Coffee Expansion and Its Benefits
All of Costa Rica's coffee exports in the 1830's were shipped to Chile where they were packaged and mixed with the Chilean bean before heading to Europe for sale. This extra stop resulted in a smaller profit for the Costa Rican growers. A huge change came in 1844 when the English merchant William Le Lacheur sailed into San Jose on The Monarch and established a direct shipping route to London. This was a huge boost to the Costa Rican market and economy. In the 1840's Costa Rica became the first Latin American country to establish regular coffee exports and the first Central American country to establish a coffee industry and witness benefits progressively.
Before the growth of the coffee industry, the infrastructure in Costa Rica was very poor, composed mainly or dirt roads that were especially tedious during the rainy season from September to December. In 1843 a group of the largest coffee producers formed the Socidead Economica Itineraria and worked for the promotion of road development. As a result:
-the roads in San Jose and Cartago were paved
-the Atlantic Railroad opened a new door to Costa Rica in a project that lasted from 1871-1890
-a secondary road system was built in 1844 connecting a pre-existing road between San Jose and
Puntarenas to Atenas, San Ramon, Palmeres and Naranjo
The children of coffee growers benefited from the expansion of the coffee market and were able to study in Europe. Bringing home their education they established their countries first national university, the University of Santo Tomas. Continuing the trend, in 1869 the constitution proclaimed elementary education obligatory and free to both sexes. The coffee elite voted for a tax on coffee exports to help finance a new theater and on October 12, 1897 The National Theater was opened with the help of the French Opera Company.
Only a short time after the start of coffee production the first national currency was introduced. 1821 marked the coming of the first silver and gold coins after the Monte de Aguacate gold mine was discovered and exploited in 1820. The mint (la casa de moneda) was established in 1828. The public treasury's annual income jumped from 24,000 pesos in 1826 to 120,000 in 1849. Trade increased in leaps and bounds bringing in new tools and technology to further promote work and agriculture in Costa Rica.
Costs Rican farmers
implementing new technology