Costa Rica was originally part of the United Provinces of Central America, which had separated from Mexico in 1823. Although the United Provinces had separated into El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica by 1839, Costa Rica did not formally declare its independence until August 30, 1848.
Modern Flag of Costa Rica
Costa Rica notified the United States of its independence on September 5, 1848. On April 24, 1849, Ephraim G. Squier, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Guatemala, was given full powers to negotiate commercial and other matters with Costa Rica. This latter date constituted recognition by the United States. Squier never transmitted his letter of credence or visited Costa Rica, and was unable to reach any agreements by correspondence with Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
A Consulate was established in San José in 1852. Other U.S. consular posts were:
Diplomatic relations were established on March 24, 1851, when Costa Rican Minister Felipe Molina presented his credentials in Washington. He served until his death on February 1, 1855.
American Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Solon Borland was appointed to Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador on April 19, 1853, although he only presented his credentials in Nicaragua. The first U.S. Minister to present his credentials in Costa Rica was Mirabeau B. Lamar, who was appointed to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and was resident in Managua. Lamar was appointed June 20, 1858, and presented his credentials in Costa Rica on September 18.
William L. Merry was the first U.S. Minister to be resident in San Jose, and presented his credentials there on January 15, 1898.
On January 17, 1917, President Alfredo Gonzales was overthrown in a military coup. The United States did not recognize the new government of Federico Tinoco. U.S. Minister Edward J. Hale left the country on April 19, and the Legation was closed December 5, 1918. After the overthrow of Tinoco and prior to the election of Julio Acosta as President, the Legation was reopened October 15, 1920. Roy T. Davis, the next U.S. Minister to Costa Rica, was appointed February 10, 1922, presented his credentials on March 14, and served until January 4, 1930.
Fay A. Des Portes was appointed as the first U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica on March 27, 1943. He served from May 20, 1943 to September 11, 1944.
Don Francisco de P. Gutierrez, the first Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States, presented his credentials on June 15, 1944.
The first treaty between the United States and Costa Rica was a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation, signed in Washington on July 10, 1851 and entered into force on May 26, 1852.