Guardia, Tomás

Guardia, Tomás

(tōmäs` gwär`dēä), 1832–82, president of Costa Rica. An army general, he led a revolt that eventually placed him in control and enabled him to rule the country from 1870 to 1882 with only brief interruptions. Under a repressive military dictatorship he exiled the leading families and halted the destructive Liberal-Conservative rivalry that had torn Costa Rica for nearly 50 years. Guardia undertook the building of a costly ocean-to-ocean railroad, financed and directed by the United Fruit magnate Minor Cooper KeithKeith, Minor Cooper,
1848–1929, American magnate, a founder of the United Fruit Company, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. In the face of incredible hardships he built (1871–90) a railroad from the port of Limón, which he founded on the Caribbean, to San José, capital
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. Although basically a military strong man, Guardia is generally credited with having laid the groundwork of Costa Rican political stability.
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