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San Jose (San Jose, Costa Rica)

Cantón Central de San José

Last modified: 2021-08-25 by rob raeside
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image by Ivan Sache, 20 July 2013

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San Jose canton is in the Province of San Jose, Costa Rica. The full name is Canton Central de San Jose. The canton covers an area of 44.62 km2, and has a population of 346,799. It is contiguous with the national capital city of San Jose. It has 11 districts, and 11 stars on the flag represent them - combining information from other sources and Wikipedia. The flag is presented on canton's website.
Valentin Poposki, 6 February 2008

San José Canton (309,672 inhabitants, that is 8% of the population of Costa Rica; 4,462 ha) is made of 11 districts: Carmen (3,360 inh.), Merced (13,565 inh.), Hospital (24,175 inh.), Catedral (15,341 inh.), Zapote (20,753 inh.), San Francisco de Dos Rios (21,724 inh.), Uruca (27,110 inh.), Mata Redonda (9,321 inh.), Pavas (76,177 inh.), Hatillo (54,901 inh.) and San Sebastián '43,245 inh.).
San José was settled by the Spaniards at the end of the 16th century. The first recorded inhabited place is Mata Redonda, where Pedro de las Alas established a cattle ranch. In the middle of the 18th century, the colonial authorities decided to establish an administrative center to manage the scattered settlements of the Aserrí valley. Father Juan Manuel de Casasola y Córdoba consecrated in 1738 a chapel dedicated to St; Joseph (San José) in a place known as Boca del Monte de Curridabá; the scattered colonists were required to establish a new village around the chapel, to no avail. Priest Juan de Pomar y Burgos set up in 1750 water supply to the site of the new settlement, which, however, did not attract more colonists.
In 1765, Tomás López del Corral, Mayor of Cartago, decided the outcome by threatening the reluctant colonists with corporal punishment and burning of their ranches and pastures. One year later, the place had a new church, an aqueduct, 15 straw-roofed huts and one tile-roofed house. Population grew up to c. 5,000 inhabitants in 1783.Known as Villita or Villa Nueva, the new town was officially named San José in 1801 by Governor Tomás de Acosta. San José was granted the municipal status in 1812 and the title of "ciudad" on 16 October 1813. San José was a short-lived capital of the Costa Rica Province in May-August 1822, a status which was confirmed on 16 May 1823 by the Political Statutes of Costa Rica Province, valid until 1834. Braulio Carrillo issued in 1838 a Law that made of San José the capital of Costa Rica "for ever", settling the dispute with the towns of Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia.
Source: Cantonal website
The flag of San José, designed by Walter Rojas Hidalgo, is prescribed by Municipal Decree No. 7 of 27 April 2006. The flag was selected in a public contest prescribed by Municipal Decree No. 2 of 31 May 2005. It was stated that the proposed flag should not include any emblem or coat of arms.
The flag is horizontally divided blue-green-white (c. 5:1:1), with an horizontal row of 11 white stars placed at the bottom of the blue field. Blue represents the sky, green represents hope, white represents transparency. The 11 stars represent the 11 districts forming the canton.
Source: Flag page, cantonal website
Ivan Sache, 20 July 2013

Former, unofficial flag

image by Ivan Sache, 20 November 2005

In the newspaper "Al Diá", 13 November 2005, Mónica Umaña D. reports that San José is not very happy to be a canton (municipality) without anthem and flag, and would like to adopt such symbols this year. The winners of the contest shall be awarded  750,000 colóns. Hand or computer-drawn proposals are eligible. They should be presented on colour paper or CD, with dimensions 22 x 14 cm. The jury will assess creativity and originality, message and meaning, and agreement with the motto of the shield of the municipality and its status of capital of the state. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 23 December 2005.
Source: <>.
Ivan Sache, 20 November 2005

Coat of Arms

image contributed by Fred Drews, 28 August 2018

The coat of arms of San José, designed by Ricardo Fernández Guardia,  was adopted on 28 December 1904 by the Municipal Council, as: "Azure a star argent, recalling the first arms of Costa Rica, a border gules to match the national colours. The shield supported by two branches of coffee fructed proper, recalling the San José was the cradle of coffee cultivation in Costa Rica. The shield surmounted by a scroll or inscribed with the Latin motto 'AD MELIORA' [Towards the Best] i letters azure, highlighting the progressivist spirit of the town".
Accordingly, the image shown here does not match the official prescriptions.
Ivan Sache, 20 July 2013