The Republica de Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica) is a Central American country that is surrounded by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, Ecuador to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Its name is Spanish for “rich coast”. Costa Rica gained its independence from Spain in 1821.
Costa Rica has one of the most stable economy and most democratic government in Central America. According to the World Bank, Costa Rica is an upper middle-income country. It has the highest standards of living in Central America. Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in the Western Hemisphere. It is also the only tropical country in the world to have reversed deforestation through its strong and effective environmental policies.
Costa Rica uses the colon as its monetary unit. Its name is derived from the Spanish translation of Christopher Columbus’ name—Cristobal Colon. It is said that Christopher Columbus gave Costa Rica its name. The colon was introduced at par to the peso, the former currency of Costa Rica, in 1896. In 1950, the Banco Central de Costa Rica (Central Bank of Costa Rica) was established and assumed all responsibilities for currency issues from the Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (National Bank of Costa Rica). The first series of banknotes issued by the central bank were protected by randomly embedded colored security fibers. They featured different national heroes and landmarks. The Banco Central issued newly designed banknotes in 1968. The 1968 series were more colorful, had updated security features like security threads and watermarks, and included artworks.
In 1971, the Banco Central de Costa Rica a commemorative series that celebrated the 150 years of Costa Rican independence. The commemorative series had 150 AŇOS DE INDEPENDENCIA. 1821/1971 overprints. In 1975, the bank introduced a new 50 colon banknote, the first in the series of newly designed banknotes. This 50 colon note commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Banco de Costa Rica by featuring the bank’s original headquarters. New large denomination notes that featured the biodiversity of Costa Rica were introduced in 1991 as a response to the high inflation rate. The 2,000 and 10,000 colon notes were designed by Marco Morales Salazar. Meanwhile, the 5,000 colon note was designed by Leonidas Correa.
The Banco Central released another commemorative series of notes in 2000 to celebrate the bank’s 50th anniversary. These notes had a 50 ANNIVERSARIO BCCR overprint. New designs based on Fernando Zeledon’s original drawings were issued in 2009. The 2009 series had a more cohesive color scheme, heightened security features, and highlighted Costa Rica’s history and biodiversity. Ten years later, the Banco Central of Costa Rica completed its shift from paper to polymer substrate banknotes.