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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: 4,868,247 (2012E—UN); 4,636,348 (2012E—U.S. Census).

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 5, 2012: 499.70 colónes = $1US).

President: Laura CHINCHILLA (National Liberation Party); elected on February 7, 2010, and inaugurated for a four-year term on May 8, succeeding Oscar ARIAS Sánchez (National Liberation Party).

First Vice President: Alfio PIVA Mesén (National Liberation ...

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