Costa Rica - (North America)
Information about Costa Rica
In 1502 Columbus entered Costa Rica through the Belen River seeking riches and taking with him two captive Indians to serve as guides and translators. During the following centuries until 1821 the area was part of the Spanish empire. With independence, agricultural exploitation came mainly through expatriate businessmen, first British and German, then North American, who developed the coffee and banana trade. They were also instrumental in starting English worship services in private homes. The first services were held in 1848 by Captain William Le Lacheur from Guernsey Islands, with the cooperation of Dr. R. L. Brealey of Heredia. Both were active in Bible distribution. The first Protestant chapel, the Church of the Good Shepherd, was built in 1865. The free exercise of non-Catholic worship was assured by the constitution of 1882; the “Apostolic RCath Church” was declared the official religion of the land. This status has continued to the present.