Nicaragua Map

Introduction   People   History   Culture   Life   Land   Animal   Economy   Language   Politics   Government   Education   Defence   Time   Currency   Legal   Communications  Legal system Organization   Provinces   Disputes  
Nicaragua    Plants and Animal Back to Top

Although much of lowland Nicaragua has a climate conducive to growing sugarcane, poor transportation has limited production to roughly the same area in northwest Nicaragua where bananas are grown. Most sugarcane is processed into whitish centrifugal sugar, the raw sugar of international commerce. Some plants further process the sugarcane into refined granulated sugar. Demand for sugar remained comparatively low until the United States-imposed embargo on Cuban sugar began in 1960. Demand then soared, and sugar production tripled over in the next two decades. Like all other agricultural products, sugar production was severely hit by the United States trade embargo on Nicaraguan products from 1985 to 1990. Production of raw sugarcane stood at 2,300 tons in 1989.

The first cattle were brought to Nicaragua by the Spanish in the 1500s, and farm animal raising was a mainstay of the early colony. Drier areas on the western slopes of the central highlands were ideal for cattle raising, and by the mid-1700s, a wealthy elite, whose income was based on farm animal raising, controlled León, Nicaragua's colonial capital. In the late 1900s, as was true in the late 1500s, cattle raising has been concentrated in the areas east of Lago de Managua. Most beef animals are improved zebu strains. Smaller herds of dairy cattle- -mostly Jersey, Guernsey, or Holstein breeds--are found near population centers. From 1979 to 1989, the total number of cattle dropped by a third because of widespread smuggling to Honduras and Costa Rica and illegal slaughter of the animals for sale of meat on the black market.

Nicaragua    Communications Back to Top

general assessment: insufficient system being upgraded by foreign investment
domestic: low-capacity microwave radio relay and wire system being expanded; connected to Central American Microwave System
international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region) and 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Nicaragua    Culture Back to Top

A group of dedicated revolutionaries, The sandinistas came to power in 1979 determined to transform Nicaraguan society. How well they succeeded in their goal was still being debated in 1993. during their years in power, the Sandinistas nationalized the nation's largest fortunes, redistributed much of the rural land, revamped the national education and health care systems to better serve the poor majority, rewrote the laws pertaining to family life, and challenged the ideological authority of the Roman Catholic bishops. But although the Sandinistas were confronting a society that was subject to powerful forces of secular change, this society also had deeply ingrained characteristics. Before and after the Sandinista decade, Nicaraguan society was shaped by the strength of family ties and the relative weakness of other institutions; by rapid population growth and rising urbanization; by male dominance, high fertility rates, and large numbers of female-headed households; by the predominance of nominal Roman Catholicism existing alongside the dynamism of evangelical Protestantism; by steep urban-rural and class inequalities; and by sweeping cultural differences between the Hispanic-mestizo west and the multiethnic society of the Caribbean lowlands.

In 1993 the permanence of the changes made by the Sandinistas' was unclear. The relevant social scientific literature was slim, and many basic statistics were unavailable. Furthermore, the forces set in motion by the Sandinista revolution might take decades to play themselves out.

Nicaragua    Defence Back to Top

Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,269,322 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 779,267 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 58,232 (2001 est.)

Nicaragua    International Disputes Back to Top

territorial disputes with Colombia over the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; with respect to the maritime boundary question in the Golfo de Fonseca, the ICJ referred to the line determined by the 1900 Honduras-Nicaragua Mixed Boundary Commission and advised that some tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua likely would be required; maritime boundary dispute with Honduras in the Caribbean Sea is before the ICJ; legal dispute over navigational rights of San Juan River on border with Costa Rica

Nicaragua    Economy Back to Top

Since the colonial time, Nicaragua’s economy has been based on the export of raw materials, largely agricultural products. Coffee has been a major crop since the 1840s, and cotton, sugar, bananas, forestry, mining, cattle, and shrimp have also contributed to the economy. A small elite class traditionally controlled the bulk of Nicaragua’s land, and therefore its economic life.

