| GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua / República de Nicaragua 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.
Paleo-Americans first inhabited what is now known as Nicaragua as far back as 12,000 BC. At the end of the 15th century, western Nicaragua was inhabited by several different indigenous peoples related by culture to the Mesoamerican civilizations of the Aztec and Maya. In 1502, on his fourth voyage, Christopher Columbus became the first European known to have reached what is now Nicaragua. The first Spanish permanent settlements were founded in 1524. The Captaincy General of Guatemala was dissolved in September 1821 with the Act of Independence of Central America, and Nicaragua soon became part of the First Mexican Empire. After the monarchy of the First Mexican Empire was overthrown in 1823, Nicaragua joined the newly formed United Provinces of Central America, which was later renamed as the Federal Republic of Central America. Nicaragua finally became an independent republic in 1838. Great Britain, which had claimed the Mosquito Coast as a protectorate since 1655, delegated the area to Honduras in 1859 before transferring it to Nicaragua in 1860. The Mosquito Coast remained an autonomous area until 1894. José Santos Zelaya, President of Nicaragua from 1893 to 1909, negotiated the annexation of the Mosquito Coast to the rest of Nicaragua. In his honour, the region was named "Zelaya Department".
Throughout the late 19th century, the United States and several European powers considered a scheme to build a canal across Nicaragua, linking the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic.
Nicaragua occupies a
landmass of 130,967 km2. Nicaragua has three distinct
geographical regions: The Pacific lowlands – fertile valleys which the
Spanish colonists settled, the Amerrisque Mountains (North-central
highlands), and the Mosquito Coast (Atlantic lowlands/Caribbean lowlands).