Juan Santamaria is a national hero in Costa Rica who is remembered on April 11. The story goes that this young boy from the lower class volunteered to burn down a fort being occupied by William Walker and his troops. Walker had come to Central America to seize power for himself and was looking to take over Costa Rica. Several men had attempted to do the same and all had died. Juan is said to have asked only that his mother be taken care of if he should die. While running up to the fort Juan was mortally wounded but did manage to throw the torch he was caring which lit the fort a flame. This drove the solders out and eventually lead to the capture and execution of Walker. The reason for April 11 was this is the day this happened in 1856.
It took many years for Juan to be remembered and today there are arguments among academics as to the validity of the story but the people of Costa Rica believe in their hero.