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'''Nicaragua''' ({{IPAc-en|audio=En-us-Nicaragua.ogg|ˌ|n|ɪ|k|ə|ˈ|r|ɑː|ɡ|w|ə|,_|-|ˈ|r|æ|ɡ|-|,_|-|g|j|u|ə}}; {{IPA-es|nikaˈɾaɣwa|lang|ES-pe - Nicaragua.ogg}}), officially the '''Republic of Nicaragua''' ({{Audio-es|República de Nicaragua|ES-pe - República de Nicaragua.ogg}}),<!-- {{IPA-es|reˈpuβlika ðe nikaˈɾaɣwa|}}--> is the largest [[Sovereign state|country]] in the [[Central America]]n [[isthmus]], bordered by [[Honduras]] to the northwest, the [[Caribbean Sea|Caribbean]] to the east, [[Costa Rica]] to the south, and the [[Pacific Ocean]] to the southwest. [[Managua]] is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in [[Central America]], behind [[Tegucigalpa]] and [[Guatemala City]]. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the [[Mosquito Coast]] speak their own languages and English.
Originally inhabited by various indigenous cultures since ancient times, the region was colonizedconquered by the [[Spanish Empire|Spanish]] in the 16th century. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821. The [[Mosquito Coast]] followed a different historical path, being colonized by the English in the 17th century and later coming under British rule. It became an autonomous territory of Nicaragua in 1860 and its northernmost part was transferred to [[Honduras]] in 1960. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, occupation and fiscal crisis, including the [[Nicaraguan Revolution]] of the 1960s and 1970s and the [[Nicaraguan Revolution#Contra War|Contra War]] of the 1980s.
The mixture of cultural traditions has generated substantial diversity in folklore, cuisine, music, and literature, particularly the latter, given the literary contributions of Nicaraguan poets and writers such as [[Rubén Darío]]. Known as the "land of lakes and volcanoes",<ref name="Brierley">{{cite news|last1=Brierley|first1=Jan|title=Sense of wonder: Discover the turbulent past of Central America|url=http://www.express.co.uk/travel/beach/865185/Discover-the-turbulent-past-Central-America-travel|access-date=October 27, 2017|work=Daily Express|date=October 15, 2017|language=en}}</ref><ref name="Wallace">{{cite news|author=Wallace, Will |author2=Wallace, Camilla|title=Traveller's Guide: Nicaragua|url=https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/americas/travellers-guide-nicaragua-1940000.html|access-date=October 27, 2017|work=The Independent|date=April 10, 2010}}</ref> Nicaragua is also home to the second-largest rainforest of the Americas. The biological diversity, warm tropical climate and active volcanoes make Nicaragua an increasingly popular [[tourist destination]].<ref>{{Cite news|last=Dicum|first=G|title=The Rediscovery of Nicaragua|work=Travel Section|publisher=TraveThe New York Times|location=New York|date=2006-12-17|url=http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/travel/17Nicaragua.html?ref=travel|access-date=2010-06-26}}</ref><ref>{{cite web|last=Davis|first=LS|title=Nicaragua: The next Costa Rica?|work=Mother Nature Network|publisher=MNN Holdings, LLC|date=2009-04-22|url=http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/stories/nicaragua-the-next-costa-rica|access-date=2010-06-26}}</ref>
Without women in their parties,<ref name="Newson" />{{rp|123}} the Spanish conquerors took Nahua and Chorotega wives and partners, beginning the multiethnic mix of indigenous and European stock now known as "''[[mestizo]]''", which constitutes the great majority of the population in western Nicaragua.<ref name=LOC1/> Many indigenous people died as a result of new [[infectious disease]]s, compounded by neglect by the Spaniards, who controlled their subsistence.<ref name=EBH/> Furthermore, a large number of other indigenous peoples were captured and transported to Panama and Peru between 1526 and 1540, where they were forced to perform slave labor.<ref name="Brief" />{{rp|193}}<ref name="Newson" />{{rp|104–105}}
In 1610, the [[Momotombo]] volcano erupted, destroying the city of León.<ref name="Geomorph">{{cite book|last=Bergoeing|first=Jean Pierre|title=Geomorphology of Central America: A Syngenetic Perspective|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=TWwZBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA68|date=May 18, 2015|publisher=Elsevier Science|isbn=978-0-12-803185-8|pages=68–69}}</ref> The city was rebuilt northwest of the original,<ref name="Whisnant2000" /><ref name="Geomorph" /> which is now known as the [[León Viejo|ruins of León Viejo]]. During the [[American Revolutionary War]], Central America was subject to conflict between Britain and Spain. [[RoyalBritish Navy]]navy officeradmiral [[Horatio Nelson]] led expeditions toin the [[Battle of San Fernando de Omoa|San Fernadno de Omoa]] in 1779 and on the [[San Juan Expedition (1780)|San Juan River]] in 1780]], the latter of which proved to be ahad temporary success before being abandoned due to an outbreak of disease.
