Nicaragua is a country located in Central America with coordinates 13 00 N, 85 00 W. It is bordered by Honduras to the North and Costa Rica to the South with the Pacific Ocean along its West Coast and the Caribbean Sea on its East Coast. The capital of Nicaragua is Managua and is located near Lago de Managua on the West side of the country. The total area of the country is 81,008.16 square miles (130,370 square kilometers with 74,558.33 square miles (119,990 square kilometers) of that being land and 6,449.83 square miles (10,380 square kilometers) being water. The coastline of Nicaragua totals 565.45 miles (910 kilometers).
Nicaragua's terrain is made up of the Caribbean coastal plains in the East, the central mountains in the interior, and on the West the Pacific coastal plain which is interrupted throughout by volcanoes. The lowlands of Nicaragua are tropical in climate and the highlands are cooler in climate. Natural hazards in Nicaragua include volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and landslides. 42.2% of the land is used for agricultural, 25.3% is forest, and 32.5% other.
The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish and is spoken by the vast majority of the population at 95.3%. Other languages spoken include Miskito at 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean at 2%, and other languages at 0.5%. Ethnic groups of Nicaragua listed in order of percent of the population are Mestizo 69%, white 17%, black 9%, and Amerindian 5%. Religions listed by percent are Roman Catholic 51.6%, Evangelical 33.9%, other 1.5%, unspecified 12.9%, and none 0.2%.
- Francisco Hernández de Córdoba founded the cities Granada and León by 1524 he had established permanent colonization.
- After Nicaragua seceded from the federation in 1838, the rivalry between León which identified with the Liberal Party, and Granada the center of the Conservative party continued.
- Conservatives ruled from 1857 until 1893, they brought relative peace, but little democracy.
- As a compromise between Granada and León, Managua was made the capital in 1857.
- Samoza rigged an election and became president January 1, 1937.
- Samoza ruled the country for the next two decades either as the president or the power behind puppet presidents.
- On September 21, 1956 a day after Samoza was nominated for another term, a Liberal poet named Rigoberto López Pérez shot and killed him.
- Luis Somoza Debayle was given the presidency after his father’s death. He cooperated with the United States in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.
- The Sandinista revolution represented a hopeful change toward democratization.
- Democratization was halted by two key factors: first, the Sandinista leaders began restricting certain freedoms and confiscating property. Second, the United States interpreted the Sandinista revolution as a possible shift toward communism and suspended economic aid to Nicaragua in the early 1980s.
- The Sandinista government established close relations with Cuba and other Soviet-bloc countries.
- In response to the actions of the Sandinista government Ronald Reagan authorized funds for the recruiting, training, and arming of Nicaraguan counterrevolutionaries.
- In 1987 after efforts to end the civil war and bring democracy, a regional peace agreement was signed by the Sandinista government and the Contras.
- In 1990 general elections were held under careful international observation. Violeta Barrios de Chamorro won and reversed many Sandinista policies.