Nicaragua

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Nicaragua (pronounced /ˌnɪkəˈrɑːɡwə/ ( listen) nik-ə-RAH-gwə) officially the Republic of Nicaragua (Spanish: República de Nicaragua, pronounced [reˈpuβlika ðe nikaˈɾaɣwa]  ( listen)), is a representative democratic republic. It is the largest country in Central America with an area of 130,373 km2. The country is bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west of the country, the Caribbean Sea to the east. The country's Caribbean coast is part of the Western Caribbean Zone. Falling within the tropics, Nicaragua sits between 11 degrees and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere. Nicaragua's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contribute to Mesoamerica's designation as a biodiversity hotspot. The capital city of Nicaragua is Managua. Roughly one quarter of the nation's population lives in the Nicaraguan capital, making it the second largest city and metropolitan area in Central America (following Guatemala City).

The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and the territory became associated with the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later the Captaincy General of Guatemala. Alongside the Spanish, the British established a protectorate on the eastern seaboard beginning in the middle of the 17th century, and ending roughly two centuries later with the rise of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada in the coast. The eastern seaboard retains its colonial heritage; English and Jamaican Patois are commonly spoken and the culture in the Atlantic region identifies as being more Caribbean. In 1821, Nicaragua achieved its independence from Spain and joined the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823, later leaving the Federal Republic in 1838.[5] Nicaragua increasingly became a subject of substantial interest because of its geographic position for a canal that would service the Windward Passage.[6] Roughly a century after operations of the Panama Canal commenced and one hundred and eighty five years after the initial plans for the Nicaraguan Canal waterway, the prospect of a Nicaraguan ecocanal has remained the subject of interest, with its construction in progress.[7][8][9][10] Eighteen years after leaving the federal Republic it also became the epicenter of William Walker's Golden Circle filibustering in Central America.[11][12] Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, military intervention on behalf of the United States, dictatorship and fiscal crisis—the most notable causes that lead to the Nicaraguan Revolution. Although the Somoza family ruled the country in the form of a dictatorship for forty years, Nicaragua was the first country to sign the UN Charter in 1945.[13] Prior to the revolution, Nicaragua was one of Central America's wealthiest and most developed countries. The revolutionary conflict, paired with Nicaragua's 1972 earthquake reversed the country's prior economic standing. Despite the harsh economic effects of both phenomena, post-revolution Nicaragua has maintained democratic practices and has experienced economic growth and political stability. In 1990, Nicaragua elected Violeta Chamorro as its president, making it the first country in the Americas and in Latin American history to democratically elect a female head of state and the second country in the Western Hemisphere to do so, following Iceland's democratic election of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.[14]

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