Fast Facts

Population:
5,774,000
Capital:
Managua; 1,098, 000
Area:
130,000 square kilometers (50,193 square miles)
Language:
Spanish, English, indigenous languages
Religion:
Roman Catholic, Protestant
Currency:
Gold cordoba
Life Expectancy:
69
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $2,200
Literacy Percent:
68
Flag: Nicaragua
Map: Nicaragua

Natural disasters and the consequences of civil war have beset this largest Central American country. Volcanoes and earthquakes along the Pacific coast are a constant threat, and hurricanes hit the low-lying Caribbean coast. With the Sandinista's overthrow of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, ending his family's 42-year dictatorship, Nicaragua came under the control of a junta. Eight years of civil war between the Sandinista regime and the U.S.-funded rebels (contras) ended in 1988. Peace brought democracy, but poverty and corruption are major problems.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, textiles
  • Agriculture: Coffee, bananas, sugarcane, cotton; beef, veal
  • Exports: Coffee, shrimp and lobster, cotton, tobacco, bananas

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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