Although Nicaragua historically has been one of Latin America's poorest countries, the cost inflicted by anti-Somoza and Contra wars, the United States' program of economic strangulation throughout most of the 1980s, and various errors committed by the Sandinistas and their conservative successors worsened the nation's plight. The Sandinista policy of developing a mixed economy (about 60 % private and 40 % public) resulted in growth from 1980 through 1983. a sharp economic decline, shortages, war-driven inflation, and a growing foreign debt soon followed. In the late 1980s the Sandinistas implemented a harsh austerity program featuring some privatization and sharp reductions in public employment.

Nicaragua, one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, faces low per capita income, flagging socio-economic indicators, and huge external debt. While the nation has made progress toward macro-economic stabilization over the past few years, a banking crisis and scandal has shaken the economy. Managua will continue to be dependent on international aid and debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Donors have made aid conditional on improving governability, the openness of government financial operation, poverty alleviation, and human rights. Nicaragua met the conditions for additional debt service relief in December 2000. Growth should remain moderate to high in 2001.

Nicaragua    Education Back to Top

When the Sandinistas came to power in 1979, they inherited an educational system that was one of the poorest in Latin America. Under the Somozas, limited spending on education and generalized poverty, which forced many adolescents into the labor market, constricted educational opportunities for Nicaraguans. In the late 1970s, only 65 % of primary school-age children were listed in school, and of those who entered first grade only 22 % completed the full six years of the primary school curriculum. Most rural schools offered only one or two years of schooling, and three-quarters of the rural population was illiterate. Few students listed in secondary school, in part because most secondary institutions were private and too expensive for the average family. By these standards, the 8 % of the college-age population listed in Nicaraguan universities seemed comparatively high. Less surprising was that upper-class families typically sent their children abroad for higher education.

Before 1980 educational opportunities in Nicaragua were limited and, in rural areas, often unavailable. Adult literacy in 1971 was only 57 %. In 1980 the Sandinista government launched a national literacy crusade, and spending on primary education more than doubled. Literacy rates climbed to 87 % by 1985, and by 1990 the government claimed that virtually all children of primary age were listed in school. The 1987 constitution declared primary education free and obligatory, and schools were accomplished in most rural areas.

Nicaragua    Government Back to Top

Government: Under constitution published January 1, 1987, republic with three independent branches. administrator elected for six-year term (Violeta Barrios de Chamorro became president on April 25, 1990). Unicameral National Assembly elected to sixyear term concurrent with that of president.

Politics: Numerous political parties, most based on personalities rather than political philosophies. Largest and most cohesive single party, leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) headed by Daniel José Ortega Saavedra, entered into opposition in 1990 after almost eleven years in government. Since 1990, government ostensibly held by National Opposition Union (UNO), loose coalition of fourteen parties united to contest FSLN. Relations between government of President Chamorro and UNO leadership strained over government support for laws guaranteeing transfer of expropriated properties to Sandinistas and continued FSLN determine within police and armed forces. Political process marked by violent labor militancy and sporadic political violence by rearmed Contra and Sandinista guerrillas. Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for 1996.

Judicial System: Judicial system consists of Supreme Court, which handles both civil and criminal cases, courts of appeal, and courts of first instance at departmental and municipal levels.

Administrative Divisions: Nine regions, subseparated into seventeen departments (fifteen full departments and two autonomous regions in Caribbean lowlands). In accordance with 1988 Law on Municipalities, 143 municipal units functioning in 1992.

Foreign Relations: Since 1990 Chamorro government has greatly improved relations with United States and supported Central American integration. During 1980s FSLN government aligned itself with former Soviet bloc and supported leftist causes, straining relations with United States and neighboring Central American countries.

Nicaragua    History Back to Top

Throughout its history, Nicaragua has suffered from political instability, civil war, poverty, foreign intervention, and natural disasters. Governments since colonial times have been unable to bring stability and sustainable economic growth. Personal and foreign special interests have generally prevailed over the national interests, and foreign intervention in Nicaraguan political and economic affairs, particularly by the United States, has resulted in various forms of populist and nationalist reactions. The legacy of the past can be seen today in the attitudes toward foreign determine. Although the upper and middle classes tend to emulate North American life-styles and be supportive of United States policies, the Nicaraguan poor are highly suspicious of the culture and political intentions of the United States.

