Costa Rica

Essay by hkdogloverJunior High, 8th gradeA+, September 2009

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Costa Rica is a Latin American country south of Nicaragua and north of Panama. About 90% are white or “Mestizo”, which is a person of mixed Amerindian and Spanish descent. The Spanish people are from Columbus’ explorations and Spanish conquests back in the 1500s. There is a small population of Asians and North Americans. Additionally, they have the purest European population in all of Central America.

Less than 1% of Costa Rican citizens are pure Indian. Less than 3% are black. Most black Costa Ricans live in Limón. Most of them came as slaves or workers from Jamaica. They came for jobs in railroads and banana plantations. About 35,000 of them live near the Caribbean coast. English is spoken by the West Indian blacks. 10- 15% of Costa Ricans are Nicaraguan.

Unlike some other Central American countries like Mexico and Peru, the indigenous people lived in several tribes, not empires.

Most Indian groups were ruled by a "cacique". The Indian population has been lessened by disease, so only about 9,000 remain. Few of that 9,000 are of pure aboriginal descent. There are 22 reserves for them to live in the country. In the past few years, many have been suffering from alcoholism and drugs. Most of the descendants live in the mountains. There is still some Indian culture but not pure.

The vast majority of people are middle-class. There isn’t much extreme poverty, but there is some. There isn’t nearly as much as other South American countries though. They don’t have much of an upper class either. Between 77 and 95 percent of Costa Ricans are Catholic. There is also a 93% literacy rate. The men there are called “ticos” and the women are known as “ticas”. Those terms are derived from “hermanticos” and “hermanticas”. They use “-ico”...