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The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century, but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador caused the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. Free elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, saw the Sandinistas defeated, but voting in 2006 announced the return of former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 5,675,356 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Nicaraguan(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Nicaraguan

Official Language(s): Spanish

Major Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Map of Nicaragua

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Republic of Nicaragua

Country Name (short form): Nicaragua

Country Name (local long form): Republica de Nicaragua

Country Name (local short form): Nicaragua

Name of Capital: Managua

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Nicaragua: Costa Rica, Honduras

Land Area: 120254 sq km

Water Area: 9240 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than the state of New York

Total Land Boundry: 1,231 km

Coastline: 910 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

International Phone Code: 505

Currency Code: gold cordoba (NIO)

Internet Country Code: .ni

US Embassy Location: Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur, Managua

US Embassy Mailing Address: P.O. Box 327


Nicaragua flag

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