March 20: Battle of Santa Rosa

The Battle of Santa Rosa was a military confrontation that occurred on March 20, 1856 at Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, in the framework of the National Campaign 1856-1857, and resulted in the expulsion of the filibuster army commanded by William Walker of Costa Rican territory


In June 1855 an original traveler from Nashville (Tenessee State, United States), named William Walker eviction in the Nicaraguan port of Realejo, with 57 companions. They formed the American Falange, after a troop marched on the city of Rivas.

Beyond Nicaragua

When Walker arrived in Nicaragua, the country suffered a major internal conflict between two parties that power (Democratic Legitivista) vied. US intervention in the civil war that was caused by the conflict, decided the victory of Democrat group. However, Walker took the command of the armed forces.


In the presence of the invaders in Nicaragua, the former president of Costa Rica, Juan Rafael Mora Porras, known as Juanito Mora, he asked Costa Ricans, aged 15 and 50, who took up arms against the enemy, for the army at that time was very small. In this way he brought together a group of ten thousand men ready to fight against Walker, who left San Jose, bound for Nicaragua, under the command of Jose Joaquin Mora (brother of our president), on March 4. At the same time, the filibusters headed to Costa Rica and settled at Santa Rosa in the province of Guanacaste.

The battle

The representative of Costa Rica in Washington-Luis Mora Molina informed the president about the intentions of Walker. The filibuster was considered by the Central Americans a real threat since it had the support of the Southern States of the American Union, which had as its main objective subject to slavery all that could be useful. Mora’s reaction was swift, took the decision to expel him from Nicaragua, in February 1856, Congress granted powers to Mora generalísimos who up arms to Costa Ricans to remove the invaders. Against war, an army of 9,000 men, made up of people of all levels and locations are formed. In March 1856 came troops to Guanacaste, where 280 men of Walker and occupied the Hacienda Santa Rosa, our troops, led by General Jose Joaquin Mora, brother of President and General José María Cañas, came to that place night March, 19. On March 20, Walker’s army clashed with the forefront of Costa Rican forces: the fight took place in the pens of the Santa Rosa. The attack was as fast as energetic. It lasted 15 to 20 minutes. After a charge of bayonets, the filibusters fled in rout to Rivas, Nicaragua.