In Costa Rican historiography, Talamanca has often been considered one of the country's most isolated areas for two main reasons: it is a border region with a significant indigenous population within a nation that has defined itself racially as white, and its history as a banana enclave, areas supposedly characterized by a lack of significant economic and political connections with the nation-states that housed them. However, this article demonstrates that by the nineteenth century's end, Talamanca's indigenous residents were actively participating in one of the nation's quintessential political exercises: elections. These populations were thus much more connected to the Costa Rican nation than the literature has hitherto acknowledged. I examine how indigenous people integrated into and participated in the Costa Rican electoral system. The case of Talamanca helps illuminate little-known features of enclave regions and the political life of Latin American indigenous communities during the first century after independence.

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