All these divisions except Guanacaste - which takes its name from a variety of mimosa very common in the province - are synonymous with their chief towns; and each is controlled by a governor or prefect appointed by the president.
The whites are congregated in or near the chief towns, which include the capital, San Jose (pop. 1904 about 24,500), the four provincial capitals of Alajuela (4860), Cartago (4536), Heredia (7151) and Liberia or Guanacaste (2831), with the seaports of Puntarenas (3569), on the Pacific, and Limon (3171) on the Atlantic. These, with the exception of Heredia and Liberia, are described in separate articles.
The Chorotega race had its centre in Nicaragua (Pacific coast) and at one time extended thence as far as Guanacaste (Costa Rica); at another time it extended as far as Honduras (actual department of Choluteca) and into eastern Salvador as far as the state of Chiapas in Mexico, where the Chorotega penetrated amongst the Mixe.
While it lasted Nicaragua was the scene of continual bloodshed, caused partly by its attempts to secede from the confederacy, partly by its wars with Costa Rica for the possession of the disputed territory of Guanacaste between the great lake and the Gulf of Nicoya, partly also by the bitter rivalries of the cities of Leon and Granada, respective headquarters of the Liberal and Conservative parties.