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Liberia, Costa Rica

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Country  Costa Rica
Area  561.57 km2
Founded  1836
Population  56,899

Liberia is the capital and largest city of Guanacaste province, Costa Rica, located 215 kilometres (134 mi) northwest of the national capital, San Jose in the canton with the same name.


Map of Liberia, Costa Rica

It is a major center for the countrys tourism industry. Liberia has been nicknamed la ciudad blanca (the white city) due to the white gravel once used to make the city’s roads and the whitewashed colonial houses which used to made up a large part of the city. It had a population of 56,899 in 2013.

Liberia costa rica


Modern-day Liberia was founded as a hermitage without any legal or formal act of foundation on September 4, 1769. It was located in a strategic location where the roads from the towns of Rivas, Bagaces, and Nicoya met. The hermitage was used primarily as place of rest by travelers. The areas giant Guanacaste trees provided shade for travelers and livestock and overtime the area became known as Guanacaste (El Poblado de Guanacaste).

Liberia, Costa Rica in the past, History of Liberia, Costa Rica

The settlement itself shared a history with Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In 1812 the Cadiz Cortes created the providence of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Nicaragua and Costa Rica achieved independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 after the Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence. After the short-lived First Mexican Empire (1821–1823), Costa Rica (considered a minor provincial outpost at the time) became part of the newly formed Federal Republic of Central America in 1823. The Partido de Nicoya (Nicoya’s Party) served as an administrative unit for the Federal Republic of Central America. The Partido de Nicoya comprised much of the territory that today is the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Most of the area, such as the settlements of Nicoya and Santa Cruz, held economic ties to Costa Rican territory such as the growing port of Puntarenas. The settlement of Guanacaste (modern day Liberia), on the other hand, held closer economic ties to Nicaraguan territory like the town of Rivas.

Under the leadership of the villages of Nicoya and Santa Cruz, the Partido de Nicoya voted to annex themselves to Costa Rica on July 25, 1824.

The inhabitants of Guanacaste (modern day Liberia) chose to continue to be part of Nicaragua in 1824. In 1826, after years of dispute, the congress of the Federal Republic of Central America added Guanacaste (modern day Liberia) to Costa Rica.

The village of Guanacaste grew in importance and gradually overtook the village of Nicoya as the most important settlement in the area. On July 23, 1831, the settlement of Guanacaste was given the title of Villa de Guanacaste. Just a few years later on September 3, 1836 it was given the name Ciudad de Guanacaste (City of Guanacaste).

In 1838 after the Federal Republic of Central America began to dissolve, Costa Rica formally withdrew and proclaimed itself a sovereign state. On December 7, 1848 Costa Rica divided its national territory into provinces, cantons, and districts.. The territory encompassing Nicoya, Bagaces, Santa Cruz, Guanacaste (modern day Liberia) and Canas became part of the newly formed province of Guanacaste.

On May 30, 1854, a government decree changed the name of the City of Guanacaste (Ciudad de Guanacaste) to the City of Liberia (Ciudad de Liberia). The name of the province of Guanacaste was changed to Moracia in honor of then Costa Rican president Juan Rafael Mora Porras.

In August 1859, Juan Rafael Mora Porras was overthrown in a coup detat orchestrated by Dr. Jose Maria Montealegre. On June 20, 1860 during the administration of new Costa Rican president Dr. Jose Maria Montealegre, the name of the province was switched back from Moracia to Guanacaste. Montealegre kept the name City of Liberia but saw it unfit to keep a province named after a political enemy.

Today, the Annexation of Guanacaste is celebrated annually on July 25 to celebrate the date in which the province became a part of Costa Rica instead of Nicaragua. Liberia holds a large festival as it is the capital of Guanacaste where one can find folk dances, parades, cattle shows, local food, and other cultural traditions in the area. Music is a large part of the festival and the traditional "marimba" is very popularly heard. A parade also takes place in the centre of the city where children put on masks and costumes to march.

Liberia’s importance continued to grow and it became a major center for agriculture and livestock. The construction of the Pan-American Highway further increased Liberia’s importance and increased commerce in and out of the city. By the late 20th century, Liberia became a major stopping point for tourists traveling to the Pacific Coast beaches of Guanacaste.

Today Liberia and the province of Guanacaste accept July 25, 1824 as their annexation day to Costa Rica.

Liberian cuisine

Liberia, Costa Rica Cuisine of Liberia, Costa Rica, Popular Food of Liberia, Costa Rica

Liberian cuisine is centered on the consumption of rice, tropical fruits, vegetables, fish and bushmeat.

Rice is a staple of the Liberia diet. Other ingredients include cassava, fish, bananas, citrus fruit, plantains, coconut, okra and sweet potatoes. Heavy stews spiced with habanero and scotch bonnet chillies are popular and eaten with fufu.

Liberian cuisine has been influenced by contact, trade and colonization from the United States, especially foods from the American South (Southern food). Liberia also has a tradition of baking imported from the United States that is unique in West Africa.


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