Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in the Americas. Since the civil war of 1948, the country has no standing army; in fact, the Constitution expressly forbids it. During the last 50 years Costa Rica has established a well-developed conservation system, not only nature wise, but also regarding its social and cultural wealth.
As early as 1948, a free compulsory educational system was consolidated, resulting in a literacy rate of over 93%. Almost 90% of all high school students attend public institutions, and the four most prestigious universities are still public. Generous government budgets provide medical coverage for every working citizen, resulting in an extremely low infant mortality rate and average life expectancy of over 70 years.