During the 1980s, Nicaragua was the center of Cold War confrontation in the Western Hemisphere, with the former Soviet Union and Cuba providing assistance to the Sandinista government, and the United States supporting anti-government forces. A regional peace initiative brought an end to civil war in the late 1980s. The Sandinistas lost in the 1990 elections, and a new government headed by President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro was installed in April 1990.

Nicaragua    Introduction Back to Top

Nicaragua, officially Republic of Nicaragua, largest republic of Central America, bordered on the north by Honduras, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by Costa Rica, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The area of Nicaragua is 131,812 sq km (50,893 sq mi), including inland water. The capital city is Managua.

Official Name- Republic of Nicaragua
Capital City- Managua
Languages- Spanish (official), others
Official Currency- Cordoba
Religions- Catholic, others
Population- 4,720,000
Land Area- 118,750 sq km (45,849 sq miles)
Nicaragua    Land Back to Top


Nicaragua    Languages Back to Top

Almost all Nicaraguans speak Spanish, which is the official language. Many on the east coast speak Miskito or English at home, but most also speak Spanish.

Nicaragua    Legal Back to Top

Legal system: civil law system; Supreme Court may review administrative acts vote: 16 years of age; universal administrator branch: chief of state: President Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (since 10 January 1997); Vice President Leopoldo NAVARRO (since 24 October 2000); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government head of government: President Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (since 10 January 1997); Vice President Leopoldo NAVARRO (since 24 October 2000); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held 4 November 2001); note - in July 1995 the term of the office of the president was amended to five years election results: Arnoldo ALEMAN Lacayo (Liberal Alliance - ruling party - includes PLC, PALI, PLIUN, and PUCA) 51.03%, Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra (FSLN) 37.75%, Guillermo OSORNO (PCCN) 4.10%, Noel VIDAURRE (PCN) 2.26%, Benjamin LANZAS (PRONAL) 0.53%, other (18 other candidates) 4.33% Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Asamblea Nacional (93 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held 4 November 2001) election results: % of vote by party - Liberal Alliance (ruling party - includes PLC, PALI, PLIUN, and PUCA) 46.03%, FSLN 36.55%, PCCN 3.73%, PCN 2.12%, MRS 1.33%; seats by party - Liberal Alliance 42, FSLN 36, PCCN 4, PCN 3, PRONAL 2, MRS 1, PRN 1, PC 1, PLI 1, AU 1, UNO-96 Alliance 1 Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (16 judges elected for seven-year terms by the National Assembly)

Nicaragua    Life Back to Top

In the 1990s, orthodox Hispanic kinship patterns, common to most of Latin America, continued to shape family life in Nicaragua. The nuclear family forms the basis of family structure, but relationships with the extended family and godparents are strong and determine many aspects of Nicaraguan life. Because few other institutions in the society have proved as stable and enduring, family and kinship play a powerful role in the social, economic, and political relations of Nicaraguans. Social prestige, economic ties, and political alignments often follow kinship lines. Through the compadrazgo system (the set of relationships between a child's parents and his or her godparents), persons unrelated by blood or marriage establish bonds of ritual kinship that are also valuable for the individual in the society at large.

Godparents are typically trusted friends of the parents. lower-class families -for whom the compadrazgo has the greatest significance often chose godparents of superior economic, political, or social status, who are in a position to help the child in the future. Large landowners, affluent businesspeople, government officials, and political leaders may become godfathers to the children of social inferiors in order to build up a system of personal loyalties. In such cases, compadrazgo becomes the basis of a network of patronclient relationships.

Nicaragua    organization Back to Top
International organization Member


Nicaragua    People Back to Top

Nicaragua has a population of 4,918,393 (2001 estimate). It is among the poorest nations in Central America, a legacy of years of exploitation by dictators, disasters, and devastating civil war. Its people are mostly mestizo (people of mixed European and Native American ancestry), but various minority groups include people of African, Native American, and European descent. traditionally, a small upper class has controlled most of the nation’s land and its economic and political power.

