Nicaragua

Map

Nicaragua Terrain: extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes;

Natural Resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish;

Natural Hazards: destructive earthquakes; volcanoes; landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes

volcanism: significant volcanic activity; Cerro Negro (elev. 728 m), which last erupted in 1999, is one of Nicaragua’s most active volcanoes; its lava flows and ash have been known to cause significant damage to farmland and buildings; other historically active volcanoes include Concepcion, Cosiguina, Las Pilas, Masaya, Momotombo, San Cristobal, and Telica;

Population: 5,788,531 (July 2013 est.)

Factbook

Quick Facts About Nicaragua

Population

5,995,928 (July 2010 est.)

Age Structure

0-14 years: 33.1% (male 1,009,674/female 972,146)
15-64 years: 63.6% (male 1,901,313/female 1,909,649)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 88,957/female 114,189) (2010 est.)

Religions

Roman Catholic 58.5%, Evangelical 21.6%, Moravian 1.6%, Jehovah”s Witness 0.9%, other 1.7%, none 15.7% (2005 census)

Languages

Spanish 97.5% (official), Miskito 1.7%, other 0.8% (1995 census)
note: English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast

Internet Users

185,000 (2008)

Country Name

conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua
conventional short form: Nicaragua
local long form: Republica de Nicaragua
local short form: Nicaragua

Government Type

republic

Capital

name: Managua
geographic coordinates: 12 09 N, 86 17 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Military Branches

National Army of Nicaragua (ENN; includes Navy, Air Force) (2008)

Dependency Status

*

Background

The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country 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 in subsequent decades. 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, 1996, and 2001, saw the Sandinistas defeated, but voting in 2006 announced the return of former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra. The 2008 municipal elections were characterized by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua”s infrastructure and economy – hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 – are slowly being rebuilt, but democratic institutions face new challenges under the ORTEGA administration.

Area – Comparative

slightly smaller than New York state

Area

total: 130,370 sq km
land: 119,990 sq km
water: 10,380 sq km

Terrain

extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes

Climate

tropical in lowlands, cooler in highlands

Natural Hazards

destructive earthquakes; volcanoes; landslides; extremely susceptible to hurricanes