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Costa Rica Country Profile

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Costa Rica at a Glance

Location:Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama
Climate:tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands
Terrain:coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes
Resources:hydropower
Hazards:occasional earthquakes, hurricanes along Atlantic coast; frequent flooding of lowlands at onset of rainy season and landslides; active volcanoes
Population:4,253,877 (July 2009 est.)




A Brief Profile of Costa Rica

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. The standard of living is relatively high. Land ownership is widespread. In January 2008, Costa Rica assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008-09 term.






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