History of Costa Rica
The first natives in Costa Rica were hunters, gatherers, Costa Rica served as an intermediate region between Mesoamerican and Andean native cultures. In 1502, Christopher Columbus made landfall in Costa Rica. Soon after, his forces overcame the indigenous people, he incorporated the territory into the Captaincy General of Guatemala as a province of New Spain in 1524. For the next 300 years, Costa Rica was a colony of Spain; as a result, Costa Rica's culture has been influenced by the culture of Spain. During this period, Costa Rica remained sparsely impoverished. Following the Mexican War of Independence, Costa Rica became part of the independent Mexican Empire in 1821. Subsequently, Costa Rica was part of the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823, before gaining full independence in 1838, its economy struggled due to lack of connections with European suppliers. In 1856, Costa Rica resisted. After 1869, Costa Rica established a democratic government. After the Costa Rican Civil War in 1948, the government drafted a new constitution, guaranteeing universal suffrage and the dismantling of the military.
Today, Costa Rica is a democracy that relies on eco-tourism for its economy. Although poverty has declined since the turn of the 21st century, economic problems still exist. Costa Rica is facing problems of underemployment and internal debt, a trade deficiency; the oldest evidence of human occupation in Costa Rica is associated with the arrival of groups of hunter-gatherers about 10,000 to 7,000 years BC, with ancient archaeological evidence located in the Turrialba Valley, at sites called Guardiria and Florence, with matching quarry and workshop areas with presence of type clovis spearheads and South American inspired arrows. All this suggests the possibility; the people of this era were nomadic. They were organized in family-based bands of about 20 to 30 members, their usual prey animals were called megafauna, such as giant armadillos and sloths, etc. These became extinct about 8,000 years before the modern era; the first settlers had to adapt to hunting smaller animals and develop appropriate strategies to adjust to the new conditions.
In Pre-Columbian times, the Native Americans in what is now Costa Rica were part of a cultural complex known as the "Intermediate Area," between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultural regions. The northwest of the country, the Nicoya Peninsula, was the southernmost point of Nahuatl cultural influence when the Spanish conquerors came in the sixteenth century; the central and southern portions of the country had Chibcha influences. The indigenous people have influenced modern Costa Rican culture to a small degree. In the years soon after European encounter, many of the people died due to infectious diseases, such as measles and smallpox, which were endemic among the Europeans but to which they had no immunity; the Diquis culture flourished from 700 CE to 1530 CE and were well known for their crafts in metal and stonework. The colonial period began when Christopher Columbus reached the eastern coast of Costa Rica on his fourth voyage on September 18, 1502. Numerous subsequent Spanish expeditions followed leading to the first Spanish colony in Costa Rica, Villa Bruselas, founded in 1524.
During most of the colonial period, Costa Rica was the southernmost province of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, nominally part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In practice it operated as a autonomous entity within the Spanish Empire. Costa Rica's distance from the capital in Guatemala, its legal prohibition under Spanish law against trading with its southern neighbors in Panama part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, the lack of resources such as gold and silver, resulted in Costa Rica attracting few inhabitants, it was a poor and sparsely inhabited region within the Spanish Empire. A Spanish governor in 1719 described Costa Rica as "the poorest and most miserable Spanish colony in all America." Many historians say that the area suffered a lack of indigenous population available for forced labor, which meant that most of the Costa Rican settlers had to work their own land. This prevented the establishment of large haciendas. For all these reasons Costa Rica was by and large unappreciated and overlooked by the Spanish Crown and left to develop on its own.
The small landowners' relative poverty, the lack of a large indigenous labor force, the population's ethnic and linguistic homogeneity, Costa Rica's isolation from the Spanish colonial centers in Mexico and the Andes, all contributed to the development of an autonomous and individualistic agrarian society. The Governor had to farm his own crops and tend to his own garden due to his poverty; the failure to build a colonial society based indigenous and slave labor led to a peasant economy in the 1700sDuring the time of conquest, as many as twenty distinct indigenous societies, numbering in the hundreds of thousands and speaking many different languages, inhabited the area The Spanish conquest of Costa Rica lasted more than half a century after it started 1510. The genocidal enslavement of the indigenous societies of Nicoya on the Pacific North coast was the conquest’s first stage, its second phase began with fruitless attempts to consolidate a Spanish settlement on the country’s Caribbean side.
