Background: Started as a colony of Spain in 1520, the country gained independence in 1821. Violent resistance to government action and corruption by 1978 engulfed the entire society and led to a short civil war, which resulted in 1979 came the Marxist Sandinista partisans came to power. Nicaraguan aid to left-wing rebels in El Salvador led the US to support anti-Sandinista guerrillas throughout most of the 1980s. The Sandinistas were defeated in free elections in 1990 and again in 1996. The country slowly recovered its economy during the 1990s, but in 1998 it suffered significant damage from Hurricane Mitch.
Location: Central America, Caribbean coast and Pacific coast between Costa Rica and Honduras. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Nicaragua Geography.
Geographic coordinates: 13° 00′ N. latitude, 85° 00′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 129,494 km2; land surface area: 120,254 km2; water surface area: 9,240 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than New York State.
Land borders: total: 1,231 km; with neighboring states: with Costa Rica 309 km, with Honduras 922 km.
Coastline: 910 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: natural extent; territorial waters: 200 nautical miles.
Climate: Tropical in the lowlands, cooler in the uplands.
Terrain: vast lowlands along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, turning into mountains in the center of the country; the narrow coastal lowland on the Pacific coast is punctuated by volcanoes.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Mogoton 2,438 m.
Natural resources: gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, timber, fish.
Land use: arable land: 9%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 46%; forests and plantations: 27%; others: 17% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 880 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: destructive earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, sometimes strong hurricanes occur.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; damage from Hurricane Mitch.
International environmental agreements: member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Environmental change.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 4,918,393 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 38.98% (male 976,087; female 941,141); 15 to 64 years old: 58.08% (male 1,418,555; female 1,438,096); over 65: 2.94% (male 62,963; female 81,551) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 2.15% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 27.64 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 4.82 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -1.33 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female;. under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.99 male/female; over 65: 0.77 male/female; for the general population: 1 male/female. (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 33.66 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 69.05 years; men: 67.1 years; women: 71.11 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 3.18 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adult population infected with HIV: 0.2% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 4,900 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 360 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Nicaraguan; adjective: Nicaraguan.
Ethnic groups: mestizos (descendants of Indians and whites) 69%, whites 17%, blacks 9%, Indians 5%.
Believers: Catholics 85%, Protestants.
Languages): Spanish (official); note: English and indigenous languages are spoken along the Atlantic coast.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 65.7%; men: 64.6%; women: 66.6% (1995 est.).
conventional long form: Republic of Nicaragua;
conventional short form: Nicaragua; local long form: Republica de Nicaragua; local short form: Nicaragua
State structure: republic.
Administrative divisions: 15 departments, 2 autonomous regions*: Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*, Boaco, Granada, Carazo, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nuevo Segovia, Rivas, Rio San -Juan, Jinotega, Chinandega, Chonta forest, Estepi.
Independence: September 15, 1821 (until 1821 – a colony of Spain).
National holiday: Independence Day, September 15 (1821).
Constitution: adopted January 9, 1987, amended in 1995 and 2000
Legal system: civil law system; The Supreme Court may review administrative acts.
Suffrage: from 16 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (since 10 January 1997); Vice President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since January 10, 1997); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (since 10 January 1997); Vice President Enrique BOLANOS Geyer (since January 10, 1997); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
Government: the council of ministers is appointed by the president; elections: president and vice president are elected on the same list by popular vote for 5 years; elections last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held October 2001); note – in July 1995, the term of office of the president was changed to five years; election results: Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (Liberal Alliance – ruling bloc, includes PLC, PALI, PLIUN, PUCA) 51.03%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 37.75%, Guillermo OCOPHO (Guillermo OSORNO) ( PCCN) 4.10%, Noel VIDAURRE (PCN) 2.26%, Benjamin LANZAS (PRONAL) 0.53%, others (18 candidates) 4.33%.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (93 seats; members are elected by proportional representation for five years); elections: elections last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held 4 November 2001); election results: distribution of votes between parties: Liberal Alliance (PLC, PALI, PLIUN, PUCA) 46.03%, FSLN 36.55%, PCCN 3.73%, PCN 2.12%, MRS 1.33%; seat distribution among parties: Liberal Alliance 42, FSLN 36, PCCN 4, PCN 3, PRONAL 2, MRS 1, PRN 1, PNC1.PLI 1, AU 1.UNO-96 1.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, 16 judges elected at 7 years by the National Assembly.
Political parties and leaders: Conservative Party of Nicaragua (PCN) (Dr. Fernando AGUERO Ftocha); Independent Liberal Party (PLI) (Virgilio GODOY); Liberal Alliance, includes the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), the New Liberal Party (PALI), the Independent Liberal Party for National Unity (PLIUN), and the Party for the Unity of Central America (PUCA) (leader – NA); National Conservative Party (PC) (Pedro SOLARZANO, Noel VIDAURRE); National Project (PRONAL) (Benjamin LANZAS); Nicaraguan Christian Way Party (PCCN) (Guillermo OSORNO, Roberto RODRIGUEZ [Roberto RODRIGUEZ]); Nicaraguan Resistance Party (PRN) (Salvador TALAVERA); Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) [Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renewal Movement (MRS) (Sergio RAMIREZ [Sergio RAMIREZ]); Unity Alliance (AU) (Alejandro SERRANO); Union of National Opposition (UNO-96) (Alfredo CESAR Aguirre).
Political influence groups and their leaders: The National Workers’ Front (FNT) supports the Sandinistas and consists of eight trade unions: the Agricultural Workers’ Association (ATS), the Federation of Health Workers (FETASALUD), the Confederation of Heroes and Martyrs of Occupational Associations (CONAPRO), the National! Association of Teachers of Nicaragua (ANDEN). National Union of Employers (UNE), National Union of Farmers and Pastoralists (UNAGI. Center of Sandinista Workers (CST), Union of Journalists of Nicaragua (UPN); Permanent Congress of Workers (CPT) is a group of four non-Sandinista trade unions: Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Center (CTN -A), United Labor Confederation (CUS), Independent General Labor Confederation (CGT-I), Center for Labor Action and Unity (CAUS); Nicaraguan Workers* Center (CTN) – independent trade union; High” Council of Private Enterprise (COSEP) is a confederation of business groups. Participation in international organizations! BCIE, САСМ, ССС, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB.IA IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent ), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Participation in international organizations:
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Alfonso ORTEGA Urbina (Alfonso ORTEGA Urbina); office: 1627 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009; phone: [C (202) 939-6570; fax: (202) 939-6542; consulates general: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Oliver P. GARZA; embassy: Kilometer 4.5 Carretera Sur, Managua; mailing address: ARO AA 34021; phone:  (2) 662298, 666010, 666012, 666013, 666015, 666018, 666026, 666027, 666032, 666033; fax:  (2) 669074.
Flag Description: three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white and blue, with the national coat of arms in the center of the white band; the coat of arms depicts a triangle ringed with the inscription REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom; similar to the flag of El Salvador, on which a round emblem is depicted in the center of the white stripe, ringed with the inscription REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL; also similar to the flag of Honduras, which has five blue stars arranged in the shape of an X in the center of the white stripe.