Cartago (kärtäˈgō) [key], city (1995 est. pop. 31,413), central Costa Rica, capital of Cartago prov. The raising of livestock and the production of coffee are its main industries. Cartago was founded in 1563. It was the political center of Costa Rica until shortly after independence was won from Spain in 1821 and remains a conservative stronghold. It was destroyed by an eruption (1723) of Irazú volcano and was severely damaged by earthquakes in 1822, 1841, and 1910. Cartago's principal church is the scene of pilgrimages.