Costa Rica (Reeka), the most southerly of the republics of Central America. It occupies the entire breadth from sea to sea between Nicaragua on the one side and Colombia on the other. Area, 21,495 miles, or about two-thirds that of Ireland; population, 321,000. The whites are mostly of pure Spanish descent. Except on the coast, the country is generally mountainous, with many volcanoes, all under 11,500 feet; on the Atlantic slope dense forests prevail, but wide savannahs are more frequent on the Pacific side. Prior to the discovery of gold in 1823, Costa Rica was a land of poverty, owing its title of 'The Rich Coast' solely to the anticipations of its first Spanish settlers; since then, foreign capital has opened up much of the country. Although rich in gold, silver, copper, and other metals, its chief industry is agriculture; but the population is very scanty, and only a twentieth part of the land is under cultivation. Besides valuable timber and dye-woods, it yields tobacco, sugar, bananas, cacao, caoutchouc, sarsaparilla, and vanilla, which, with hides, tortoise-shell, and mother-of-pearl, are largely exported. But the staple of trade is coffee, to which is principally due the reviving prosperity of 'the Coffee Republic.'There are 160 miles of railway. The chief ports are Punta Arenas and Limon; the other towns are San Jose, the capital, Cartago, Alajuela, and Heredia. Discovered by Columbus in 1493, and probably first settled on his fourth voyage, in 1502, Costa Rica has had much the same history, chequered by frequent revolutions, as its neighbours: it declared its independence in 1821. See works by Biolley (1889), Barrantes (Barcelona, 1892), and Villafranca (N.Y. 1895).