Most Nicaraguans are mestizos, persons of mixed European and American Indian ancestry. blacks and whites are about equal in number, together making up roughly one-fifth of the population. American Indians constitute less than 5 % of the population. The west coast has a small number of Monimbó and Subtiava Indians. Although Spanish-speaking mestizos now constitute the largest single group even on the east coast, the population of that region also includes Miskito, Sumo, and Rama Indians as well as black Caribs, also known as Garifuna (descendants of African slaves and Carib Indians), and Creoles (English-speaking blacks).

Nicaragua    Politics Back to Top

Conservative Party of Nicaragua or PCN [Dr. Fernando AGUERO Rocha]; Independent Liberal Party or PLI [Virgilio GODOY]; Liberal Alliance (ruling alliance including Liberal Constitutional Party or PLC, New Liberal Party or PALI, Independent Liberal Party for National Unity or PLIUN, and Central American Unionist Party or PUCA) [leader NA]; National Conservative Party or PC [Pedro SOLARZANO, Noel VIDAURRE]; National Project or PRONAL [Benjamin LANZAS]; Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Path or PCCN [Guillermo OSORNO, Roberto RODRIGUEZ]; Nicaraguan Resistance Party or PRN [Salvador TALAVERA]; Sandinista National Liberation Front or FSLN [Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra]; Sandinista Renovation Movement or MRS [Sergio RAMIREZ]; Unity Alliance or AU [Alejandro SERRANO]; Union Nacional Opositora 96 or UNO-96 [Alfredo CESAR Aguirre] Political pressure groups and leaders: National Workers Front or FNT is a Sandinista umbrella group of eight labor unions including - Farm Workers Association or ATC, Health Workers Federation or FETASALUD, Heroes and Martyrs Confederation of Professional Associations or CONAPRO, National Association of Educators of Nicaragua or ANDEN, National Union of Employees or UNE, National Union of Farmers and Ranchers or UNAG, Sandinista Workers Central or CST, and Union of Journalists of Nicaragua or UPN; Permanent Congress of Workers or CPT is an umbrella group of four non-Sandinista labor unions including - Autonomous Nicaraguan Workers Central or CTN-A, Confederation of Labor Unification or CUS, Independent General Confederation of Labor or CGT-I, and Labor Action and Unity Central or CAUS; Nicaraguan Workers' Central or CTN is an independent labor union; Superior Council of Private Enterprise or COSEP is a confederation of business groups

Nicaragua    Provinces Back to Top

15 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento), 2 autonomous regions* (regiones autonomistas, singular - region autonomista); Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Esteli, Granada, Jinotega, Leon, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rio San Juan, Rivas, Atlantico Norte*, Atlantico Sur*

Nicaragua    Time Back to Top
Live Time and Date ( Click Here )

Nicaragua    Currency and General Information Back to Top
Nicaragua Gold Cordobas United States Dollars
1.00 NIO 0.0713776 USD
14.0100 NIO 1 USD