=== Independent Nicaragua from 1821 to 1909 ===
[[File:Political Evolution of Central America and the Caribbean 1830 na.png|thumb|[[Federal Republic of Central America]] and British colony of the [[Mosquito Coast]] in 1830]]
The [[Act of Independence of Central America]] dissolved the [[Captaincy General of Guatemala]] in September 1821, and Nicaragua soon became part of the [[First Mexican Empire]]. After the overthrow of the Mexican monarchy in March 1823, Nicaragua joined the newly-formed [[United Provinces of Central America]] (July 1823), which later{{when?|date=March 2021}} became the [[Federal Republic of Central America]]. Nicaragua definitively became an independent republic in 1838.<ref>{{cite journal|last1= Smith|first1= RS|title= Financing the Central American federation, 1821–1838|journal= The Hispanic American Historical Review|volume= 43|issue= 4|pages= 483–510|year= 1963|doi= 10.2307/2509898|jstor= 2509898}}</ref>
Rivalry between the [[Constitutionalist Liberal Party (Nicaragua) |Liberal]] elite of León and the [[Conservative Party (Nicaragua)| Conservative]] elite of Granada characterized the early years of independence and often degenerated into civil war, particularly during the 1840s and 1850s. [[Managua]] was chosen{{by whom?|date=March 2021}} as the nation's capital in 1852 to allay the rivalry between the two feuding cities.<ref name="Capital">{{cite book|last= Cybriwsky|first= Roman Adrian|title= Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture|url= https://books.google.com/books?id=qb6NAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA177|date= May 23, 2013|publisher= ABC-CLIO|isbn= 978-1-61069-248-9|page= 177}}</ref><ref>{{cite news|title= Managua|url= http://archivo.laprensa.com.ni/archivo/2006/marzo/09/servicios/guiaturistica/|access-date= May 24, 2017|work= La Prensa|date= March 9, 2006|archive-url= https://web.archive.org/web/20131111081208/http://archivo.laprensa.com.ni/archivo/2006/marzo/09/servicios/guiaturistica/|language= es|archive-date= November 11, 2013 | quote = Fue elevada a ciudad en 1846 y salomónicamente declarada capital de la República en 1852, para dirimir el viejo conflicto entre las urbes coloniales de León (occidente) y Granada (oriente) que rivalizaban por ejercer la hegemonía política de Nicaragua.}}</ref> Following the start (1848) of the [[California Gold Rush]], Nicaragua provided a route for travelers from the eastern [[United States of America | United States]] to journey to [[California]] by sea, via the [[San Juan River (Nicaragua) |San Juan River]] and Lake Nicaragua.<ref name="Brief" />{{rp|81}} Invited by the Liberals in 1855 to join their struggle against the Conservatives, the United States adventurer and [[Filibuster (military)|filibuster]] [[William Walker (filibuster) |William Walker]] set himself up as [[President of Nicaragua]] after conducting a farcical election in 1856; his presidency lasted less than a year.<ref name="mined">{{cite web|url= http://www.mined.gob.ni/gobernant4.php|archive-url= https://web.archive.org/web/20121009181920/http://www.mined.gob.ni/gobernant4.php|url-status= dead|archive-date= 9 October 2012|title= Gobernantes de Nicaragua|date= 9 December 2012|publisher= Ministerio de Educación}}</ref> Military forces from Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua itself united to drive Walker out of Nicaragua in 1857,<ref>{{cite book|last= Walker|first= W|title= The War in Nicaragua|publisher= S.H. Goetzel & Company|place= New York|year= 1860|url= https://archive.org/stream/warinnicaragua00walkgoog#page/n6/mode/2up}}</ref><ref>{{cite journal|last= Juda|first= F|title= California Filibusters: A History of their Expeditions into Hispanic America (excerpt)|journal= The Grizzly Bear |volume= XXI|issue= 4|pages= 3–6, 15, 19|year= 1919|url= http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist1/walker.html|access-date= 2011-07-20}}</ref><ref>{{cite book|last= Baker|first= CP|title= Moon Handbooks: Costa Rica|edition= 4th|chapter= The William Walker Saga|page= [https://archive.org/details/costarica00bake_2/page/67 67]|publisher= Avalon Travel Publishing|place= New York|year= 2001|isbn= 978-1-56691-608-0|chapter-url= https://archive.org/details/costarica00bake_2/page/67}}</ref> after which a period of three decades of Conservative rule ensued.
TheGreat [[British Empire]]Britain, which had claimed the [[Mosquito Coast]] as a [[British protectorate|​protectorate]] since 1655, delegated the area to Honduras in 1859 before transferring it to Nicaragua in 1860. The Mosquito Coast remained an [[autonomous area]] until 1894. [[José Santos Zelaya]], President of Nicaragua from 1893 to 1909, negotiated the integration of the Mosquito Coast into Nicaragua. In his honor, the region became "[[Zelaya Department]]".
