Republic of Costa Rica

República de Costa Rica

Political Status: Part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala that declared independence from Spain in September 1821; member of the United Provinces of Central America that was launched in 1824; autonomy reestablished in 1839; republic declared in 1848; democratic constitutional system instituted in 1899.

Area: 19,575 sq. mi. (50,700 sq. km.).

Population: 3,810,179 (2000C); 4,276,000 (2006E).

Major Urban Centers (2005E): SAN JOSÉ (344,000), Limón (62,000), Alajuela (49,000), San Francisco (46,000).

Principal Language: Spanish (there is no “official” language).

Monetary Unit: Colón (market rate November 2, 2007: 518.97 colónes = $1US).

President: Oscar ARIAS Sánchez (National Liberation Party); elected on February 5, 2006, and inaugurated for a four-year term on May 8, succeeding Abel PACHECO de la Espriella (Social Christian Unity Party).

First Vice President: Laura CHINCHILLA ...

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