In the process, Spaniards reduced the indigenous population to the point of extinction through disease, reprisals and brutal exploitation. The Native American population stood at about 120,000 in 1569 and had fallen to 10,000 by 1611. In the early 19th century, Napoleon's occupatio
Puerto Limón known as Limón, is the capital city and main hub of Limón province, as well as of the cantón of Limón in Costa Rica. It is the second largest city in Costa Rica, with a population of over 55,000, is home of the Afro-Costa Rican community. Part of the community traces its roots to Italian and Chinese laborers who worked on a late nineteenth-century railroad project that connected San José to Puerto Limón; until 1948, the Costa Rican government did not recognize Afro-Caribbean people as citizens and restricted their movement outside Limón province. As a result of this "travel ban", this Afro-Caribbean population became established in the region, which influenced decisions not to move after it was permitted. Nowadays, there is a significant outflow of Limón natives who move to the country's Central Valley in search for better employment and education; the Afro-Caribbean community speaks a creole of English. Puerto Limón contains two port terminals, Limón and Moín, which permit the shipment of Costa Rican exports as well as the anchoring of cruise ships.
In 2016, the government pledged ₡93 million for a new cruise ship terminal for Puerto Limón. Health care is provided for the city by Hospital Dr. Tony Facio Castro. Two small islands, Uvita Island and Isla de Pájaros, are just offshore. Christopher Columbus first dropped anchor in Costa Rica in 1502 at Isla Uvita, just off the coast of Puerto Limón; the Atlantic coast, was left unexplored by Spanish settlers until the 19th century. As early as 1569, Governor Perafán de Rivera gave extensive plots of land, Indians included, in Matina to aristocrats that helped to finance and support early conquest; because these aristocrats found out that only a few Indians were available to exploit, they acquired African slaves to plant these lands with cocoa trees. These lands provided the only source of income to the absentee owners from the capital city of Cartago. Matina gained importance because of the cacao and the presence of African slaves, which made them attractive to pirate incursions. Notorious pirates, Edward Mansvelt and his vice admiral Henry Morgan, arrived at Portete, a small bay between Limón and Moín, in 1666.
They proceeded inland to Cartago, the capital of Costa Rica at the time, but were driven away by the inhabitants at Turrialba on 15 April. The pirate army arrived back in Portete on 23 April, they did not return. The town was founded in 1854 by Philipp J. J. Valentini under government auspices. In 1867, construction began on an ambitious railroad connecting the highlands to the sea. Limón was chosen as the site of a major port, which would facilitate exports of the coffee from the Central Valley; the first acknowledged arrival of African people who arrived in Costa Rica came with the Spanish conquistadors. Slave trade was common in all the countries conquered by Spain, in Costa Rica the first Africans seem to have come from specific sources in Africa- Equatorial and Western regions; the people from these areas were thought of as ideal slaves because they had a reputation for being more robust and hard-working than other Africans. The enslaved were from what is now the Gambia, Ghanaian and Sudan.
Many of the enslaved were Minas, Popo and Congas. Eslaved Africans came from other places, such as neighboring Panama. Throughout the centuries, but after the emancipation of the slaves in 1824, the black population mixed with other ethnic groups, notably the Indians, became part of the mainstream culture and ethnicity; the early black population of Matina and Suerre in Limón is not the same population that arrived in the second half of the 19th century. This latter population did not arrive as slaves but as hired workers from Jamaica, smaller groups from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago; this is the reason why the majority of the current black population of Costa Rica has English surnames and speak English with a Jamaican accent. In 1910, Marcus Mosiah Garvey travelled to Puerto Limón, where he worked as a time-keeper for the United Fruit Company for some months, observing that the population of African descent suffered poor conditions; the descendant of Africans in Costa Rica have endured discrimination including a delay in voting rights and a restriction on their movements.
