... Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own. The small landowners' relative poverty, the lack of a large indigenous labor force, the population's ethnic and linguistic homogeneity, and Costa Rica's isolation from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes all contributed to the development of an autonomous and individualistic agrarian society. Even the Governor had to farm his own crops and tend to his own garden due to the poverty that he lived in. An egalitarian tradition also arose. Costa Rica became a "rural democracy" with no oppressed mestizo or indigenous class.(In the "History of" project on this blog, we're going through the Wikipedia "History of" pages for all the 206 countries in the world, in alphabetical order.)
February 16, 2013
"Costa Rica was described as 'the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all America' by a Spanish governor in 1719."
This occurred because Costa Rica was all the way south in the Captaincy General of Guatemala and forbidden to trade with the Viceroyalty of New Granada (to its south), and it lacked gold and silver and an indigenous population to do forced labor. In the long run — if I am to believe the presentation on the Wikipedia "History of Costa Rica" page — this all worked out for the best: