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Nicaragua Old History

 

Western Nicaragua was colonized by the Spaniards in the 16th century, while the English controlled the eastern parts. Nicaragua became independent in 1838, but only in 1894 did the Atlantic coast become part of the country. In 1909, the United States intervened militarily and helped a conservative government to power. Liberal General Augusto César Sandino continued to fight the US forces. Sandino was assassinated in 1934 by order of the National Guard's leader, the future dictator Anastasio Somoza.

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Nicaragua, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

When the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, Nicaragua was inhabited by several indigenous peoples. The country is said to have received its name after a chieftain named Nicarao or Nicaragua. The area had no major gold or silver assets and thus became a neglected part of the Spanish empire. In the more densely populated western part, the indigenous peoples who survived the fighting against the Spanish and the encounter with European diseases were forced to produce coffee and breed livestock for export.

The Spaniards never succeeded in conquering the eastern part of present-day Nicaragua, inhabited by Miskito, Rama and Sumu people. However, English pirates and merchants, who reached the area in the 1630s, got in touch with the Miskito people. The pirates provided miskito with firearms and got help from them during their raids into the Spanish part of Nicaragua.

Old History of Nicaragua

The western part of Nicaragua was part of the great Spanish colony of Guatemala. When Mexico released itself from Spain in 1821, Nicaragua and the other Central American provinces followed suit. In 1838 Nicaragua became an independent republic.

The 19th century was marked by a power struggle between the leading families in the cities of León and Granada: the former called themselves liberals and the latter conservatives. A North American mercenary, William Walker, who had been hired by the Liberals, managed to establish himself for a few years as the country's president. He legalized slavery and introduced English as an official language, which led to the liberals and conservatives temporarily agreeing against him. Walker was deposed in 1857.

1863–1893 was a fairly quiet period under a conservative regime. The liberals revolted in 1893 under the leadership of dictator José Santos Zelaya. The following year, the Atlantic coast was incorporated with Nicaragua, but the links between the central power and the area to the east were weak. On the Atlantic coast, US companies that exploited natural resources dominated.

In 1909, when Nicaragua was in financial chaos, the United States intervened militarily and helped a conservative government to power. With American support, a couple of liberal insurgency attempts were defeated in the mid-1920s. One of the generals of the Liberals, Augusto César Sandino, refused to capitulate and continued to fight the US forces. After the 1933 presidential election, the US forces were withdrawn and Sandino signed a peace treaty with the newly elected Liberal president. The following year, Sandino was assassinated by order of the National Guard's leader, Anastasio Somoza.

2009

October

HD judgment changes the rules for presidential elections

The Supreme Court annulled the constitutional ban on direct re-election of a president and on the fact that a person holds the presidential office more than twice. The prohibitions, which were introduced in the constitution in 1995,, according to the judges Daniel Ortega's right to equality before the law, restrict. According to critics, the Supreme Court does not have a mandate to make a decision on the matter, since constitutional changes - according to the constitution - must be made by decisions with a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. The government's supporters, on the other hand, consider that the road is now open for Ortega to seek re-election, despite being president in 1985–1990 and re-elected in 2006. HD also confirms this in a later ruling, in September 2010.

July

Rash in border dispute with Costa Rica

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague decides a long-standing dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica over the right to operate shipping on the San Juan border. The court affirmed that the river lies within Nicaragua's territory, but gave Costa Rica the right to conduct sustainable fishing and other business activities in the area (see Foreign Policy and Defense).

January

Jail against ex-president is deleted

The Supreme Court cancels the prison sentence against former President Arnoldo Alemán. He is officially released for lack of evidence. A few hours after the court's decision, the PLC members support the FSLN in the election of a new leadership for the National Assembly. Assessors believe that PLC has approved the result in the municipal elections through the settlement. There is speculation that it was Ortega himself who supported the decision to release Aléman and that it was the price the Sandinists may pay for PLC's support in Parliament.

2008

November

Grand victory for FSLN in municipal elections

In the municipal elections, the government does not allow independent international observers. According to the official result, the Sandinists win in 105 of 146 municipalities and the PLC in 37. The opposition, individual organizations and the Catholic Church accuse the government of cheating and demand that the result be annulled (see also June 2008). Aid donors, including the US and the EU, are calling for an investigation into the fraud charges, but the government refuses to give in to the demands. The donors then freeze parts of their support for Nicaragua.

June

Opposition parties are suspended from municipal elections

The CSE electoral authority decides that the opposition parties the Sandinist Renewal Movement (MRS) and the Conservative Party (PC) may not stand in the municipal elections in November. Dora María Téllez, one of the MRS leaders, starved for two weeks in protest of the decision, calling the government an "institutional dictatorship". Assessors see the decision as politically motivated, since the election authority was controlled by the FSLN and the PLC.

April

Deferred municipal elections trigger concern

The CSE electoral authority decides that the municipal elections, which will be held in November, should be postponed in three municipalities on the northern Atlantic coast. As a reason, the devastation is reported after Hurricane Felix, but the opposition claims that the Sandinists are afraid of losing the election there. The decision triggers violent clashes between Sandinist supporters and oppositionists in Puerto Cabezas. CSE then chooses to postpone the election in seven municipalities on the Atlantic coast.

 
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