Museo Nacional de Costa Rica
Independence of Costa Rica

Desfile Bandera, Calle Estación
Desfile Bandera, Calle Estación
Our independence is coming and students, mothers (usually) and relatives rush to find information about it.  What they usually find is some facts’ descriptions, but not the explanations and consequences of such an important event.

The American Independence’s causes are both external and internal.  Internationally, we can find:

• The Enlightment, XVIII century.
• The French Revolution, 1789.
• The Thirteen Colony Independence (United States), 1776.
• The Haiti Independence, 1804.
• The Spanish crisis by Napoleon’s French invasion, 1808, which originated the formation of Cortes de Cadiz, 1818 and the Cadiz Constitution, 1812.

Many of these events developed a new way of thinking that questioned traditional governments, kings and empires, and promoted more participation measures, like the republic ones.

Those causes alone did not generate the American Independence.  The internal causes were more important, especially the discomfort from Creoles (Spanish descendants born in America) with the imperial power (the Crown) for the inequality with the Spanish that just arrived to the continent.  Economically, Spain did not allow America (especially the rich) to trade freely.  Costa Rica witnessed some discomfort manifestations with the Spanish government.

The independence process was also a chain reaction, just like the French invasion in Spain, 1808, which influenced the Latin American emancipation and the Mexican Independence and its impact on the Guatemalan Kingdom.

This is the independence route for Costa Rica, 1821:
• Mexico Independence, August 24th
• Chiapas Independence, September 8th
• Guatemala Independence, September 15th
• “Los nublados del día”, León, Nicaragua, September 28th
• Independence Act arrives to Cartago, October 13th

When the Independence Act arrived to Costa Rica there was a cautious reaction, and it was official on October 29th, after finding that Nicaragua had declared their independence from Spain the day before, and its emancipation from Costa Rica.

What were the consequences from the Independence of Costa Rica?  The American was a challenge, especially since the Government had to be centralized, the local ways had to end, the proper new government needed to be set and the international relations had to be formalized.  This is part of the context for the Ochomogo war in 1823, for la Liga War in 1835, for the Costa Rican participation in the Central America Federation, for Nicoya’s Annexation in 1824 and Francisco Morazán’s union intents in 1842.