Nicaragua is a Central American country. Bathed by the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, it borders Honduras to the north, and Costa Rica to the south. It has an area of 129 494 km2. The most important cities are Managua, the capital, with 1 186 600 residents (2004), León (170 100 residents), Chinandega (133 700 residents), Masaya (122 200 residents), Granada (98 600 residents) and Estelí (98 200 residents).
The climate is tropical with a dry season between January and May and a wet season between May and December.
Nicaragua has an economy based on agriculture, industry and trade. The dominant crops are sugar cane, corn, rice, banana, sorghum, beans, orange, manioc, coffee, pineapple, sesame and cotton. The industry covers food products, beverages, tobacco, construction materials and rubber products. The country’s natural resources include large reserves of gold, copper and silver. Exports are made up of coffee, cotton, bananas and sugar. The increase in exports of products from agriculture naturally reflects on plant cover, particularly the forest, which in the 1980s saw its extension reduced by 2.1% per year. The imported products are foodstuffs, fuels and equipment for industry and transport.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 0.8.
The population was, in 2006, 5 570 129 residents, which corresponded to a density of approximately 42.2 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 24.51% and 4.45%. Average life expectancy is 70.63 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.643 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.636 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 7 269 000 residents. The main ethnicities are mestizo (69%), white (17%) and black (9%). The religion with the greatest expression is Catholic (77%), followed by Protestant (15%). The official language is Castilian.
Christopher Columbus arrived in the territory in 1502 and, some time later, the cities of León and Granada were established. During the colonial period, an intense rivalry between the two cities developed. León was the provincial capital and developed as a liberal and intellectual center, while Granada developed like an agricultural center. The two cities continued hostilities until 1826, when the country became a member of the United Provinces of Central America. In 1838, the country gained independence and abandoned the federation. In the century that followed, Nicaragua’s politics were dominated by power struggles between the liberals of León and the conservatives of Granada. For this reason, in a commitment signed in 1857, the capital became Managua. Conservatives ruled during the second half of the 19th century, but in 1893 the Liberals won the presidency and started a persecution of the former executive. They remained in power until 1909, when US pressure brought conservatives back to power. To support the new Government, some marines to the territory. In 1925 the military detachment withdrew and the struggle between liberals and conservatives gave rise to a civil war. The marines were sent back to the country in order to end the conflict, which happened in 1927. For Nicaragua democracy and rights, please check localbusinessexplorer.
In 1928 and 1932, the USA oversaw the elections that elected two liberal presidents. American troops left the country in 1933, after training the Nicaraguan National Guard in order to maintain internal order. The following year, the head of the National Guard, Anastasio Somoza García, instigated the assassination of the liberal rebel leader, César Augusto Sandino. In 1936 Somoza won the presidential election and, for twenty years, ruled the country with an iron fist. However, Sandino’s followers continued to form guerrillas. The president was assassinated in 1956 and was replaced by his son, Luís Somoza. In 1962 the guerrilla formed the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), with the aim of making a revolution and removing the Somoza from power. A few years later, Luis Somoza was replaced by his brother.
For forty years the Somoza family remained at the head of a dictatorial regime, supporting their own commercial interests and increasing their personal fortunes. In 1979, after much violence, dictator Somoza was forced to go into exile in Paraguay, where he was eventually murdered. FSLN established a provisional national reconstruction board, led by Daniel Ortega Saavedra, who published the guarantee of civil rights and defended the creation of a Council of State, an Assembly and a new Constitution. In 1989 an electoral council was formed to prepare for the 1990 elections. After the victory of Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, of the National Opposition Union (UNO), the Sandinista rebels resumed the armed struggle. Several protests followed against rising inflation, unemployment and the widespread economic crisis.
The 1996 and 2001 elections continued along the same lines, always defeating the Sandinistas.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch greatly shook the country’s economy, which had recovered significantly during the 1990s.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Nicaragua, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Nicaragua. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Nicaragua
View a collection of country, political, and shaded relief maps of Nicaragua, bordering the Caribbean Sea, and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica, and Honduras.
MSN Encarta Maps – Nicaragua
Features a well-rendered map of the country, with emphasis on detailing the country’s landscapes and pinpointing key cities and towns.
Nicaragua – Expedia Map
Zoom in and out, print, save, and email this detailed graphical map of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua – Falling Rain Genomics
View satellite image maps, metrological readings and geographic coordinates for more than 4,000 towns and cities in Nicaragua.
Nicaragua – Infoplease Map
View a clear, close-up map of the country with key localities dotted throughtout, plus river systems, land features and bordering countries.
Nicaragua – Major Volcanoes of Nicaragua
US Geological Survey furnishes the locations of volcanoes throughout this Central American country. Includes related articles.
Nicaragua – MapQuest
Color map from this popular map resource focuses on travel. Easily locate key cities and towns, river systems and mountain ranges.
Nicaragua – MyTravelGuide.com Map
Small, black and white political map, often used in newspaper reports. Locate key cities and land features.
Nicaragua – National Geographic Map Machine
See a satellite-enhanced map of Central America’s largest country. Peruse features such as zooming and printing.