The pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica extends from the establishment of the first settlers until the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
Archaeological evidence allows us to date the arrival of the first humans to Costa Rica to between 7000 and 10,000 BC. By the second millennium BC sedentary farming communities already existed. Between 300 BC and AD 300 many communities moved from a tribal, clan-centric organization – kinship-based, rarely hierarchical and dependent on self-sustenance – to a hierarchical one, with caciques (chiefs), religious leaders or shamans, artisan specialists and so on. This social organization arose from the need to organize manufacture and trade, manage relations with other communities and plan offensive and defensive activities. These groups established broader territorial divisions to produce more food and control wider sources of raw materials.
From the 9th century certain villages grew in size, and the latter-period chiefdoms of the 16th century came to develop greater social hierarchies and major improvements in infrastructure.
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