The Borucans ~ People of survivors
~ by Susie Atkinson
The Boruca Indian history contains some very hard chapters.
Through the long duration of the Spanish conquest, they did not give up! The Diquis region (southern border of Costa Ballena) became an important gold mining center, which brought raids and warfare with other indigenous groups. Columbus reported that he had found a land rich in gold, hence further explorations. A ship of colonists led by Diego de Nicuesa landed in 1506. More explorers continued to arrive. In 1522, Gil Gonzalez Davila with over 100 men explored the interior from the Gulf of Nicoya to Burica Point (southern tip of Costa Rica), where the Spaniards received collaboration from some tribal chiefs.
To attract new settlers to the colonies Spain established a program called “encomienda system” (an estate given to a settler who received legal rights to use local native people to work the land, unpaid). In 1561, Cartago the first successful settlement, was established by Juan Vasquez de Coronado.
It became Costa Rica's first capital and he was the first governor.
Coronado made peace with a local Indian chief, who persuaded other chiefs to cooperate with the Spaniards. Despite this agreement many of the remaining tribes fled from the valleys and coasts into the nearly inaccessible Talamanca range.
In 1601, Gonzalo Vazquez de Coronado, (son of Juan Vazquez) officially opened “the Camino Real” also known as the Camino de Mulas. It connected Guatemala with all the provinces as far as Panama. Mules were raised in the Central Valley and driven all the way to Panama, which became the transit route for precious metals from South America to Spain. The teams of mules would pass through the indigenous villages of Quepos, Boruca and Térraba.
By 1629 The Borucans were “reduced” under Spanish dominance.
The natives were transformed into muleteers and providers of tributes for the Spanish, especially corn, beans, textiles, dyes of textiles and boat construction.
INFO: Susie Atkinson