Hacienda Santa Rosa
Costa Rica's most well-known battleground was used at the Battle of Santa Rosa.
On March 20th, 1856, this Hacienda was the site of the Battle of Santa Rosa, a clash between William Walker's filibuster raiders and the Costa Rican Civil Army.
Walker, an American, was in Nicaragua to conquer Central American provinces and convert them into English-speaking territories where slavery would be practised. He used civil and political upheaval to his advantage for a period, taking the capital and declaring himself President of Nicaragua.
Walker switched his attention to neighbouring Costa Rica in 1856, deploying a battalion of several hundred troops to invade and establish a foothold. Costa Rican President Juan Rafael Mora Porras called on residents to help oppose the filibuster army, and hundreds responded.
The march to Guanacaste took eight days, during which time the overconfident invaders rested and awaited reinforcements from Nicaragua. The army arrived at the ranch on March 20th, surrounded the filibusters, and forced them to surrender in a dramatic 14-minute victory.
Although the majority of the filibusters were able to evacuate to Nicaragua, the conflict marked the beginning of the end for William Walker, whose fortunes quickly began to reverse. Soon after, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador joined Costa Rica's military operation against Walker. On May 1st, 1857, he surrendered to the Central American alliance but was allowed to return to the United States, albeit only briefly. Only a few years later, he attempted to invade Honduras but was promptly apprehended, tried, and executed.
The site is located at Estacionamiento Casona Santa Rosa, Costa Rica.