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LAND AND PEOPLE
- 69% mestizo (mix of indigenous and Spanish)
- 17% European-descendant
- 9% African-descendant
- 5% indigenous
- 49,998 square miles and contains a variety of climates and terrains.
- three major zones: the Pacific lowlands, the wetter, cooler central highlands, and the Caribbean lowlands.
COLONIZATION, EARLY HISTORY, INDEPENDENCE:
The Pipil people migrated to Nicaragua from central Mexico after 500 BC. At the end of the 15th century, western Nicaragua was inhabited by several indigenous peoples related by culture to the Mesoamerican civilizations of the Aztec and Maya, and by language to the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. Meanwhile, the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua was inhabited by other peoples, mostly Chibcha language groups.
In 1502, Christopher Columbus became the first European known to have reached what is now Nicaragua as he sailed southeast toward the Isthmus of Panama. 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.
Executive branch: Nicaragua is a presidential representative democratic republic, in which the President of Nicaragua is both head of state and head of government. The president and the vice president are elected for a single non-renewable five-year term. The president appoints the Council of Ministers. In January 2014, the National Assembly approved changes to the constitution that scrap presidential term limits.
Legislative branch: The Nicaraguan legislature is made up of 92 deputies, 90 of whom are elected by popular vote on a proportional representation basis from party lists: 20 nationally, and 70 representing the country's departments and autonomous regions. In addition, the President of the Republic who served the immediately previous presidential term is entitled to sit in the Assembly as a deputy, as is the runner-up in the most recent presidential election. The President and the National Assembly serve concurrent five-year terms.
Judiciary Branch: The Supreme Court supervises the judicial system with 16 justices. Supreme Court justices are nominated by the political parties and elected to 5-year terms by the National Assembly.
DEPARTMENTS AND MUNICIPALITIESL:
Nicaragua is divided into 15 departments and 2 autonomous regions.
The 15 departments are divided into 153 municipalities.
- $ 12.557 billion
- $ 2,006 per capita
- Coffee 14.1%
- Beef 13.8%
- Shrimp and lobster 11.4%
- Sugar 4.2%
Remittances account for over 15% of the Nicaraguan Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Close to one billion dollars are sent to the country by Nicaraguans living abroad.
ARMED CONFLICTS SINCE INDEPENDENCE:
The Nicaraguan Revolution encompassed the rising opposition to the Somoza dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, the campaign led by the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to violently oust the dictatorship in 1978-79, the subsequent efforts of the FSLN to govern Nicaragua from 1979 until 1990 and the Contra War which was waged between the FSLN and the Contras from 1981-1990.
The Revolution marked a significant period in Nicaraguan history and revealed the country as one of the major proxy war battlegrounds of the Cold War with the events in the country rising to international attention.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES: