Costa Rica: The Spanish Influence
The Spanish Influence
Spain and other Europeans had many negative effects on the New World. They often took away the native peoples land and forced them into slavery. But, sometimes they brought something positive. The carreta and the horse are two perfect examples of good cultural exchange!
In the 1500s, to help transport goods in the New World, the Spanish settlers brought blueprints to build ox carts. These ox carts are known as carretas and were used to help transport coffee from mountain plantations to the markets.
Beginning in the early 1900s, Costa Ricans began to paint the wheels of their carretas. This was unique to Costa Rica, because the Spanish ox carts were just plain wood. At first, each region had its own design – just like how each US state has its own license plate design. Soon, each oxcart owner had an original design covering the entire cart.
Today, the carreta is a symbol of Costa Rica. The tradition of making carretas is passed down from generation to generation.