How the democratic success of Costa Rica can be accredited back to colonial times.
Boasting with confidence, Costa Rica has been known to be one of the most democratic and wealthiest Latin American countries. How could a small country with little resources achieve such a claim? Colonized by the Spaniards, Costa Rica was mistaken to be rich in gold and largely populated by Indians. Lacking the focal point for exploitation of economic resources, many Spanish settlers either moved on to Peru or Mexico in hopes for riches or were driven away by the indigenous peoples. This led to the small number of immigrants who settled in Costa Rica. As a result of the many attempts and failures of colonization, Costa Rica experienced little influence as a colony. Due to this lack of imperial control, Costa Ricans can accredit their successful democratic traditions to the colonial times in which Spanish settlers learned to practice independent subsistence which contributed to the development of a classless democracy.
When what is now known as Costa Rica was discovered by the Spaniards, they found the land to be inhabited by several sovereign tribes. Christopher Columbus was the first to arrive on September 18, 1502. In total there were no more than 20,000 indigenous peoples. There were four major tribes known as the Caribs, Borucas, Chibchas and the Diquis (Geographia.com, 1998). However they did not stay around for long. Many perished from small pox, a disease brought over by the Spanish, and others fled for the mountains. Unlike other Latin American tribes, they did not leave behind written records (Biesanz, 15).
The first man to attempt colonization in Costa Rica was Diego de Nicuesa. Sent to govern Veragua in 1506, the area of Costa Rica and parts of Panama and Honduras, he and his men experienced sickness, hunger and Indian raids. He and his 60 survivor finally fled their village(Anderson, 11).