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The first people who settled in Costa Rica arrived a few thousand years BC and first reached the Nicoya – Peninsula. During the colonial period, Guanacaste was not yet a part of Costa Rica, but belonged to Nicaragua. In the 19th century the inhabitants of Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Cañas decided to become part of Costa Rica through a referendum. On 25th of July in 1824, Guanacaste announced its annexation. A day which is celebrated as a kind of Independence Day until the present.Nicoya, by the way, is considered to be the oldest city in the country and aditionally serves as a commercial and shopping center for the people who live in the coastal regions of Guanacaste. Furthermore, one can say that Nicoya is one of the main tourist areas of the province.
In 1502, when Christopher Columbus went ashore in Costa Rica, there were a total of four major indigenous tribes: the Caribs, who lived on the east coast, the Borucas, the Chibchas and the Diquis who lived in the Southwest. The arrival of the Spanish conquerors at the Nicoya peninsula which took place in the sixteenth century, had great cultural influence on the country.
Costa Rican culture developed late in Costa Rica and in the province of Guanacaste as well. Apart from Indian and African culture and lifestyle, the country became more and more influenced by European immigrants, spreading their manners and customs. As time went by, many families from different regions of the world like Europe, Asia, Africa or Central America came into the country, among them about 3 million people of Hispanic descent.
Most of the colored population emigrated for religious reasons, which means as a result of the Christian missionary. The Church in Nicoya (which you can see on one of the photos on the right), by the way, is the second oldest building in Costa Rica. Legend has it that, there was another group of immigrants, who came to live in Guanacaste quite involuntarily. It is said that one day, pirates went ashore at Playa Coco in order to provide themselves with drinking water. These were left behind by their crew, either accidentally or deliberately has not been recorded.
The first coloured people came from Jamaica. The majority of them are to be found at the Caribbean coast today. Their English names and expressions have once led to much confusion. The Chorotegas originally came from Mexico and are now the largest ethnic group. People here in Guanacaste are very honest and easy going. “Pura vida” therefore is not just an empty phrase for greeting or farewell, but also reflects the local lifestyle. By the way, the average population density in Costa Rica is about 26.1 inhabitants per km2.
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