Puerto Limon was struck by the 1991 Limon earthquake, which affected the surrounding landscape and coastline. Most Afro-Costa Ricans are found in Limón Province. Limón is divided into four districts which are in turn subdivided into poblados. Puerto Limón is famous in Costa Rica for its yearly fall festival called carnaval which occurs the week of 12 October, the date Columbus first anchored off Limón's coast in 1502, on his fourth voyage; the event was started by local community leader and activist, Alfred Josiah Henry Smith, who helped organize the first carnaval in October 1949. The event stretches about a week, includes a parade, music, and, on the last night, a concert in the Parque Vargas headlined by a major Latino or Caribbean music act. Previous artists have included Eddy Herrera, Damian Marley, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, T. O. K.. Although the show goes on rain or shine, the event has suffered some setbacks. Organizers can
A passenger ship is a merchant ship whose primary function is to carry passengers on the sea. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is secondary to the carriage of freight; the type does however include many classes of ships designed to transport substantial numbers of passengers as well as freight. Indeed, until virtually all ocean liners were able to transport mail, package freight and express, other cargo in addition to passenger luggage, were equipped with cargo holds and derricks, kingposts, or other cargo-handling gear for that purpose. Only in more recent ocean liners and in all cruise ships has this cargo capacity been eliminated. While passenger ships are part of the merchant marine, passenger ships have been used as troopships and are commissioned as naval ships when used as for that purpose. Passenger ships include ferries, which are vessels for day to day or overnight short-sea trips moving passengers and vehicles.
An ocean liner is the traditional form of passenger ship. Once such liners operated on scheduled line voyages to all inhabited parts of the world. With the advent of airliners transporting passengers and specialized cargo vessels hauling freight, line voyages have died out, but with their decline came an increase in sea trips for pleasure and fun, in the latter part of the 20th century ocean liners gave way to cruise ships as the predominant form of large passenger ship containing from hundreds to thousands of people, with the main area of activity changing from the North Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. Although some ships have characteristics of both types, the design priorities of the two forms are different: ocean liners value speed and traditional luxury while cruise ships value amenities rather than speed; these priorities produce different designs. In addition, ocean liners were built to cross the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States or travel further to South America or Asia while cruise ships serve shorter routes with more stops along coastlines or among various islands.
For a long time, cruise ships were smaller than the old ocean liners had been, but in the 1980s, this changed when Knut Kloster, the director of Norwegian Caribbean Lines, bought one of the biggest surviving liners, the SS France, transformed her into a huge cruise ship, which he renamed the SS Norway. Her success demonstrated. Successive classes of ever-larger ships were ordered, until the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth was dethroned from her 56-year reign as the largest passenger ship built. Both the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 and her successor as Cunard's flagship RMS Queen Mary 2, which entered service in 2004, are of hybrid construction. Like transatlantic ocean liners, they are fast ships and built to withstand the rigors of the North Atlantic in line voyage service, but both ships are designed to operate as cruise ships, with the amenities expected in that trade. QM2 was superseded by the Freedom of the Seas of the Royal Caribbean line as the largest passenger ship built; the Freedom of the Seas was superseded by the Oasis of the Seas in October 2009.
Because of changes in historic measurement systems, it is impossible to make meaningful and accurate comparisons of ship sizes over time beyond length. Three alternative forms of measurement are ship volume and weight of water it displaces. A fourth, deadweight tonnage, is a measure of how much mass a ship can safely carry, is thus more relevant to measuring cargo vessels than passenger ships. Gross register tonnage was a measure of the internal volume of certain enclosed areas of a ship divided into "tons" equivalent to 100 cubic feet of space; the displacement is a measure of both a ship's weight and the weight of water it displaces, which are one and the same by Archimedes' principle. While straightforward, it has four variants in measure, Loaded displacement, Light displacement, Normal displacement, Standard displacement. Of these, the first is most appropriate to measuring a passenger vessel. Gross tonnage is a comparatively new measure, only adopted in 1982 to replace GRT, it is calculated based on "the moulded volume of all enclosed spaces of the ship", is used to determine things such as a ship's manning regulations, safety rules, registration fees, port dues.