Countries Currency Unit USD/Unit Units/USD
DZD Algeria Dinars 0.0129554 77.1877
USD United States Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
ARS Argentina Pesos 0.341293 2.93004
AUD Australia Dollars 0.533413 1.87472
ATS Austria Schillings ** 0.0632609 15.8076
BSD Bahamas Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BBD Barbados Dollars 0.502513 1.99000
BEF Belgium Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
BMD Bermuda Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BRL Brazil Reals 0.430318 2.32386
GBP United Kingdom Pounds 1.42399 0.702251
BGL Bulgaria Leva 0.447293 2.23567
CAD Canada Dollars 0.627606 1.59336
CLP Chile Pesos 0.00152392 656.202
CNY China Yuan Renminbi 0.120813 8.27726
CYP Cyprus Pounds 1.49883 0.667186
CZK Czech Republic Koruny 0.0281883 35.4758
DKK Denmark Kroner 0.117155 8.53568
XCD East Caribbean Dollars 0.370370 2.70000
EGP Egypt Pounds 0.217271 4.60255
EUR Euro 0.870489 1.14878
FJD Fiji Dollars 0.447227 2.23600
FIM Finland Markkaa ** 0.146406 6.83034
FRF France Francs ** 0.132705 7.53550
DEM Germany Deutsche Marks ** 0.445074 2.24682
XAU Gold Ounces 301.977 0.00331151
GRD Greece Drachmae ** 0.00255463 391.447
HKD Hong Kong Dollars 0.128215 7.79939
HUF Hungary Forint 0.00358416 279.006
ISK Iceland Kronur 0.00999868 100.013
INR India Rupees 0.0205205 48.7319
IDR Indonesia Rupiahs 0.000102055 9,798.61
IEP Ireland Pounds ** 1.10529 0.904738
ILS Israel New Shekels 0.212386 4.70841
ITL Italy Lire ** 0.000449570 2,224.35
JMD Jamaica Dollars 0.0210041 47.6099
JPY Japan Yen 0.00754183 132.594
JOD Jordan Dinars 1.41057 0.708931
LBP Lebanon Pounds 0.000660937 1,513.00
LUF Luxembourg Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
MYR Malaysia Ringgits 0.263330 3.79751
MXN Mexico Pesos 0.111007 9.00848
NZD New Zealand Dollars 0.440474 2.27028
NOK Norway Kroner 0.113022 8.84780
NLG Netherlands Guilders ** 0.395011 2.53158
PKR Pakistan Rupees 0.0166945 59.9000
PHP Philippines Pesos 0.0196386 50.9202
XPT Platinum Ounces 510.962 0.00195709
PLN Poland Zlotych 0.243488 4.10699
PTE Portugal Escudos ** 0.00434198 230.310
ROL Romania Lei 0.0000303433 32,956.21
RUR Russia Rubles 0.0321342 31.1195
SAR Saudi Arabia Riyals 0.266668 3.74998
XAG Silver Ounces 4.65692 0.214734
SGD Singapore Dollars 0.542540 1.84318
SKK Slovakia Koruny 0.0208441 47.9751
ZAR South Africa Rand 0.0883340 11.3207
KRW South Korea Won 0.000759354 1,316.91
ESP Spain Pesetas ** 0.00523174 191.141
XDR IMF Special Drawing Rights 1.24862 0.800882
SDD Sudan Dinars 0.00384615 260.000
SEK Sweden Kronor 0.0964189 10.3714
CHF Switzerland Francs 0.593789 1.68410
TWD Taiwan New Dollars 0.0286531 34.9002
THB Thailand Baht 0.0230087 43.4619
TTD Trinidad and Tobago Dollars 0.163399 6.12000
TRL Turkey Liras 0.000000763622 1,309,549.07
VEB Venezuela Bolivares 0.00108696 920.000
ZMK Zambia Kwacha 0.000239866 4,169.00

Nicaragua : Geographic coordinates 13 00 N, 85 00 W
Nicaragua : Population growth rate 2.15%
Nicaragua : Birth rate 27.64 births/1,000 population
Nicaragua : Death rate 4.82 deaths/1,000 population
Nicaragua : People living with HIV/AIDS 4,900
Nicaragua : Independence 15 September 1821
Nicaragua : National holiday Independence Day, 15 September
Nicaragua : Constitution 9 January 1987
Nicaragua : GDP purchasing power parity - $13.1 billion
Nicaragua : GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $2,700
Nicaragua : Electricity - consumption 2.265 billion kWh
Nicaragua : Exports $631 million coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, beef, sugar, bananas; gold
Nicaragua : Imports $1.6 billion machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products, consumer goods
Nicaragua : Telephones 140,000
Nicaragua : Mobile cellular 7,911
Nicaragua : Radio broadcast stations AM 63, FM 32, shortwave 1
Nicaragua : Radios 1.24 million
Nicaragua : Television broadcast stations 3
Nicaragua : Televisions 320,000
Nicaragua : Internet country code .ni
Nicaragua : Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 3
Nicaragua : Internet users 20,000
Nicaragua : Railways 6 km
Nicaragua : Highways 16,382 km
Nicaragua : Waterways 2,220 km
Nicaragua : Pipelines crude oil 56 km
Nicaragua : Ports and harbors Bluefields, Corinto, El Bluff, Puerto Cabezas, Puerto Sandino, Rama, San Juan del Sur
Nicaragua : Merchant marine N/A
Nicaragua : Airports 182
Nicaragua : Heliports N/A
Nicaragua : Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force
Nicaragua : Military expenditures $26 million