Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Nicaragua
is sometimes called “the land of lakes and volcanoes.”
The largest lakes in
Central America and a chain of volcanic peaks dominate the western part of the
country. Lakes also fill the craters of many of the volcanoes. Most of
Nicaragua's people live in the country’s western lowlands, where most of the
country’s economic activity also occurs. Managua, the country’s capital and
largest city, lies along the shores of Lake Managua in western Nicaragua, on
geologic fault lines.
Severe earthquakes destroyed Managua twice in the 20th
century. Nicaragua also has thick rain forests, rugged highlands, and fertile farming areas.
Nicaragua probably takes its name from Nicarao, chief of the indigenous people
who lived around Lake Nicaragua at the time Spanish explorers and conquerors
arrived in the early 1500s. Today, most of the people are of mixed European and
Native American ancestry, but the country also has minorities of primarily
Native American, African, or European descent. The total population is 5.6
Nicaragua's economy is based largely on agriculture, especially on crops grown
for export. Coffee is the most important agricultural export, while corn is the
major crop grown for domestic consumption. Nicaragua ranks among the poorest
nations in Central America, after years of corrupt dictatorship, natural
disasters, revolution, and civil war.
click on map to enlarge
Quick Facts about Nicaragua:
Climate: Tropical in lowlands, cooler in the
Per Capita Income: Between $1,000 and $3,000.
Unemployment: 60 percent
Population: 4,812,559 70% Mestizo, 12%
White, 11% Black 7% Amerindian.
Religions: 91 percent Roman Catholic, 6
percent Protestant, 3% other.
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