Information About Nicaragua
Nicaragua is situated in Central America, bordering Costa Rica, Honduras, the Pacific coast, and the Caribbean coast. With a surface of 129,490 km² and an estimated 6 million inhabitants, the Republic of Nicaragua is the biggest country in Central America. Managua was established as the capital in 1852, and is currently home to about 2 million persons living in the metropolitan area. León and Masaya are also major cities, with well over 120,000 inhabitants. The country has two major lakes, Lago de Managua (Xolotlan), and the second largest lake in Latin America, Lago de Nicaragua (Cocibolca). Nicaragua is part of the Ring of Fire. On the Pacific side resides a chain of 19 volcanoes from North to South, 4 of which have erupted in the last 15 years. Nicaragua also has great biodiversity. The country is blessed with more than 70 different ecosystems, including 7 types of forests, ranging from subtropical rainforests to tropical dry forests. Each of these forested regions contains its own unique collection of plants, animals and other species. However much of its biodiversity is in danger of disappearing. Despite the best efforts of the Nicaraguan government to protect its wildlife, poverty, population growth, and climate change all put pressure on the country’s habitats.
The lowlands on the Pacific side typically receive daily rainfall between May and October, and remain very dry between November and April. The Atlantic zone is always considered a wetland, as rainfall occurs throughout the year. Annual precipitation reaches about 6000 millimeters on the Caribbean side, while the Western parts of the country only reaches up to 1800 millimeters per year. Temperatures range between 21°C to 36°C (70°F to 100°F) in the lowlands and can drop down to 12°C (52°F) in more elevated areas of the central highlands. May to November is also hurricane season in Nicaragua, with most of the strong hurricanes occurring from September and October (often on the East coast).?
The History of Nicaragua:
During the pre-Columbian era, Nicaragua was populated by various indigenous tribes primarily from the central Mexican region. Older tracks from tribes from the south of the continent have also been discovered. Idols, petroglyphs and pottery bear witness to the time before the Spaniards arrived in Latin America, and can still be found all over the country. In 1502, Christopher Columbus landed on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, and by 1524, Granada and León were founded by the Spanish. Leon later was destroyed by the eruption of the Momotombo volcano, and was rebuilt to the northwest of its former location. Granada faced a permanent threat of pirates that would enter Lake Nicaragua from the Atlantic side through Río San Juan. On September 15, 1821, Nicaragua declared its independence and joined the First Mexican Empire and later the Federal Republic of Central America. In 1838, Nicaragua obtained its complete independence as the Republic of Nicaragua. In the subsequent years, the people of Nicaragua experienced various attempts of invasions from North America, as the US government had planned to build a second canal through the country, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. National hero Augusto César Sandino led the battle against Nicaraguan Conservatives and US forces with his guerrilla army, from the late 1920's until 1933. The US forces left Nicaragua on February 21, 1934 and appointed Anastasio Somoza García as president. Somoza subsequently assassinated Sandino, and established a dictatorship in Nicaragua, which kept his family in power for three generations. The Somozas were supported by the US government, but were overthrown by the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional (Sandinista Front of National Liberation or FSLN) guerilla movement on July 19, 1979. The FSLN was founded in 1963 by Carlos Fonseca Amador, who studied the ideology of General Augusto Sandino. During the Sandinista revolution of the 1980s, former Somoza soldiers, now known as the Contra troops, were financed by the US Government through operations like the Iran-Contra Affair, and invaded Nicaragua from the north. The revolution ended in 1989 with free elections won by the liberal party, which handed power back to the Sandinistas in 1990. In the 2006 elections, the FSLN came back to power and is still governing the country today.
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas. The national currency is the Cordoba, although major transactions are usually managed in US dollars. Nicaragua's largest export goods include coffee, tobacco, cacao, and beef. Beans, rice, corn, and plantains are staples of Nicaragua, and thus are some of the most important crops planted and traded inside the country. Nicaragua’s major industries are fishing, mining and wood cutting. In recent years, tourism has grown tremendously, and is now a major driver of the economy as well. Both Nicaragua’s poverty and extreme poverty rate remain very high, with the wealth of the country distributed amongst a small percentage of the population. Though conditions are slowly improving, a major part of the population survives only on remittance sent by family members that live and work in other countries. The government has started useful social programs in rural areas and has started investing in the infrastructure of transportation, education, and the energy sector. Foreign investments are growing, tourism is growing, and new trade agreements with countries have been signed in the last few years. However, there is much work to be done, and it will still be a long way to see a significant change in Nicaragua.