The Province and Port of Limón: Metaphors for Afro-Costa Rican Black Identity


  • Carmen Hutchinson Miller Ph.D Historian/ Research Assistant University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit



Central America, Costa Rica, Province of Limón, Port of Limón, Jamaican immigrants, Jamaican descendants, Afro-Costa Rican, Costa Rican black identity.


 A significant number of Afro-Caribbean immigrant workers from the Anglo Spanish, and French Caribbean migrated to the Central American country called Costa Rica, to work on the construction of a railroad, 140 years ago (1872). Strained economic conditions in their homelands in the late 19th century was the push factor that forced them out of their homes in search for better opportunities that would improve their own and the lives of the families they left behind. Large numbers of these immigrants were forced to settle in the province and port of Limón. The unintentional settlement resulted in the biological reproduction of the present Afro-Costa Rican population, who are still not fully accepted within the society. This group of people maintains cultural aspects of the Caribbean immigrant culture, particularly that of Jamaica. This paper will demonstrate from the perspective of history some of the reasons why the province and port of Limón can be considered metaphors for Afro-Costa Rican Black Identity, using both primary sources and secondary information found in archival documents, newspaper clippings, interviews, and other publications.