Central America

Podcast Episode 150: The Prince of Nowhere


In 1821, Scottish adventurer Gregor MacGregor undertook one of the most brazen scams in history: He invented a fictional Central American republic and convinced hundreds of his countrymen to invest in its development. Worse, he persuaded 250 people to set sail for this imagined utopia with dreams of starting a new life. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe the disastrous results of MacGregor’s deceit.

We’ll also illuminate a hermit’s behavior and puzzle over Liechtenstein’s flag.


In 1878, a neurologist noted that French-Canadian lumberjacks tended to startle violently.

Each year on Valentine’s Day, someone secretly posts paper hearts in Montpelier, Vt.

Sources for our feature on Gregor MacGregor:

David Sinclair, Sir Gregor MacGregor and the Land That Never Was, 2003.

Matthew Brown, “Inca, Sailor, Soldier, King: Gregor MacGregor and the Early Nineteenth-Century Caribbean,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 24:1 (January 2005), 44-70.

T. Frederick Davis, “MacGregor’s Invasion of Florida, 1817,” Florida Historical Society Quarterly 7:1 (July 1928), 2-71.

Emily Beaulieu, Gary W. Cox, and Sebastian Saiegh, “Sovereign Debt and Regime Type: Reconsidering the Democratic Advantage,” International Organization 66:4 (Fall 2012), 709-738.

R.A. Humphreys, “Presidential Address: Anglo-American Rivalries in Central…

Costa Rica Facts – 95 Loving Facts About Costa Rica

costa rica facts

Costa Rica facts: Interesting facts about Costa Rica. Costa Rica located in the Central America is famous for its colorful culture and coffee. Costa Ricans motto meaning “simple life” or “pure life” is more than just a saying – it is a way of life. Let’s explore more facts about Costa Rica.

Costa Rica facts

Tourism is the leading industry in Costa Rica, attracting over 2 million visitors each year.

$10 per day is the average wage of laborer, the highest in Central America.

Costa Rica has no armed forces; they have abolished it in 1949.

Costa Rica became the first country in the world to default on its loans in 1981.

Every Costa Rican radio station plays the national anthem every morning at 7 am.

Costa Rica became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting in 2012.

Costa Rica officially plans to become a carbon neutral country by 2021.

The sun rises and sets at the same time every day throughout the year, due to its close proximity to equator.

Costa Rica unlike the rest of Central America never fought for independence from Spain.

Costa Rica is the longest standing democracy in Central America.

Facts about Costa Rica

Isla del Coco is the most remote and largest uninhabited island of Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica, lessons are taught over a national radio station for children in rural areas who cannot make it to school.

Costa Rica is one of the countries with the highest amount of protected land in the world. 25% of its national territory is national park or biological, marine and land reserves.

Costa Rica has the highest life expectancy in the world (77 years).

Costa Rica is home to more orchids than other place on Earth.

Airrecu is the small unofficial country in Costa Rica formed in 1995. It is not recognized by Costa Rica and the UN but has a population of 5,000 people with a flag, soldiers and national anthem.

Costa Rica has 4% of all known living species of flora and fauna and is also 1 of the top 20 countries with the greatest biodiversity in the world.

Costa Rica’s marine surface is 10 times bigger than terrestrial and with rich biodiversity; it is a paradise for divers.

Costa Rica is the 3rd most popular destination for surfing, after Hawaii and Indonesia.

There is free education and health care to each citizen until 11th grade in Costa Rica.

Interesting facts about Costa Rica

Front doors of almost all commercial establishments always open inwards. This is against fire code in the U.S.

Costa Rica is smaller than Lake Michigan.

Costa Ricans started used street signs in 2012.

The name Costa Rica was first used by the officials of Panama in 1539 to distinguish the territory between Panama and Nicaragua.

Christopher Columbus was the first European to land on Costa Rica on September 8, 1502. He took the refuge off the coast between tiny Uvita Island and current port of Limon.

Costa Rica has a literacy rate of 96%.

Native Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos for male and Ticas for females.

Costa Rican women do not take their husbands last name when they get married, but they retain their maiden name…