Pre- Colombian Era
The history of Costa Rica can be traced back much before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Evidences of human occupation have been found in Costa Rica which dates back to over 10,000 years. In the pre-Columbian era, the country appeared to be a scarcely populated backwater, with very few indications of large, organized communities. Some of the vestiges left behind by the inhabitants of the pre-Columbian era are thousands of perfectly spherical granite bolas discovered near the west coast. The only major archaeological site is at Guayabo, 30 miles east of San Jose. Several fascinating gold, jade and pottery artifacts have been discovered all over the region. In the history of Costa Rica during the pre-Columbian age, evidences of influence from the civilizations of Mexican Olmec and Nahuatl have also been found.
Christopher Columbus was the first European explorer to encounter Costa Rica on 18, September, 1502 on his final expedition to the New World. On his arrival along with the Spanish explorers, near Puerto Limon, they were greeted by the local Carib Indians. On observing the gold ornaments worn by the Indians, one of the Spaniards, Gil Gonzalez Davila was inspired to name the country Costa Rica, or Rich Coast.