Nicaragua Brief History

In the Spanish colonial empire

After C. Columbus landed on the Caribbean coast in 1502, parts of what is now Nicaragua were conquered in 1522 by Spanish conquistadors under the leadership of G. González de Ávila.

He named the country after the Nicarao who lived on the west coast. In 1524 F. Hernández de Córdoba founded the cities of León (bishopric since 1531) and Granada. The conquest was initially limited to v. a. on the western mountains.

During the first decades of colonial rule, the local population was enslaved and committed to forced labor, but the majority died in armed conflict or from diseases brought in by the Spaniards. A ban on the enslavement of Indians who continued to pay labor tributes led to an uprising among the Spanish settlers, which was crushed in 1550. In 1543 Nicaragua was annexed to the General Capitanate of Guatemala. Flibustiers sacked Granada in the second half of the 17th century.

The population lived v. a. from agriculture (cattle breeding, sugar, cotton), on the Pacific from shipbuilding. Trade with Europe ran from the Pacific port of El Realejo over the militarily secured Isthmus of Panama. A mestizo society has developed since colonial times. The climatically inhospitable east remained the domain of the Mosquito Coast Flibustier and the Misquito Indians, who were subject to strong English influences and successfully opposed Spanish rule.

Independence and foreign rule of the USA

When Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1821, Nicaragua joined the new empire. From 1823–38 it formed part of the United States of Central America. Because of its location between the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea) and the Pacific, Nicaragua became strategically important for the emerging USA (canal project from Río San Juan to Lake Nicaragua with a penetration to the Pacific). The rivalries between the USA and Great Britain over a two-sea canal led to a standstill agreement (Clayton-Bulwer Treaty). The constant struggles between liberals and conservatives (the two rival political groups of the upper class) promoted the rise of the North American adventurer W. Walker, who initially helped the liberals to victory with a few irregulars and was elected president himself in 1856. Walker was evicted in 1857. Conservative presidents ruled between 1857 and 1893.

Under the liberal military regime of J. S. Zelaya (1893–1909), the influence of the church was suppressed and the country was modernized, influenced by positivism (education, expansion of the transport network, expansion of coffee cultivation). Zelaya finally subjugated the Misquito in 1904 -Indians and incorporated their territory into the state. In terms of foreign policy, he embroiled Nicaragua in military conflicts with neighboring countries. His dictatorial regime was overthrown in 1909 with the help of the US, which saw its channel interests threatened. In 1912 the USA took over the military, economic and political control of Nicaragua with marine units. in the Bryan Chamorro Treaty (concluded in 1914, effective from 1916), in which the USA secured the right to an interoceanic canal connection and the establishment of naval bases for US $ 3 million. The USA also exerted influence on the formation of a government; customs, banking and transport remained in North American hands until 1925.

Somoza regime, Sandinista and civil war

In 1927, according to usprivateschoolsfinder, a workers and peasants faction directed against foreign rule was formed under A. C. Sandino, which, after a six-year liberation struggle, was able to enforce the withdrawal of American units at the end of 1932. However, Sandino’s supporters did not succeed in overthrowing the US-trained and supported National Guard, which was led by General A. “Tacho” Somoza García. Sandino was murdered in 1934. Two years later, Somoza García took power in a coup. In 1937–47 and 1950–56 he took over the presidency and brought substantial parts of the economy under his control and that of his clan. Nicaragua also kept under the successors L. A. Somoza Debayle (1956–63), René Schick Gutiérrez (* 1909, † 1966; 1963–66), Lorenzo Guerrero Gutiérrez (* 1900, † 1981; 1966–67) and A. »Tachito« Somoza Debayle (1967–72) the character of an “enrichment dictatorship”. A. Somoza Debayle passed power to a junta for a short time in 1972, but took over the affairs of state again after an earthquake disaster in the same year and became president again in 1974. In the 1970s – not least under the leadership of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), founded in 1961 – the resistance against the Somoza clan grew. The rebellion against A. Somoza Debayle was supported by a broad bourgeois opposition. After a (failed) coup by the FSLN in October 1977, the domestic political situation worsened despite considerable economic growth. a. came about through import restrictions and increasing industrialization in the 1970s.

Against the background of extreme social contradictions and in the wake of severe repression against social reform movements, the opposition leader and editor of the newspaper »La Prensa«, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, was murdered on 10.1.1978. The subsequent popular uprising, which was supported not only by the FSLN but also by the bourgeois opposition, was countered by A. Somoza Debayles National Guard by bombing towns and villages. A civil war developed with great destruction and high population losses. In the course of 1979 the FSLN gained the military upper hand and took over the government on July 19, 1979 together with other opposition groups. In 1981, D. Ortega Saavedra became the »coordinator« of the five members of the »Junta of National Reconstruction«, which had been made up of three members since 1981 (dissolved in 1984) and thus formally head of state and head of government. As defense minister, his brother Humberto Ortega Saavedra (* 1947) responsible for the newly built army. Several non-Nordicists gradually left the junta. The socialist-oriented Sandinista government pursued a moderate nationalization policy and in 1981 decided on an agrarian reform that made expropriated land available to cooperatives in particular. The structural reforms in social policy (including a literacy campaign, free medical care and the temporary subsidization of basic foodstuffs) went hand in hand with human rights violations by the Sandinista army. Economically, the Sandinista regime was supported by the USSR, Cuba and others. Members of Comecon supported. In terms of foreign policy, Nicaragua was oriented towards Cuba.

Since 1981 an opposition supported and equipped by the USA, the “Contras”, has been offering militant resistance against the Sandinista government, mostly from bases in Honduras and Costa Rica. When US troops and Contras mined the ports of Nicaragua in 1984, there were considerable tensions with the US and, due to the additional US trade embargo, very great economic difficulties. In 1988 D. Ortega Saavedra started through the Contadora Group (Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama) and in 1987 on the initiative of the President of Costa Rica O. Arias Sanchez Treaty to end the civil wars in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (Esquipulas II) signed by all Central American states, direct negotiations with the Contras.

Nicaragua Brief History

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