The Nicaragua portal
Nicaragua (; Spanish:
listen)), officially the Republic of Nicaragua (ES-pe - República de Nicaragua.ogg), is the largest
country in the
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
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. (
Selected 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?
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
- ...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
republic. For administrative purposes it is divided into 15
departments (departamentos) and two self-governing regions (autonomous regions).
(Department capitals in parenthesis)