The Nicaragua portal
Nicaragua (; Spanish: [nikaˈɾaɣwa] (listen)), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (ES-pe - República de Nicaragua.ogg), is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.
Originally inhabited by various indigenous cultures since ancient times, the region was conquered by the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821. The Mosquito Coast followed a different historical path, being colonized by the English in the 17th century and later coming under British rule. It became an autonomous territory of Nicaragua in 1860 and its northernmost part was transferred to Honduras in 1960. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, occupation and fiscal crisis, including the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and the Contra War of the 1980s. (Full article...)
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The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. Its members are called Sandinistas [sandiˈnistas] in both English and Spanish. The party is named after Augusto César Sandino, who led the Nicaraguan resistance against the United States occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930s.
The FSLN overthrew Anastasio Somoza DeBayle
in 1979, ending the Somoza dynasty
, and established a revolutionary government in its place. Having seized power, the Sandinistas ruled Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990, first as part of a Junta of National Reconstruction
. Following the resignation of centrist members from this Junta, the FSLN took exclusive power in March 1981. They instituted a policy of mass literacy
, devoted significant resources to health care, and promoted gender equality
but came under international criticism for human rights
abuses, mass execution and oppression of indigenous peoples
. A US-backed group, known as the Contras
, was formed in 1981 to overthrow the Sandinista government and was funded and trained by the Central Intelligence Agency
. In 1984 elections
were held but were boycotted by some opposition parties. The FSLN won the majority of the votes, and those who opposed the Sandinistas won approximately a third of the seats. The civil war between the Contras and the government continued until 1989. After revising the constitution in 1987, and after years of fighting the Contras, the FSLN lost the 1990 election to Violeta Barrios de Chamorro
but retained a plurality of seats in the legislature. (Full article...
Did you know...
- ...that the first woman to be popularly elected as President of a Latin American nation was Violeta Chamorro who served her term from 1990-1997 in Nicaragua. As of 2007 she is the only woman to have served in the role?
- ...that in 1972, nearly 90% of the capital city of Managua was destroyed in an earthquake?
- ...that Lake Nicaragua is the largest freshwater lake in Central America (19th largest in the world) and is home to the world's only freshwater sharks?
- ...that Nicaragua's Bosawas Biosphere Reserve protects 1,800,000 acres (7,300 km2) of Mosquitia forest - almost seven percent of the country's area - making it the second largest Biosphere reserve in the world after the Amazon in Brazil?
- ...that most Nicaraguans begin and end every day with Gallo pinto, a meal of rice and beans cooked separately and then fried together, and that on the Atlantic coast it is common to add coconut oil to the dish?
- ...that one of the world's finest rums, Ron Flor de Caña, is produced in Nicaragua?
- ...that in the 19th century the United States had plans to build a waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the country. The Nicaragua Canal concept was abandoned after the U.S. opted to back the construction of the Panama Canal instead?
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Nicaragua is a unitary republic. For administrative purposes it is divided into 15 departments (departamentos) and two self-governing regions (autonomous communities) based on the Spanish model:
(Department capitals in parenthesis)