Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cartago, Costa Rica
Cartago is a city in Costa Rica, about 25 km (15 miles) east of the capital, San José. It is at an elevation of about 1435 m (some 4930 ft) above sea level on the Cartago River , at the base of the Irazú volcano. Cartago is the capital of Cartago province. In 2003 the city had a population of 141,524 people.
Cartago was founded in 1563 by Spanish conquistador Juan Vásquez de Coronado , and was the first permanent Spanish settlement in Costa Rica. It served as the capital of Costa Rica until 1823, when the first elected head of state, Juan Mora Fernández , moved the capital to what was then the small village of San José.
In 1723, a volcanic eruption destroyed Cartago. The city was severely damaged by major earthquakes in 1822, 1841 and 1910. In 1963, another volcanic eruption badly damaged the city, and covered San José in ash.
Many pilgrims come to Cartago annually, to visit the city's principal church, the enormous Basillica de Nuesta Señora de Los Angeles. The church has a statue of the Black Madonna known as La Negrita, who supposedly had great healing powers. The sick come to her statue in hope of a miracle from La Negrita.
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