Throughout the late 19th-century, the United States and several European powers considered various schemes to link the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic by building a [[Nicaragua Canal| canal across Nicaragua]].<ref>
On the Caribbean coast, indigenous languages, [[English-based creole languages|English-based creoles]], and Spanish are spoken. The [[Miskito language]], spoken by the [[Miskito people]] as a first language and some other indigenous and Afro-descendants people as a second, third, or fourth language, is the most commonly spoken indigenous language. The indigenous [[Misumalpan languages]] of Mayangna and Ulwa are spoken by the respective peoples of the same names. Many Miskito, Mayangna, and Ulwa people also speak [[Miskito Coast Creole]], and a large majority also speak Spanish. Fewer than three dozen of nearly 2,000 [[Rama people]] speak their [[Chibchan languages|Chibchan]] [[Rama language|language]] fluently, with nearly all Ramas speaking [[Rama Cay Creole]] and the vast majority speaking Spanish. Linguists have attempted to document and revitalize the language over the past three decades.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.turkulka.net |title= Turkulka|access-date=2015-04-23}}</ref>
The [[Garifuna people]], descendants of indigenous and Afro-descendant people who came to Nicaragua from Honduras in the early twentieth century, have recently attempted to revitalize their [[Arawakan languages|Arawakan]] [[Garifuna language|language]]. The majority speak Miskito Coast Creole as their first language and Spanish as their second. The Creole (also known asor Kriol) people,are descendents​descendants of [[Atlantic slave trade|enslaved Africans]] brought to the [[Mosquito Coast]] alongduring withthelaterBritish colonial period and European, Chinese, Arab, and British West Indian immigrants, and also speak Miskito Coast Creole as their motherfirst tongue,language withand Spanish being primarily spoken as atheir second language.<ref>{{cite news|title=Languages of Nicaragua|url=http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=NI|work=Ethnologue|access-date=2007-05-09}}</ref>
=== Largest cities ===
Nicaragua has no official religion. Catholic bishops are expected to lend their authority to important state occasions, and their pronouncements on national issues are closely followed. They can be called upon to mediate between contending parties at moments of political crisis.<ref name=LOCR>{{cite news|first=G|last=Dennis|title=Nicaragua: Religion|publisher=Library of Congress|url=http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ni0040)|work=Country Studies|access-date=2007-10-30}}</ref> In 1979, Miguel D'Escoto Brockman, a priest who had embraced [[Liberation Theology]], served in the government as foreign minister when the Sandinistas came to power. The largest denomination, and traditionally the religion of the majority, is the [[Roman Catholic Church]]. It came to Nicaragua in the 16th century with the Spanish conquest and remained, until 1939, the [[State religion|established faith]].
The number of practicing Roman Catholics has been declining, while membership of [[evangelical Protestant]] groups and [[The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]] (LDS Church) has been growing rapidly since the 1990s. There is a significant LDS missionary effort in Nicaragua. There are two missions and 95,768 members of the LDS Church (1.54% of the population).<ref>{{cite web|title=Nicaragua – Facts and Statistics|url=https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/nicaragua|website=Mormon Newsroom|access-date=26 May 2017}}</ref> There are also strong [[Anglicanism|Anglican]] and [[Moravian Church|Moravian]] communities on the Caribbean coast in what once constituted the sparsely populated [[Mosquito Coast]], whichcolony. remainedIt inwas theunder British sphere of influence for nearly three centuries. [[Protestantism]] was brought to the [[Mosquito Coast]] mainly by British and German colonists in forms of [[Anglicanism]] and the [[Moravian Church]]. Other kinds of Protestant and other [[Christian denomination]]s were introduced to the rest of Nicaragua during the 19th century.
Popular religion revolves around the saints, who are perceived as intercessors between human beings and God. Most localities, from the capital of Managua to small rural communities, honour [[patron saint]]s, selected from the Roman Catholic calendar, with annual ''fiestas''. In many communities, a rich lore has grown up around the celebrations of patron saints, such as Managua's Saint Dominic (Santo Domingo), honoured in August with two colourful, often riotous, day-long processions through the city. The high point of Nicaragua's religious calendar for the masses is neither Christmas nor Easter, but La Purísima, a week of festivities in early December dedicated to the [[Immaculate Conception]], during which elaborate altars to the [[Mary (mother of Jesus)|Virgin Mary]] are constructed in homes and workplaces.<ref name=LOCR/>
[[Culture of Nicaragua|Nicaraguan culture]] has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by [[Culture of Europe|European culture]] but also including Native American sounds and flavors. Nicaraguan culture can further be defined in several distinct strands. The Pacific coast has strong folklore, music and religious traditions, deeply influenced by [[Iberian Peninsula|Europeans]]. It was colonized by Spain and has a similar culture to other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. The indigenous groups that historically inhabited the Pacific coast have largely been assimilated into the [[mestizo]] culture.
The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua was once a [[British protectorate]], and. English is thestill predominant language in this region and us spoken domestically alongsidealong with Spanish and [[Languages of Nicaragua|indigenous languages]]. Its culture is similar to that of [[BritishCaribbean Westnations Indies|British​that​West​were Indian]]or are British islandspossessions, such as [[Jamaica]], andBelize, the [[Cayman Islands]], etc. Unlike on the west coast, the indigenous Nicaruagianspeoples of the Caribbean coast have maintained distinct identities, and manysome still speak their indigenousnative languages as a first languagelanguages.
=== Music ===
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