UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRY REPORT
In Nicaragua, the population is 5,891,199, but the infant mortality rate is 1,000. Since 2007, the president of Nicaragua has been Daniel Ortega. The land area is 46,430 sq. miles. This underdeveloped country is the largest, yet most sparsely populated of the Central American nations. Nicaragua borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. It is slightly larger than New York State. Nicaragua is mountainous in the west, with fertile valleys. The Tipitapa River connects two big lakes. The Pacific coast is volcanic and very fertile. The swampy Caribbean coast was named the “Mosquito Coast.”
The Spanish first settled Nicaragua, which derives its name from the chief of the area’s leading Indian tribe at the time of the Spanish Conquest, in 1522. The country won independence in 1838. For the next century, Nicaragua's politics were ruled by the competition for power between the Liberals, who were centered in the city of León, and the Conservatives, centered in Granada.
To back up its support of the new Conservative government in 1909, the U.S. sent a small detachment of marines to Nicaragua from 1912 to 1925. The Bryan-Chamorro Treaty of 1916 gave the U.S. an option on a canal route through Nicaragua and naval bases. U.S. Marines were sent again to quell disorder after the 1924 elections. A guerrilla leader, Gen. César Augusto Sandino, fought the U.S. troops from 1927 until their withdrawal in 1933.