It is produced by a mathematical formula, does not distinguish between mechanical and passenger spaces, thus is not directly comparable to historic GRT measurements. While a high displacement can indicate better sea keeping abilities, gross tonnage is nowadays promoted as the most important measure of size for passenger vessels, as the ratio of gross tonnage per passenger – the Passenger/Space Ratio – gives a sense of the spaciousness of a ship, an important consideration in cruise liners where the onboard amenities are of high importance. A ship's GRT and displacement were somewhat similar
Viceroyalty of New Granada
The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in northern South America, corresponding to modern Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated in 1739, the provinces of Venezuela were separated from the Viceroyalty and assigned to the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1777. In addition to these core areas, the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada included Guyana, southwestern Suriname, parts of northwestern Brazil, northern Peru. Nearly two centuries after the establishment of the New Kingdom of Granada in the 16th century, whose governor was dependent upon the Viceroy of Peru at Lima, an audiencia at Santa Fé de Bogotá, the slowness of communications between the two capitals led to the creation of an independent Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. Other provinces corresponding to modern Ecuador, the eastern and southern parts of today's Venezuela, Panama came together in a political unit under the jurisdiction of Bogotá, confirming that city as one of the principal administrative centers of the Spanish possessions in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City.
Sporadic attempts at reform were directed at increasing efficiency and centralizing authority, but control from Spain was never effective. The rough and diverse geography of northern South America and the limited range of proper roads made travel and communications within the viceroyalty difficult; the establishment of an autonomous Captaincy General in Caracas in 1777 and the preservation of the older Audiencia of Quito, nominally subject to the Viceroy but for most purposes independent, was a response to the necessities of governing the peripheral regions. Some analysts consider that these measures reflected a degree of local traditions that contributed to the differing political and national differences among these territories once they became independent in the nineteenth century and which the unifying efforts of Simón Bolívar could not overcome; the Wayuu had never been subjugated by the Spanish. The two groups were in a less permanent state of war. There had been rebellions in 1701, 1727, 1741, 1757, 1761 and 1768.
In 1718, Governor Soto de Herrera called them "barbarians, horse thieves, worthy of death, without God, without law and without a king". Of all the Indians in the territory of Colombia, the Wayuu were unique in having learned the use of firearms and horses. In 1769 the Spanish took 22 Wayuus captive, in order to put them to work building the fortifications of Cartagena; the reaction of the Wayuus was unexpected. On 2 May 1769, at El Rincón, near Riohacha, they set their village afire, burning the church and two Spaniards who had taken refuge in it, they captured the priest. The Spanish dispatched an expedition from El Rincón to capture the Wayuus. At the head of this force was José Antonio de Sierra, a mestizo who had headed the party that had taken the 22 Guajiro captives; the Guajiros recognized him and forced his party to take refuge in the house of the curate, which they set afire. Sierra and eight of his men were killed; this success was soon known in other Guajiro areas, more men joined the revolt.
According to Messía, at the peak there were 20,000 Wayuus under arms. Many had firearms acquired from English and Dutch smugglers, sometimes from the Spanish; this enabled the rebels to take nearly all the settlements of the region. According to the authorities, more than 100 Spaniards were killed and many others taken prisoner. Many cattle were taken by the rebels; the Spaniards took refuge in Riohacha and sent urgent messages to Maracaibo, Santa Marta and Cartagena, the latter responding by sending 100 troops. The rebels themselves were not unified. Sierra's relatives among the Indians took up arms against the rebels to avenge his death. A battle between the two groups of Wayuus was fought at La Soledad; that and the arrival of the Spanish reinforcements caused the rebellion to fade away, but not before the Guajiro had regained much territory. New Granada was estimated to have 4,345,000 inhabitants in 1819. By population The territories of the viceroyalty gained full de facto independence from Spain between 1819 and 1822 after a series of military and political struggles, uniting in a republic now known as Gran Colombia.
