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Five centuries of blending and history
a society with many faces and many people


The society living in Osa today and all the southern population of Costa Rica, is the result of over 500 years of history. These lands saw the gathering of peoples from various locations: original natives based there thousands of  years earlier,  probably descendants of the people constructing the spheres, former settlers  of Chiriquí - Panamá,settlers from the  Valle Central  migrating in search of lands to cultivate, and  Chinese traders.

In the decade of the 30’s of the twentieth century, the incursion of the Banana Company produced a fundamental change in the South’s social composition.  The transnational company motivated the arrival of thousands of persons from Central America and the rest of the country, searching for a livelihood: North Americans,  nicaraguans, hondurans, guanacastecos, meseteños. 

In 1950, 80 % of Osa’s inhabitants were immigrants (Cerdas; 1993: 151). This ethnic and cultural diversity made of the South a different space from the rest of the country. The German geographer Gerhard Sandner points out that the banana zone was a world apart, a country inside another country: “the people talk of the “zone” as a foreign country” (Cerdas; 1993: 153).                 

The Banana Company was in the South Pacific of Costa Rica for 50 years, from the beginning of the 30’s until 1984. Those were 50 years of history, half a century of people coming in; diverse people building families, living, forging a world. When the Banana Company leaves, a new society has been amalgamated; it is no longer “a foreign country” inside another country. It is a New Region; it is the southern Peoples of Costa Rica. In 50 years the diverse migrant groups have finally settled down and consolidated themselves. Many migrants returned to their lands but many others ended integrating to the new society which was built little by little. They summed to the natives, to the Chiricanos. They are no longer peoples coming from other locations; now they are the people from here, the peoples of Osa, the “Peoples of the South.” 



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