Previous
Profile
Next
Profile

Nicaragua

Population: 5 848 641

GDP: 11 260 000 000.00 $

Description

 

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. After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel Ortega Saavedra was elected president in 2006 and reelected in 2011. The 2008 municipal elections, 2010 regional elections, 2011 presidential elections, 2012 municipal elections, and 2013 regional elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions have been weakened under the Ortega administration.

Population

 

Population: 5,848,641 (2014).

 

Nationality: noun: Nicaraguan(s), adjective: Nicaraguan.

 

Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%.

 

Languages: Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%. English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast.

 

Religions: Roman Catholic 58.5%, Protestant 23.2% (Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%), Jehovah's Witnesses 0.9%, other 1.6%, none 15.7%.

GDP

 

GDP: $ 11 260 000 000.00 (2013).

Military Organization

 

National Army of Nicaragua (Ejercito Nacional de Nicaragua, ENN; includes Navy, Air Force).

Conflicts and Disputes

 

The 1992 (International Court of Justice) ICJ ruling for El Salvador and Honduras advised a tripartite resolution to establish a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca, which considers Honduran access to the Pacific; Nicaragua and Costa Rica regularly file border dispute cases over the delimitations of the San Juan River and the northern tip of Calero Island to the ICJ; in 2009, the ICJ ruled that Costa Rican vessels carrying out police activities could not use the river, but official Costa Rican vessels providing essential services to riverside inhabitants and Costa Rican tourists could travel freely on the river; in 2011, the ICJ provisionally ruled that both countries must remove personnel from the disputed area; in 2013, the ICJ rejected Nicaragua's 2012 suit to halt Costa Rica's construction of a highway paralleling the river on the grounds of irreparable environmental damage; in 2013, the ICJ, regarding the disputed territory, ordered that Nicaragua should refrain from dredging or canal construction and refill and repair damage caused by trenches connecting the river to the Caribbean and upheld its 2010 ruling that Nicaragua must remove all personnel; in early 2014, Costa Rica brought Nicaragua to the ICJ over offshore oil concessions in the disputed region.

 

Nicaragua is transshipment point for cocaine destined for the US and transshipment point for arms-for-drugs dealing.

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Managua

 

Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras. Largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua.

 

Geographic coordinates:

13 00 N, 85 00 W

 

Area:

total: 130,370 sq km

land: 119,990 sq km

water: 10,380 sq km

 

Land boundaries:

total: 1,231 km

border countries: Costa Rica 309 km, Honduras 922 km.

 

Coastline: 910 km.

 

Natural resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish.