Historical Costa Rica - a links page
This will become an entry composed of links to sites of historical interest related to Costa Rica. Let's see where this trail goes eh?
This link is our own which we built before Google online had done a better job of scanning this excellent article: Holidays In Costa Rica circa 1858 . I think of the author of these 3 articles in 1860's editions of Harpers Magazine as the "first gringo tourist".
Since then I have spent time following the trail of this remarkable author: "this required further reading - on the remarkable life of Thomas Francis Meagher. I also like Wikipedia's description which goes into depth about the strange death of Mr. Meagher when he "fell" off a steamboat on the Missouri river in 1867 just a few years after his remarkable trip to Costa Rica." Thomas had an amazing career - sentenced to death for inciting revolution in Ireland, escaping from a prison island in Tasmania, becoming a lawyer in New York, traveling in Costa Rica and recording his impressions at a remarkably pivotal point in Costa Rican history, training a brigade (the famous Irish Brigade of which he became the Brigadier General) to fight for the Union in the US civil war, killing most of the fighting Irish of New York, becoming acting governor of Montana and being thrown overboard from a paddle steamer running guns to eliminate indians. One busy dude!
One obscure fact about him was that he somehow acquired the concession to build the Limon Alajuela railroad on one of his trips to Costa Rica. This is a section of the old railroad still in local use on the Caribbean slope near Siquirres.
Here's a few more links which I'll work on as time permits:
the Pura Vida Hotel reading list - this is a pretty good start for those wanting to read more details.
A Facebook link of historical photos from San Ramon - some old pics from a town just west of us
historic photos from the 1920's - and more - nice old photos of our town Alajuela
a Flikr album including 1948 revolutionary photos - the one titled "my dad" shows why the army just had to go
Tramways of Costa Rica - rare photos of the "electric wire" trams that once ran in San Jose
historical and political flags of Costa Rica - an oddball collection
a personal collection of family photos from the mid 1900's - I liked his crazy uncle best
The Sixaola Bridge - not strictly historical, but this bridge should have been years ago
The Fillibusters - a marvelous link for those interested in the lunatic and filibuster, William Walker
Some excellent Costa Rican links - Latin American Studies by Dr. Antonio Rafael de la Cova
Entry in process and . . . yes, the ox cart is still in use in the cane fields east of the lovely market town of Turrialba.
Dry Season, Rainy Season, Easter etc
January brings the winds . . . in fact today has been one of the windiest . . . "vientos alisios" are the trade winds of January. It is not completely unusual to be walking in the garden of the Pura Vida and see a neighbors roof go by 10 meters above the trees.
Wiki describes them like this:
- "The trade winds (also called trades) are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator. The trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere, strengthening during the winter and when the Arctic oscillation is in its warm phase. Historically, the trade winds have been used by captains of sailing ships to cross the world's oceans for centuries, and enabled European empire expansion into the Americas and trade routes to become established across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans." The trade winds were how Christopher Columbus got here and back.
Costa Rica's dry season starts around late November and runs till the beginning of April. Literally the spigot is turned off and garden watering must begin. Thankfully due to a local phenomenon called municipal leakage we have a constant trickle of water from a little muni-stream that looks and acts like a river during the rainy season that starts in April each year. During the peak dry season months - no rain at all in January, February and March the gardens of the Pura Vida need a good sprinkle every day
April generally brings us to easter or as it is known locally "Semana Santa". Semana Santa is a very serious festival indeed (well except in our neighborhood) . . . a big local holiday, you can pretty much expect much of Costa Rica's government and bureaucracy to shut down for a week. Yes tourism will go on but best to book things ahead.
Entry to be continued . . .