous peopleDell Vostro 1320 Battery, Columbus moved to the eastern side of the island and established La Isabela. One of the earliest leaders to fight off Spanish conquest was Queen Anacaona, a princess of Xaragua who married Caonabo, the cacique of Maguana. The couple resisted Spanish rule in vain; she was captured by the Spanish and executed in front of her people. Queen Anacaona is revered in Haiti as one of the country's foundersDell Vostro 1510 Battery.
1510 Taíno pictograph telling a story of missionaries arriving in Hispaniola
The Spanish exploited the island for its gold, and directed its mining by the labor of local Amerindians. Those refusing to work in the mines were killed or sold into slavery. Europeans brought with them infectious diseases that were new to the Caribbean, to which the indigenous population lacked immunityDell Vostro 1520 Battery. These new diseases were the chief cause of the dying off of the Taíno, but ill treatment, malnutrition, and a drastic drop in the birthrate as a result of societal disruption also contributed. The first recorded smallpox outbreak in the Americas occurred on Hispaniola in 1507. Epidemics of the disease caused high fatalities among the TaínoDell Vostro 2510 Battery.
François l'Olonnais was nicknamed "Flail of the Spaniards" and had a reputation for brutality – offering no quarter to Spanish prisoners
The Spanish passed the Laws of Burgos, 1512–1513, the first nationally codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spanish settlers in America, particularly with regards to native Indians. They forbade the maltreatment of natives, endorsed their conversion to Catholicism, and legalized the colonial practice of creating encomiendasDell Inspiron 1410 Battery, where Indians were grouped together to work under colonial masters. The Spanish crown found it difficult to enforce these laws in a distant colony.
With the decline in the Taíno population, the Spanish governors began importing enslaved Africans as laborers. In 1517, Charles V authorized the draft of slaves. The Taíno people became virtually, but not completely, extinct on the island of Hispaniola. Some who evaded capture fled to the mountains and established independent settlementsDell Vostro 1014 Battery. Survivors mixed with escaped African slaves (runaways called maroons) and produced a multiracial generation the Spanish called zambos. They used the term mestizo for those children born to native women and European – usually Spanish – men. The later French settlers called people of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry marabou. The children born of unions between African women and European men were called mulâtresDell Vostro 1015 Battery. During the French colonial years, some white fathers sent their mixed-race sons to France to be educated and passed on social capital in other ways, freeing their slaves mistresses and their children. A class of gens de couleur libre (free people of color) developed on the island.
As a gateway to the Caribbean, Hispaniola became a haven for pirates. The western part of the island was settled by French buccaneers. Among them was Bertrand d'Ogeron, who succeeded in growing tobaccoDell Vostro 1088 Battery. His success prompted many of the numerous buccaneers and freebooters to turn into settlers. This population did not submit to Spanish royal authority until the year 1660 and caused a number of conflicts. By 1640, the buccaneers of Tortuga were calling themselves the Brethren of the Coast.
Bertrand d'Orgeron attracted many French colonial families from Martinique and Guadeloupe, such as those of Jean Roy, Jean Hebert, and Guillaume BarreDell Vostro A840 Battery. They and others were driven from their lands when more land was needed for the expansion of the sugar plantations, which produced the major commodity crop. From 1670 to 1690, a drop in the tobacco markets significantly reduced the number of settlers on the island.
The first windmill for processing sugar was built in 1685.
Treaty of Ryswick and French colony (1697)
Portrait of J. B. Belley, Deputy for Saint-Domingue.
France and Spain settled hostilities on the island by the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697, which divided Hispaniola between themDell Vostro A860 Battery. France received the western third and subsequently named it Saint-Domingue. (The current Santo-Domingo is in the Dominican Republic and was part of the eastern side given to the Spanish through the treaty). Many French colonists soon arrived and established plantations in Saint-Domingue due to high profit potential from agricultural developmentDell XPS M2010 Battery. They developed large sugar cane plantations, especially, but also devoted land to the cultivation of coffee and indigo. The colonists imported slaves from Africa to work in the labor-intensive cultivation and processing of the commodity crops, and Saint-Domingue became a "slave society," dependent on slavery as the basis of its economy, with the slaveholders comprising the ruling class. Dell Inspiron 1520 Battery
By 1789, approximately 40,000 French colonists lived on the western part of the island. In contrast, by 1763 the French population of Canada, a much larger territory, numbered 65,000. There were ten times the number of imported slaves than there were ethnic French. The largest sugar plantations and concentrations of slaves were in the north of the island, associated with the Plaine-du-NordDell Inspiron 1521 Battery.
