Juan Santamaría Day To Be Celebrated Sunday April 11
On Sunday April 11 Costa Rica celebrates the Batalla de Rivas (Battle at Rivas) and Juan Santamaría, the only Costa Rican to have a national holiday declared in his honour.
Battle of Rivas occurred on 11 April 1856 between Costa Rican militia under General Mora and the Nicaraguan forces of William Walker.
At the time, a major trade route between New York City and San Francisco ran through southern Nicaragua. Ships from New York would enter the San Juan River from the Atlantic and sail across Lake Nicaragua. People and goods would then be transported by stagecoach over a narrow strip of land near the city of Rivas, before reaching the Pacific and being shipped to San Francisco.
The commercial exploitation of this route had been attained from a previous Nicaraguan administration to Wall Street tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Accessory Transit Company. Garrison and Morgan had wrested control of the company from Vanderbilt and then supported Walker’s expedition. Vanderbilt spread rumors that the company was issuing stock illegally in order to depress its value, allowing him to regain controlling interest.
In July 1856, Walker set himself up as president of Nicaragua, after conducting a farcical election.