Costa Rica getting another hero of its 19th century war

Costa Rica is about to get a new hero.  He is Nicolás Aguilar Murillo, who distinguished himself in the war against the filibusters in 1856 and 1857.

The Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Sociales reported out the bill Wednesday, and it now goes to the full legislature for approval.

The bill also instructs the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and the Ministerio de Educación Pública to remember the Barva man every Sept. 10 and to include an account of his exploits in educational material.

Aguilar was born Sept. 10, 1834, and spent most of his life in Barva. He joined the Costa Rican army when he was 22. He was among about 200 persons who were sent along the Río San Juan to attack troops of U.S. filibuster William Walker. This was called La Campaña del Río

Illness and other problems reduced the attacking force to 80, and Aguilar appears to have done much more than just holdup his end.

Among other feats, he managed to capture a cannon and later helped take over the steamship “San Carlos” that was Walker’s flagship along the river.

Aguilar is called by the rank of colonel in the bill, but that was an honor awarded much later when he had fallen on hard times. The legislature authorized the military rank and awarded him a pension in 1892. Later he was decorated with a gold medal in front of the Monumental Nacional that was unveiled the same day in 1895.

By honoring Aguilar, the legislature would open the door for the installation of monuments honoring him.

A principal promotor of the bill is legislator Marielos Alfaro Murillo.

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