Nicaragua



Official Country Name
Nicaragua

Nicaragua Overview
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.

Nicaragua Economy
Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has low per capita income and widespread underemployment. Distribution of income is one of the most unequal on the globe. While the country has progressed toward macroeconomic stability in the past few years, GDP annual growth has been far too low to meet the country's needs, forcing the country to rely on international economic assistance to meet fiscal and debt financing obligations. Nicaragua qualified in early 2004 for some $4.5 billion in foreign debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and in November 2006 obtained over $800 million in debt relief from the Inter-American Development Bank. In October 2005, Nicaragua ratified the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which will provide an opportunity for Nicaragua to attract investment, create jobs, and deepen economic development. Energy shortages, however, are a serious bottleneck to growth.

Nicaragua Location
Nicaragua is located in Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Costa Rica and Honduras

Region
Nicaragua is located in Central America

Nicaragua Population
Nicaragua has population of 5,570,129 (July 2006 est.)

Nicaragua Climate
Nicaragua has tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands

Nicaragua Terrain
extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes

Nicaragua Natural Resources
gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish

Ethnic Groups in Nicaragua
Nicaragua has the following ethnic groups - mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%

Nicaragua Religions
Roman Catholic 72.9%, Evangelical 15.1%, Moravian 1.5%, Episcopal 0.1%, other 1.9%, none 8.5% (1995 census)

Nicaragua Languages
Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census) note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast

Nicaragua Capital
Nicaragua capital is Managua

Nicaragua Currency
Nicaragua currency is gold cordoba

Map of Nicaragua