Nicaragua Facts

Nicaragua Facts and History

South America

Nicaragua – One of the poorest and most beautiful countries in Latin America

Nicaragua, in Central America, is not very well known in Europe these days.

In the 1980s, however, due to the victory of the Sandinista troops over the longstanding Somoza dictatorship, the country went through the world’s media for quite a while. Today Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America. But it is also one of the most beautiful. The warmth of the Nicas, as the Nicaraguans call themselves, and the beauty of the country with its volcanoes, rainforests, the beautiful island of Ometepe in the great Lake Nicaragua and the Mosquito coast on the Caribbean Sea invite every visitor to get to know the country in all its diversity to learn. Among the most beautiful cities in the country are Granada and Léon.

Name of the country República de Nicaragua
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location Country in Central America
National anthem Salve a tí, Nicaragua
National holiday September 15
Population approx. 6.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: Nicaragua Population)
Ethnicities 70% mestizos, 17% whites, 9% blacks, mulattos and zambos, 4% Indians
Religions 93% Catholic; 5% Protestant
Languages Spanish, on the Mosquito Coast, Chibcha, Sumo
Capital Managua with approx. 1.5 million residents
Surface 130,700 km² (comparable to Lower Saxony)
Highest mountain Pico Mogotón with a height of 2,107m
Longest river Río Coca (Segovia) with a length of 750 km
Largest lake Lake Nicaragua with an area of 8,284 km²
International license plate NIC
National currency Cordoba
Time difference to CET – 7 h
International phone code 00505
Mains voltage, frequency 120 volts, 60 hertz, American flat plug
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .ni

Nicaragua: history

First settlements

The first residents of America were Indians and Inuit. According to current knowledge, the American continent was probably settled by the Indians between 30,000 and 8,000 BC. Large population groups moved from Northeast Asia over a land bridge (Beringland) to Alaska. From there, the entire double continent was settled in several waves as far as Tierra del Fuego. The first humans came to Central America about 10,000 years ago.


According to Abbreviationfinder website, the area of what is now Nicaragua was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. In 1522 Gil Gonzáles de ? Vila conquered the country and named it after the Nicarao Indian tribe living on the west coast. The Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) initially settled mainly in the western mountainous region. Francisco Hernández de Córdoba founded the cities of León and Granada in 1524. In 1550 Nicaragua was annexed to the General Capitol of Guatemala. The east of the country remained the habitat of the Misquito Indians, who increasingly came under the influence of Great Britain and successfully opposed Spanish rule. In the 18th century the first demands for independence from the Spanish colonial power were made in the west of the country.

19th and 20th centuries

In 1821 Mexico declared its independence from Spain. Nicaragua joined the new Mexican Empire like the entire General Capitol of Guatemala. After the fall of the Mexican Emperor Agustín I, the provinces separated again from Mexico and founded the Republic of the United Provinces of Central America on July 1, 1823. In 1838 Nicaragua left the Federation.

Because of its location between the Atlantic and Pacific, Nicaragua became increasingly important to the United States of America. Constant fighting between the liberals from León and the conservatives from Granada shaped the country. They promoted the rise of the North American adventurer William Walker, who was elected president of the country. In 1857 he was expelled from Nicaragua. Conservative presidents took turns between 1857 and 1893. Originally coming from the liberal camp, José Santos Zelaya ruled Nicaragua from 1893 to 1909. During this time, he enforced the separation of church and state and centralized control of the entire country. Zelaya operated the modernization of Nicaragua, he promoted the cultivation of coffee, expanded the transport network and reformed the educational system. In 1894 he subjugated the Misquito Indians and incorporated their territory into the state. In 1909, Zelaya’s dictatorial regime was overthrown under pressure from the USA. From then on Nicaragua’s economy and politics were under the influence of the United States of America, e.g. in customs, banking and transport as well as with the signing of the Bryan Chamorro Treaty in 1916, in which the USA secured the right to an interoceanic canal connection.

In 1927, clashes between liberals and conservatives flared up again in the country. Under the guerrilla leader and revolutionary Augusto César Sandino, a workers and peasants faction against the foreign rule of the USA formed. It inflicted heavy defeats on the US rangers stationed in the country. Finally, the USA withdrew their troops in 1932/33. However, Sandino’s supporters did not succeed in disempowering the National Guard, which was trained and supported by the Americans. Some pro-North American-minded dictators were later recruited from it. One of them was Anastasio “Tacho” Somoza García, who overthrew the then government in 1936, took over the presidency and took control of a substantial part of the economy.

The modernization of industry led to considerable economic growth in Nicaragua until the 1970s. At the same time, the social differences in the country increased. In 1977 a coup d’état by the Sandinista liberation movement FSLN failed and the domestic political situation worsened. In connection with repression of social reform movements, the opposition leader Pedro Joaquín Chamorro was murdered on January 10, 1978. A popular uprising broke out in the course of which Somoza’s National Guard bombed towns and villages. In 1979 the civil war, which went down in history as the Nicaraguan Revolution, ended with the overthrow of the then dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. The Sandinista together with other opposition activists took over the government. From 1979 to 1981 a ”

Nicaragua was supported economically by the socialist states. The USA set up a resistance organization against the Sandinista government (“Contras”). The country fell into a severe economic crisis in the mid-1980s from which it has not recovered to this day. In 1990 the candidate of the “Unión Nacional Opositora” Violeta Barrios de Chamorro won the presidential elections. In the period that followed, the new government tried to find a balance between the Contras and the Sandinista. It decided on a comprehensive austerity program to stabilize the economy. The private sector was introduced and the currency devalued, the prices of basic foodstuffs rose, the army and the state apparatus were downsized, social institutions were closed and the health system was privatized. In addition, there was a reversal in the agrarian reform. Nevertheless, the population of Nicaragua still lives in great poverty today, and unemployment is extremely high.

21st century

Although the Sandinista party was able to celebrate considerable success in the local elections in 2000, the FSLN remained the loser of the 2001 elections again. The Liberal Conservative Party (PLC) prevailed with 53% of the vote. The new president was now Enrique Bolaños and began to act against the strong corruption in the country. In the 2006 elections, however, the leftist candidate and former guerrilla leader Ortega was able to prevail against his conservative rival and returned to power after 11/2 decades. The Sandinista are now the strongest party in Nicaragua. Since 2007, Daniel Ortega has been the lawful president of the country after ordinary elections.

Most recently, Ortega hit the headlines when he issued a decree in December 2008 to allow Russian warships to enter Nicaraguan territorial waters. According to the constitution, however, only parliament is able to do this.

Nicaragua Facts