Bluefields, South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region
Historic flag of the British Protectorate
of the Mosquito Coast. Bluefields was the capital of the protectorate.
The city was named after Abraham Blauvelt
, a Dutch
, privateer, and explorer of Central America
and the western Caribbean
It has a population of 54,532 (2019 estimate)
and its inhabitants are mostly Mestizo
. Minority groups include Afro-descendant
Creoles and indigenous Miskitu
, as well as smaller communities of Garifuna
, White People
, Mayangnas, Ulwas
, and Ramas
; that is the reason why English
is the most spoken language in the city's urban area. Bluefields is the chief Caribbean port
, from which hardwood
are exported. Bluefields was a rendezvous
for English and Dutch buccaneers
in the 16th and 17th century and became capital of the English protectorate
over the Mosquito Coast
The origin of the city of Bluefields is connected with the presence of European
pirates on the Nicaraguan
Caribbean coast, subjects of powers at the time hostile to Spain
. These pirates used the Escondido River to rest, to repair damages and to be provisioned. By then, the territory of the present municipality was populated by the native towns of Kukra and Branch. In 1602 one of these soldiers of fortune chose the bay of Bluefields as his center of operations due to its tactical advantages, a Dutchman
, and from him originates the name of the municipality.
Black Africans first appeared in the Caribbean coast in 1641, when a Portuguese
ship that transported slaves
wrecked in the Miskito Cays. From the original settlement the bay began to be populated; the English
subjects burst in 1633 and from 1666 they were already organized into colonies, and by 1705 there were authorities established. In 1730 the Kingdom of Mosquitia
came to depend on the British government of Jamaica
. For this, an alliance with the Miskito people
was decisive, and the British provided them with armaments that allowed them to subdue the other ethnic groups of the Caribbean coast—the Afro-descendant
Creoles and the indigenous Mayangnas, Ulwas
, and Ramas
In 1740 the Miskitos yielded to British sovereignty
over the territory, and in 1744 a transfer of British colonists was organized from Jamaica to the Mosquito Coast
; they brought along with them black slaves. French
citizens were also installed. The area was a British Protectorate
until 1796, when Britain recognized the sovereignty of Spain on the Mosquito Coast; the British subjects also abandoned the islands, but the Spaniards did not take firm positions in them.
With the independence of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, the area of the Mosquito Coast became part of Gran Colombia until its dissolution in 1831. Thereafter it became part of the Republic of New Granada, now Colombia, until, through the Esguerra-Bárcenas Treaty
, the Colombian state formally ceded the territory to Nicaragua.
The Moravian Church
was installed in 1847, and in 1860 the Miskito Reserve was created in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua
, by an agreement between the British and American governments in which Nicaragua as a country did not have part, and the British crown intervened again, putting it under its protection. The city of Bluefields was declared capital of that Reserve.
The plan of “Europeanization” of the natives was completed by the 1880s, when British and Americans expanded the production of bananas and wood, creating an enclave economy
; by the 1880 Bluefields was already a city of cosmopolitan
character, with an intense commercial activity.
also brought a marked process of social differentiation, by which the races and ethnic groups
were distributed spatially and in terms of work: the white population represented the interests of the foreign businesses; those of mixed race worked as artisans
and in working-class occupations; the darker-skinned Creoles had their niche in physical work, and the native population were employed as servants and for other smaller works. In 1894, the government of Nicaragua incorporated the Miskito Reserve into the national territory, extinguishing the Miskito monarchy
, and on October 11, 1903, Bluefields was proclaimed capital of the Department of Zelaya.
In recent years, however, due to US Coast Guard patrols attempting to intercept Colombian drug smugglers, cocaine (often referred to locally as "white lobster") has become an important part of the local economy. When threatened with potential boarding by US Coast Guard ships, cocaine smugglers try to dispose of their illegal cargo by throwing it overboard, simultaneously lightening their load for a faster escape and eliminating the evidence in case of capture. A percentage of the cocaine bales used to be carried by ocean currents into the lagoon around Bluefields. Residents may find the bales washed up on the beach or seek them by boat in the lagoon or at sea. In recent years this is not that common any more due to stricter legislation.
Bluefields remains a deeply impoverished city with extremely high rates of unemployment.
According to Köppen climate classification
, Bluefields features a trade-wind tropical rainforest climate
). There is a drier period from February to April, but the trade winds
ensure that unlike the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, rain still falls frequently during this period. For the rest of the year when tropical low pressure dominates rainfall is extremely heavy, helped by the coast being shaped in such a manner as to intercept winds from the south as prevail during the northern summer.
The city is located beside the eponymous bay; consisting of 17 neighborhoods including the port of El Bluff
, located on a peninsula of the same name. Due to gradual erosion, the peninsula is becoming a true island that closes the Bay of Bluefields on the east side. El Bluff has an extension of 1.29 km² and it is about 8 km from Bluefields.
Urban Bluefields street scene
Bluefields rural waterfront homes
Bluefields has several municipal headquarters and rural communities including:
Urban Level: Santa Rosa, Central, San Mateo, Pointeen, Fátima, Tres Cruces, Ricardo Morales, Old Bank, San Pedro, Teodoro Martínez, 19 de Julio, Pancasán, Punta Fría, New York, Beholden, Canal, Loma Fresca.
Rural Level: Cuenca Río Escondido, Cuenca Río Maíz, San Nicolás, La Fonseca, Rama Cay, San Luís, Caño Frijol, Torsuani, Long Beach, Dalzuno, Cuenca Río Indio, Río Maíz, Guana Creek, Nueva Chontales, Neysi Ríos, La Palma, Sub-Cuenca Mahagony, Krisinbila, Sub-Cuenca Caño Negro, Río Kama, El Bluff, Las Mercedes, Monkey Point, El Corozo, Cuenca Punta Gorda, Caño Dalzuno, Haulover, Villa Hermosa, San Ramón, Río Cama (El Cilicio), San Brown, La Virgen, San Mariano, La Pichinga, Musulaine, Caño Blanco, Aurora (San Francisco), Kukra River (Delirio), Barra Punta Gorda, Kukra River.
Transportation and infrastructure
Visitors usually either fly in to Bluefields Airport
or take a bus from Managua
and other cities or take a Panga
down the Rio Escondido
from the city of El Rama
, which itself is accessible from Managua by bus.
In the town, taxis are readily available at a fixed price of 14 cordobas per person (2020) and work on a shared basis. The municipal wharf is the home of commercial boat traffic to Corn Island, LaBarra and many other locations which are only accessible by boat. Car ownership is very limited in Bluefields.
The municipal government does not provide all necessary services, so additional services related to water, energy, and sanitation are provided by non-governmental organization BlueEnergy
- ^ Citypopulation.de Population of departments and municipalities in Nicaragua
- ^ Leonardi, Richard (2001). Nicaragua Handbook: The Travel Guide. Footprint Travel Guides. p. 248. ISBN 1-903471-14-1.
- ^ Citypopulation.de Population of cities in Nicaragua
- ^ "Climatological Normals of Bluefields, Nicaragua". Hong Kong Observatory. Archived from the original on 2015-07-02. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- ^ bicu.edu.ni/
- ^ "BNamericas - Nicaragua completes Bluefields-Nueva Guinea ..." BNamericas.com. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
- ^ Burden, W. Douglas (1956). Look to the Wilderness. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 197–245.
Last edited on 11 April 2021, at 04:26
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.