People and Way of Life In Nicaragua
Most Nicaraguans are mestizos. That is that they have white
and Indian ancestors. There way of life is somewhat similar
to that of Spanish Americans in other Central American
countries. Most people belong to the Roman Catholic Church
and speak Spanish. Most of Nicaragua's people are poor
farmers. Many of those in the Pacific Region are peasants
who work on their own farms, cooperatives, state farms, or
large private farms. In warmer areas, agriculture workers
live in metal roofed houses. In the colder areas of the
Central Highlands, they live in adobe houses with tile
The only Indian groups in Nicaragua that follow their own
languages and their old ways of life are in the thinly
populated Caribbean Region. In the early 1980's some of
these Indians became involved in anti-government things.
Because of this, the government moved some Indian groups
from their homes near the border to areas in the interior
Nicaragua has a law that requires children to go to school
from the age of six through twelve. Before 1980, only about
half the children did so because they were poor and
couldn't afford to be sent or it was that there weren't
many schools around where they lived. Nicaragua did not
have enough schools, and many rural areas had no schools at
all. But since then the new government has built hundreds
of schools. The government also held a successful literacy
campaign headed mainly by young volunteer teachers.
Nicaragua has two universities. The national University of
Nicaragua, in Le¢n and Managua, is the older and larger
one. It was founded in 1812 and has more than seven
thousand students. The Central American University is a
Roman Catholic institution in Managua.
A president heads the government of Nicaragua. The people
elect the president and a legislature called the National
Assembly. The president appoints a Cabinet to help carry
out the operations of the government. This government is
very similar to our own government.
The president, most of the Cabinet members, and the
majority of the National Assembly members belong to a
political party called the Sandinista National Liberation
Front. In 1979, the Sandinistas led a revolution that
overthrew the government of the Somoza family, which had
long ruled Nicaragua. From 1979 to 1984 the Sandinistas
controlled the government largely through a three-member
junta, or a ruling body. The president and the national
assembly were elected in 1984.
In 1502 Christopher Columbus claimed Nicaragua for Spain.
The Spaniards did not really settle in Nicaragua. Many
pirates set up hideouts and Dutch as well as others went to
On September 15, 1821 Nicaragua and other Central American
states declared their independence. They later became part
of the Mexican Empire but broke away in 1823. They formed
the United Provinces of Central America. This union
generally followed liberal economic and political policies.
The union began to fall apart because of conservative
landowners and the clergy to regain their old privileges.
In 1838 Nicaragua left the Union.
In 1979 their was a civil war which drove the Somoza family
out of government office. They had ruled from 1937 to 1979.
Somoza was assassinated in 1980 while leaving the country
as an order by the rebels who fought and won.