With the dissolution of Gran Colombia, the states of Ecuador and the Republic of New Granada were created. The Republic of New Granada, with its capital at Bogotá, lasted from 1831 to 1856; the name "Colombia" reappeared in the "United States of Colombia". The use of the term "New Granada" survived such as among ecclesiastics; as is typical in Spanish, older adjectives of places are used as demonyms for people from those areas. Today, it is typical in Spanish to refer to Colombians as neogranadinos in neighboring Venezuela. History of the Americas History of Colombia History of Ecuador History of Venezuela List of Viceroys of New Granada Spanish Empire Fisher, John R. Allan J. Keuthe and Anthony McFarlane, eds. Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 1990. ISBN 978-0-8071-1654-8 Kuethe, Alan J. Military Reform and Society in New Granada, 1773-1808. Gainesville, University Presses of Florida, 1978. ISBN 978-0-8130-0570-6 McFarlane, Anthony.
The World Factbook
The World Factbook known as the CIA World Factbook, is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official print version is available from the Government Printing Office. Other companies—such as Skyhorse Publishing—also print a paper edition; the Factbook is available in the form of a website, updated every week. It is available for download for use off-line, it provides a two- to three-page summary of the demographics, communications, government and military of each of 267 international entities including U. S.-recognized countries and other areas in the world. The World Factbook is prepared by the CIA for the use of U. S. government officials, its style, format and content are designed to meet their requirements. However, it is used as a resource for academic research papers and news articles; as a work of the U. S. government, it is in the public domain in the United States. In researching the Factbook, the CIA uses the sources listed below.
Other public and private sources are consulted. Antarctic Information Program Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center Bureau of the Census Bureau of Labor Statistics Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs Defense Intelligence Agency Department of Energy Department of State Fish and Wildlife Service Maritime Administration National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Naval Facilities Engineering Command Office of Insular Affairs Office of Naval Intelligence Oil & Gas Journal United States Board on Geographic Names United States Transportation Command Because the Factbook is in the public domain, people are free under United States law to redistribute it or parts of it in any way that they like, without permission of the CIA. However, the CIA requests. Copying the official seal of the CIA without permission is prohibited by U. S. federal law—specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949. Before November 2001 The World Factbook website was updated yearly. Information available as of January 1 of the current year is used in preparing the Factbook.
The first, edition of Factbook was published in August 1962, the first unclassified version in June 1971. The World Factbook was first available to the public in print in 1975. In 2008 the CIA discontinued printing the Factbook themselves, instead turning printing responsibilities over to the Government Printing Office; this happened due to a CIA decision to "focus Factbook resources" on the online edition. The Factbook has been on the World Wide Web since October 1994; the web version receives an average of 6 million visits per month. The official printed version is sold by the Government Printing Office and National Technical Information Service. In past years, the Factbook was available on CD-ROM, magnetic tape, floppy disk. Many Internet sites use information and images from the CIA World Factbook. Several publishers, including Grand River Books, Potomac Books, Skyhorse Publishing have re-published the Factbook in recent years; as of July 2011, The World Factbook comprises 267 entities, which can be divided into the following categories: Independent countries The CIA defines these as people "politically organized into a sovereign state with a definite territory."
In this category, there are 195 entities. Others Places set apart from the list of independent countries. There are two: Taiwan and the European Union. Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty Places affiliated with another country, they may be subcategorized by affiliated country: Australia: six entities China: two entities Denmark: two entities France: eight entities Netherlands: three entities New Zealand: three entities Norway: three entities United Kingdom: seventeen entities United States: fourteen entitiesMiscellaneous Antarctica and places in dispute. There are six such entities. Other entities The World and the oceans. There are the World. Areas not covered Specific regions within a country or areas in dispute among countries, such as Kashmir, are not covered, but other areas of the world whose status is disputed, such as the Spratly Islands, have entries. Subnational areas of countries are not included in the Factbook. Instead, users looking for information about subnational areas are referred to "a comprehensive encyclopedia" for their reference needs.
