|Railway to Limon in 1904: click here for photo origin|
The latter half of the 19th Century saw a wave of Black immigrants, mostly fishermen and farmers to the eastern Caribbean coast, but even today only about 3% of the population is classified as black.
Looking for Panamanian Ancestors?
If you have lost the hot trail of your Panamanian ancestor, you may wish to check the records of Costa Rica. The Panama War of Independence with Colombia, 1000 Days War, from 1899 -1902 brought a number of blacks to the Costa Rican eastern coast.
From Jamaica to Costa Rica?
The province of Limón is known for its large Jamaican population. Thanks to the railroad, a large number of Jamaican, Barbados and St. Kitts citizens migrated to Costa Rica for work to build the railroad line between San Jose and Puerto Limon starting as early as 1871. Some would say the Jamaicans were recruited to work on the railroad due to the belief they were “physically better to undertake the elements.” Other historians would suggest that the Costa Ricans refused to do railroad work. Either way, you may look for your early Jamaican and Caribbean ancestor in the Costa Rica genealogical records.
Know that the original idea for most was to work on the railroad and return home, but due to a slump in the railroad and economy, most were forced to stay and make Costa Rica their home.
For more information
- Read the Jstor article: Jamaican Blacks and their Descendants in Costa Rica by Charles W. Koch (page 339).
- El Afro-Caribeño (The African Caribbean).
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