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name is a combination of two words; the first part being named after an indigenous
leader, Nicarao, who ruled in the early 1500s on the shores of what is today known
as Lake Nicaragua. The last part of the name is the Spanish word for water, agua,
perhaps referring to the nearby lake.
Nicaragua is fairly mountainous and elevated and this
has actually encouraged settlement and population growth in the country. Along the
Pacific Ocean coast the elevation provides cooler weather, great water sources,
and fairly fertile lands. Much of the rest of the country is covered in forests
or mountains, making life limited in these regions.
The Spanish arrived to Nicaragua
from the west, where the land is more accessible and quickly the cultures on the
land were forever changed. Many of the indigenous people died from diseases or from
wars and many others were enslaved to work for the Spanish.
The flag of Nicaragua is based on
the flag of the former Federal Republic of Central America. The blue strips represent
the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, while the white band symbolizes the lands of
Central America between these two bodies of water. In the middle of Nicaragua's
flag is their coat of arms, which includes the words Republica de Nicaragua
and America Central, which are simply the translated from the Spanish as
name of the country and its location, Central America, respectively.
Name: Republic of Nicaragua
Independence: September 15, 1821
Population: 5,788,531 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Mestizo, European, & Others
Most of the Spanish settled in the western part of the
region maintained a strong Spanish culture, however others intermarried the locals,
creating the country's majority today, the "mestizos." This mix of
people resulted in Spanish being the primarily language of communication and most
people converting to Catholicism. However, people on both sides of this group maintained
traditional dress, languages, and cultures as nearly 20% of Nicaragua's population
is entirely European descent and a smaller percentage
is entirely descended from indigenous groups. The Spanish also brought in
Africans to serve as slaves, but this population remains very small and
most of these people later intermarried the local population.
The people of Nicaragua today live much as they have
in the past as agriculture is the dominant form of the economy. The people tend
to live in these agricultural zones or in the cities in the country's west.
Many aspects of Spanish culture remain ever present as
less noticeable aspects of the indigenous people also survive, most commonly in
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