This criterion was invoked in the 2007 and 2011 editions with the decision to drop the entries for French Guiana, Martinique and Reunion. They were dropped because besides being overseas departments, they were now overseas regions, an integral part of France. Kashmir Maps depicting Kashmir have the Indo-Pakistani border drawn at the Line of Control, but the region of Kashmir administered by China drawn in hash marks. Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus, which the U. S. considers part of the Republic of Cyprus, is not given a separate entry because "territorial occupations/annexations not recognized by the United States Government are not shown on U. S. Government maps."Taiwan/Republic of China The name
San Ramón, Costa Rica
San Ramón is a city in the canton of San Ramón in Alajuela Province in Costa Rica. The central municipality of San Ramón covers an area of 1.29 km2, has a population of 10,710. Adjoining distritos are part of the city; the city lies at an elevation of 1,057 meters above sea level in the Cordillera de Tilarán. While retaining its rich heritage and tradition, San Ramón continues to serve as a link between the agricultural communities further north in the Meseta Central and the central cities of San Jose, Alajuela and Cartago. San Ramón's history begins with the arrival of the European settlers in this part of the central valley in the early 1840s; these primary colonizers established traditional farms in the area, many of which are either still operational or have since been converted to the cultivation of the region's three main export crops: Tropical ornamentals, sugar cane, coffee. The name San Ramón was bestowed by two prominent figures in the establishment of the town, Ramon Solís and Ramon Rodriguez who placed the area under the protection of Saint Raymond Nonnatus.
In 1854 the village of San Ramón was elevated in status to municipality in 1856, five schools were funded, the beginning of the Municipality of San Ramón's legacy as the main educational, commercial, hub of the canton. San Ramon is home to great poets and former presidents, its story dates from the nineteenth century and holds events to mark one or another so the fate of the entire country, for example the creation of "Liberacion Nacional Party" and the Army eradication by the hand of expresident "Don Pepe Figueres". Since 1876 San Ramón has served as the governmental center of Alajuela Province's second largest district, named San Ramón. San Ramon is located 55 kilometers northeast of Puntarenas on the Gulf of Nicoya, 44 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital city of Alajuela and 58 kilometers from the national capital city of San Jose; the plaza is located 47 km WNW of Costa Rica's parliament building in the center of the capital city of San José and 31 km from Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela.
Its location in the central valley is c.33 km east of the Pacific coast near Puntarenas, c.140 km west of the Caribbean at a point north of Limón. One route runs out of the north of town directly to the popular Costa Rican destination of Volcan Arenal, the Pan-American Highway runs just south of the city's southern edge granting easy access to all other north-south points in the country, as well as linking San Ramón to the Americas. Despite tropical latitude of San Ramón, the temperatures tend to be mild year-round: 13-27 C; this is due to the city's altitude of 1,057 m above sea level. June through October is considered the rainy or "green" season with November to May considered the "dry season." Diurnal periods are predictable due to Costa Rica's latitude: The sun rises in San Ramon by about 05:45 and sets at 18:30 with little variation throughout the year. This regular cycle is further evident in the precipitation patterns during the rainy season; as the morning sun rises, air, moist due to a certain amount of orographic lift being added by the Pacific Ocean, is further loaded by evapotranspiration wherein water drawn from the ground by plants and trees is transpired into the atmosphere.
