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Nicaragua Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, as well as one of the poorest. Learn about its geography, history, culture and major attractions that make it a special place.

Geography & Demographics

Nicaragua is north of Costa Rica and south of Honduras
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Did you know that Nicaragua is the biggest country in Central America, but it is the least populated? Located between Costa Rica and Honduras, Nicaragua is home to almost six million people. The capital is Managua, which is home to almost one million people. There are a wide variety of ethnic groups and religions there, with the majority being multiracial and Roman Catholic.

History

While Nicaragua did not become an independent country until 1838, people settled there as early as the year 500. In the 1500s, it became a Spanish colony, and its Spanish influences can still be seen there today. Later, Nicaragua separated from Spain and became a part of the Mexican Empire, and eventually, it became part of Central America.

Nicaragua did not have an easy start, as the Liberals and Conservatives began to battle for the lead of the newly founded country almost immediately after it gained independence. Unfortunately, the first few rulers of the country were dictators. The best way to describe a dictator is a political bully who has strict rules and gives the people little to no say in government choices.

The United States invaded Nicaragua in the early 1900s, which was part of the Banana Wars. The Banana Wars took place when American troops forcefully occupied countries in Central America in order to maintain control of building the Nicaraguan Canal. The Nicaraguan Canal was important in the economy as it was a way to transport and trade goods - like bananas - with other countries.

The US after they invaded Nicaragua
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Since then, Nicaragua has become a democracy, which has been a much more peaceful way of running the country.

Culture & Lifestyle

Even though Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Central America, this has not held them back from having a rich culture. One of the biggest pieces of the culture in Nicaragua is the food. A main ingredient of many Nicaraguan dishes is corn, as this vegetable got its start in Central America. Some ancient religious leaders and doctors in Nicaragua loved corn so much that they believed it had magical powers! Corn is used to make items like tortillas and tamales. Another popular Nicaraguan dish is known as vigoron, which is sometimes referred to as the fast food of Nicaragua. This is made of fried pork rinds mixed with boiled yucca and cabbage slaw.

Vigoron
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