Nicaragua 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. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a civil war that brought the Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979.
Capital of Nicaragua
Currency Cordoba, exchange rate:
1 US$ = 22.72 Cordoba, C$ (1 January 2012).
15 departments: Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas. 2 autonomous regions: Atlantico Norte, Atlantico Sur.
5.7 millions growth rate 2.2% (2007 est.). Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian / white) 69%, white 17%, black 9%, Amerindian 5%.
Spanish 97.5% (official), English- and Amerindian-speaking minorities on Atlantic coast.
Roman Catholic 73%, Evangelical 15%, other 3.5%, none 8.5%.
Tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands. Rainy season from June to October.
129,494 sq. km. Extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains, narrow pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes.
January 1 - New Years Day.
March/April - Holy Saturday and Good Friday.
May 1 - Labor Day.
July 19 - Sandinist Revolution Day.
August 1 - Battle of San Jacinto.
September 15 - Independence Day (1821 from Spain).
December 8 - Virgin Mary Day.
December 25 - Christmas Day.
Gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish.
Food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles, clothing, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood.
Coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products; shrimp, lobsters.
US$ 17.1 billion, real growth rate 3.7%, per capita US$ 3,100 (2006 est.).
US$ 2 billion (f.o.b., 2006 est.). Coffee, beef, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, sugar, gold, peanuts.