North America: Nicaragua

About Nicaragua

Settled as a colony of Spain in the 1520s, Nicaragua gained its independence in 1821. 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 and again in 1996 saw the Sandinistas defeated. The country has slowly rebuilt its economy during the 1990s, but was hard hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Managua
Population: 4,918,393 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 50% (2000 est.)
Language: Spanish (official)
Date of independence: 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Form of government: republic
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish
Environmental Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; Hurricane damage
Agricultural Products: coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton, rice, corn, tobacco, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products
Imports: machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products, consumer goods
Exports: coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, beef, sugar, bananas; gold
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: US 34.5%, Costa Rica 11.4%, Guatemala 7.3%, Panama 6.9%, Venezuela 5.9%, El Salvador 5.5% (1999)
EXPORTS: US 37.7%, El Salvador 12.5%, Germany 9.8%, Costa Rica 5.1%, Spain 2.5%, France 2.1% (1999)


Nicaragua Headlines

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