Juan Santamaria statue in Juan Santamaria Park in central Alajuela, Costa Rica
How long until Juan Santamaria Day?
|This holiday next takes place in 356 Days.|
Dates of Juan Santamaria Day
|Día de Juan Santamaría|
|Juan Santa Maria was a Costa Rican soldier who is the national hero of Costa Rica|
This public holiday in Costa Rica is always celebrated on 11 April.
The holiday commemorates the Battle of Rivas made famous by the heroic actions of the National Hero, Juan Santamaria.
The Battle of Rivas took place in Rivas, Nicaragua between the army lead by William Walker and Costa Rica's army lead by President Juan Rafael Mora Porras, General José Joaquín Mora Porras and General Jose Maria Cañas.
Walker was an American who had assumed control of Nicaragua and was amassing troops and consolidating his power in the region. Alarmed by his actions, Costa Rica declared war on Walker.
Walker's army was on the run after two battles with the Costa Rican army, when on 11 April 1856, they were confronted with nearly 700 Costa Rican troops in Rivas.
The two armies were fighting each other in a gruelling and bloody battle for over nine hours without either side gaining any decisive advantage, when Juan Santamaría, a Costa Rican drummer boy from Alajuela, volunteered to burn down the "El Mesón de Guerra", a building, in which Walker's troops where gathered.
Santamaria threw a torch onto the thatched roof of Walker's stronghold, causing it to catch fire and his troops to flee. While he was successful in his mission and his actions enabled the Costa Ricans to win the battle, Santamaria was then killed by sniper fire.
For his sacrifice, he became recognised as a National Hero of Costa Rica.