Costa Rica was first colonized in the 16th century by Spain, from which it gained its independence in early 19th century, following the Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence when the authorities in Guatemala declared independence of all Central America. The official and predominant language is Spanish. Moreover, other local indigenous languages are spoken by Costa Ricans.
Economically speaking, the country is neither remarkably rich nor as poor as many of its neighbors. Gross domestic product amounted to about 57.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 - the same year, Costa Rica experienced a strong economic growth of more than 4.5 percent. The service industry accounts for more than two-thirds of GDP, with commerce, finance, and tourism being the main generating branches of this sector. Services also employ a large share of the population. Among other nations in Latin America, Costa Rica had the highest direct contribution to GDP growth rate in the travel and industry sector, attracting a high number of tourists each year.
As far as the agricultural production goes, Costa Rica is focused mainly on the production of sugar, coffee, and bananas. Agricultural products account for nearly half of the total value of exports. The other half is mainly achieved by the manufacturing industry, with food products, machinery, and electronic products being the main items manufactured for export. Due to limited mineral resources, Costa Rica is dependent on importing fuels, which resulted in the country having a trade deficit for quite some time. The main import and export partner of Costa Rica is the United States.
Despite having experienced a stable economic growth in recent years, Costa Rica's economy still faces challenges due to a rising public deficit and a rising public debt. Still, the country is not as highly dependent on remittances as some other Latin American states.