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Introduction to Nicaragua
- Capital: Managua
- Official Language: Spanish
- Currency: Nicaraguan córdoba
- Pre-Colonial Period: The region was inhabited by indigenous tribes like the Miskito, Sumo, and Rama.
- Colonization: Discovered by Europeans in 1502, Nicaragua became a Spanish colony and saw significant cultural influence.
- Independence: Declared independence from Spain in 1821 and subsequently joined the United Provinces of Central America. Became an independent republic in 1838.
- Sandinista Era: The Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1979, leading to significant political and social changes.
Culture & Traditions
- Festivals: Nicaragua is known for its colorful festivals, most notably the 'La Purísima' and 'Las Griterías', celebrating the Virgin Mary.
- Cuisine: Popular dishes include gallo pinto, nacatamales, and vigoron. Beverages such as Flor de Caña rum and pinolillo are also notable.
- Music and Dance: Marimba and Palo de Mayo are some of the traditional musical expressions. The country has a rich dance tradition with dances like 'El Güegüense'.
Geography & Environment
- Lake Nicaragua: One of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, home to the only freshwater sharks.
- Ometepe Island: An island in Lake Nicaragua formed by two volcanoes.
- Rainforests: Indio Maíz Biological Reserve is one of Central America's primary rainforest reserves.
- Volcanoes: Nicaragua is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, with several active volcanoes like Masaya and Concepción.
- Rubén Darío: A preeminent poet who initiated the Spanish-American literary movement known as Modernismo.
- Dennis Martínez: A Nicaraguan former professional baseball pitcher. Nicknamed "El Presidente".
- Luis Enrique: A Nicaraguan-American singer-songwriter and composer. He is known as "El Príncipe de la Salsa".
- Economic Overview: Predominantly an agricultural country, known for its coffee, beef, and tobacco production.
- Tourist Attractions: Colonial cities like Granada and León, surf spots along the Pacific coast, and eco-tourism opportunities.
Recommended Readings & Film
- "The Country Under My Skin" by Gioconda Belli
- "Nicaragua: Living in the Shadow of the Eagle" by Thomas W. Walker
- "The Jaguar Smile" by Salman Rushdie
- "Alsino and the Condor" (1982)
- "The Dawn" (2018)