Antiqua Print Gallery History of Nicaragua
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History of Nicaragua

In 1538, the Viceroyalty of New Spain was established, encompassing all of Mexico and Central America, except Panama. By 1570, the southern part of New Spain was designated the Captaincy General of Guatemala. The area of Nicaragua was divided into administrative "parties" with León as the capital. In 1610, the volcano known as Momotombo erupted, destroying the capital. It was rebuilt northwest of its original site.
The history of Nicaragua remained relatively static for three hundred years following the conquest. There were minor civil wars and rebellions, but they were quickly suppressed. The region was subject to frequent raids by Dutch, French and British pirates, with the city of Granada being invaded twice, in 1658 and 1660.
Nicaragua became a part of the Mexican Empire and then gained its independence as a part of the United Provinces of Central America in 1821, then as an independent republic in its own right in 1838. The Mosquito Coast based on Bluefields on the Atlantic was claimed by the United Kingdom as a protectorate from 1655 to 1850. This area was designated to Honduras in 1859 and transferred to Nicaragua in 1860, though it remained autonomous until 1894.
Much of Nicaragua's politics since independence has been characterized by the rivalry between the liberal elite of León and the conservative elite of Granada. The rivalry often degenerated into civil war, particularly during the 1840s and 1850s. Initially invited by the Liberals in 1855 to join their struggle against the Conservatives, a United States adventurer named William Walker was elected to the presidency in 1856. Honduras and other Central American countries united to drive him out of Nicaragua in 1857, after which a period of three decades of Conservative rule ensued.
Taking advantage of divisions within the conservative ranks, José Santos Zelaya led a liberal revolt that brought him to power in 1893. Zelaya ended the longstanding dispute with the United Kingdom over the Atlantic coast in 1894, and reincorporated the Mosquito Coast into Nicaragua.

(Source Wikipedia)