By about 1790, Saint-Domingue had overshadowed its eastern counterpart in terms of wealth and population. It became the richest French colony in the New World due to the profits from the sugar, coffee and indigo industries, all based on slave labor. The French-enacted Code Noir ("Black Code"), prepared by Jean-Baptiste Colbert and ratified by Louis XIV, had established rules on slave treatment and permissible freedomsDell Inspiron 1720 Battery. Saint-Domi
Under these conditions, French colonists often took sexual advantage of African women. A population of mixed-race people resulted; in some cases, the French fathers provided for their children, especially boys, including sending them to France for education. They also sometimes freed their slave mistresses and the children, and gradually a class of free people of color Dell Vostro 1500 Battery (gens libres de couleur) developed, with certain political rights in the colony. They tended to become artisans, shopkeepers and tradesmen, and more often lived in the towns of the southwest, especially Port-au-Prince, the main city. They also lived in Cap-Français in the north, the major colonial city of the region. Generally growing up Catholic and speaking French, the gens du couleur libre became educated, adopted French styles, and struggled to become independent property ownersDell Vostro 1700 Battery. They developed as a class apart from the black slaves. Especially in the North, the continuing importation of slaves from Africa meant that they kept more distinctly African cultural traditions.
Main article: Haitian Revolution
Burning of the town of Cap-Francais
Inspired by the French Revolution of 1789 and principles of the rights of men, free people of colour and slaves in Saint-Domingue and the French and West Indies pressed for freedom and more civil rights. Most important was the revolution of the slaves in Saint-DomingueDell Inspiron 1420 Battery, starting in the northern plains in 1791, where Africans greatly outnumbered the whites. They massacred many planters and other whites, and thousands of refugees fled from Saint-Domingue through the next years, settling in United States cities of New York, Philadelphia, Charlestown and New Orleans.
Jean Jacques Dessalines, leader of the Haitian Revolution slave revolt and the first ruler of an independent HaitiDell Vostro 1400 Battery.
In 1792, the French government sent three commissioners with troops to reestablish control. They began to build an alliance with the free people of colour who wanted more civil rights. In 1793, France and Great Britain went to war, and British troops invaded Saint-Domingue. The execution of Louis XVI heightened tensions in the colony, and refugees continued to leave. That yearDell Latitude 2100 Battery, 2,000 refugees emigrated to Philadelphia, where they were nearly 5% of the city's population.
To build an alliance with the gens de couleur and slaves, the French commissioners Sonthonax and Polverel abolished slavery in the colony. Six months later, the National Convention, led by Robespierre and the Jacobins, endorsed abolition and extended it to all the French colonies.
Toussaint LouvertureDell Latitude 2110 Battery, a former slave and leader in the slave revolt — a man who rose in importance as a military commander because of his many skills — achieved peace in 1794 in Saint-Domingue after years of war against both external invaders and internal dissension. Having established a disciplined, flexible army, Louverture drove out not only the Spanish (from Santo Domingo) but also the British invaders who threatened the colony. He restored stability and prosperity by daring measuresDell Latitude D620 Battery. These steps included inviting planters to return and insisting freed men work on plantations to renew revenues for the island. He also renewed trading ties with Great Britain and the United States. In the uncertain years of revolution, the United States played both sides, with its traders supplying both the French and the rebels. Dell Latitude D630 Battery
Independence and Division (1804)
When the French government changed, new members of the national legislature – lobbied by planters – began to rethink their decisions on colonial slavery. After Toussaint Louverture created a separatist constitution, Napoléon Bonaparte sent an expedition of more than 20,000 men under the command of his brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc in 1802 to retake the islandDell Precision M2300 Battery. Leclerc's mission was to oust Louverture and restore slavery. The French achieved some victories, but within a few months, yellow fever had killed most of the French soldiers. More than 50,000 French troops died in an attempt to retake the colony, including 18 generals. Leclerc invited Toussaint Louverture to a parley, kidnapped him and sent him to France, where he was imprisoned at Fort de Joux. He died there in 1803 of exposure and tuberculosis or malnutrition and pneumoniasony vgp-bps2 battery.