This leads to a consistent pattern of dry mornings followed by rains in the afternoon beginning around 14:00. Rains can last for a short period, or for several hours, there is a equal chance that there will either be a downpour or a drizzle. Evenings can be cooler than one might expect due to altitude, cooler still in the evenings following rain. At the highest elevations, temperatures down to 9 °C have been recorded. Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve Timeline history of San Ramon, Historical citations Municipality of San Ramón, official website Museum of San Ramón, University of Costa Rica Palmares and San Ramon, Palmares y San Ramon
A narrow-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge narrower than standard 1,435 mm. Most narrow-gauge railways are between 600 1,067 mm. Since narrow-gauge railways are built with tighter curves, smaller structure gauges, lighter rails, they can be less costly to build and operate than standard- or broad-gauge railways. Lower-cost narrow-gauge railways are built to serve industries and communities where the traffic potential would not justify the cost of a standard- or broad-gauge line. Narrow-gauge railways have specialized use in mines and other environments where a small structure gauge necessitates a small loading gauge, they have more general applications. Non-industrial, narrow-gauge mountain railways are common in the Rocky Mountains of the United States and the Pacific Cordillera of Canada, Switzerland, the former Yugoslavia and Costa Rica. In some countries, narrow gauge is the standard. Narrow-gauge trams metre-gauge, are common in Europe. In general, a narrow-gauge railway is narrower than 1,435 mm.
Because of historical and local circumstances, the definition of a narrow-gauge railway varies. The earliest recorded railway appears in Georgius Agricola's 1556 De re metallica, which shows a mine in Bohemia with a railway of about 2 ft gauge. During the 16th century, railways were restricted to hand-pushed, narrow-gauge lines in mines throughout Europe. In the 17th century, mine railways were extended to provide transportation above ground; these lines were industrial. These railways were built to the same narrow gauge as the mine railways from which they developed; the world's first steam locomotive, built in 1802 by Richard Trevithick for the Coalbrookdale Company, ran on a 3 ft plateway. The first commercially successful steam locomotive was Matthew Murray's Salamanca built in 1812 for the 4 ft 1 in Middleton Railway in Leeds. Salamanca was the first rack-and-pinion locomotive. During the 1820s and 1830s, a number of industrial narrow-gauge railways in the United Kingdom used steam locomotives.
In 1842, the first narrow-gauge steam locomotive outside the UK was built for the 1,100 mm -gauge Antwerp-Ghent Railway in Belgium. The first use of steam locomotives on a public, passenger-carrying narrow-gauge railway was in 1865, when the Ffestiniog Railway introduced passenger service after receiving its first locomotives two years earlier. Many narrow-gauge railways were part of industrial enterprises and served as industrial railways, rather than general carriers. Common uses for these industrial narrow-gauge railways included mining, construction, tunnelling and conveying agricultural products. Extensive narrow-gauge networks were constructed in many parts of the world. Significant sugarcane railways still operate in Cuba, Java, the Philippines, Queensland, narrow-gauge railway equipment remains in common use for building tunnels; the first use of an internal combustion engine to power a narrow-gauge locomotive was in 1902. F. C. Blake built a 7hp petrol locomotive for the Richmond Main Sewerage Board sewage plant at Mortlake.
This 2 ft 9 in gauge locomotive was the third petrol-engined locomotive built. Extensive narrow-gauge rail systems served the front-line trenches of both sides in World War I, they were a short-lived military application, after the war the surplus equipment created a small boom in European narrow-gauge railway building. Narrow-gauge railways cost less to build because they are lighter in construction, using smaller cars and locomotives, smaller bridges and tunnels, tighter curves. Narrow gauge is used in mountainous terrain, where engineering savings can be substantial, it is used in sparsely populated areas where the potential demand is too low for broad-gauge railways to be economically viable. This is the case in parts of Australia and most of Southern Africa, where poor soils have led to population densities too low for standard gauge to be viable. For temporary railways which will be removed after short-term use, such as logging, mining or large-scale construction projects, a narrow-gauge railway is cheaper and easier to install and remove.
Such railways have vanished, due to the capabilities of modern trucks. In many countries, narrow-gauge railways were built as branch lines to feed traffic to standard-gauge lines due to lower construction costs; the choice was not between a narrow- and standard-gauge railway, but between a narrow-gauge railway and none at all. Narrow-gauge railways cannot interchange rolling stock with the standard- or broad-gauge railways with which they link, the transfer of passengers and freight require time-consuming manual labour or substantial capital expenditure; some bulk commodities, such as coal and gravel, can be mechanically transshipped, but this is time-consuming, the equipment required for the transfer is complex to maintain. If rail lines with other gauges coexist in a network, in times of peak demand i