Nicaragua Facts and Figures
Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, borders Costa Rica to the south and Honduras to the north. About the size of Alabama, the picturesque country has colonial cities, volcanoes, lakes, rainforests, and beaches.
Known for its rich biodiversity, the country attracts more than one million tourists a year; tourism is the second largest industry in the country, after agriculture.
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Source: Numismatics Academy
Get Facts About Nicaragua, The Largest Country in Central America
First Historical Facts
Christopher Columbus explored the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua during his fourth and final trip to the Americas. In the mid-19th century, an American doctor and mercenary named William Walker went on a military expedition to Nicaragua and declared himself president.
His rule lasted only one year, after which he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies and executed by the Honduran government. However, in his short time in Nicaragua, Walker managed to do a lot of damage; The colonial relics in Granada still bear burn marks from his retreat when his troops set the city on fire.
The Nicaraguan coast is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. The waves in San Juan del Sur are ranked as some of the best for surfing in the world.
The country has the two largest lakes in Central America: Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua, the second largest lake in America after Lake Titicaca in Peru. It is home to the Lake Nicaragua shark, the world's only freshwater shark, which has intrigued scientists for decades.
Scientists realized in the 1960s that Lake Nicaragua sharks, originally considered an endemic species, were bull sharks that jumped the rapids of the San Juan River into the Caribbean Sea.
Ometepe, an island made up of twin volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua, is the world's largest volcanic island in a freshwater lake.
Concepción, a majestic active cone-shaped volcano looms over the northern half of Ometepe, while the extinct Maderas volcano dominates the southern half.
There are forty volcanoes in Nicaragua, some of which are still active. While the country's history of volcanic activity has resulted in lush vegetation and high-quality soil for agriculture, past volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have caused severe damage in areas of the country, including Managua.
There are two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nicaragua: the Cathedral of León, which is the largest cathedral in Central America, and the ruins of León Viejo, built-in 1524 and abandoned in 1610 for fear of the Momotombo volcano eruption.
Plans for a Nicaraguan Canal
The southwestern shore of Lake Nicaragua is only 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean at its shortest point. In the early 1900s, plans were made to create the Nicaragua Canal across the Isthmus of Rivas to link the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. Instead, the Panama Canal was built. However, plans to create the Nicaragua Canal are still being considered.
Social and Economic Problems
Poverty remains a serious problem in Nicaragua, which is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti. With a population of around 6 million, almost half live in rural areas and 25% live in the capital, Managua.
According to the Human Development Index, in 2012, Nicaragua's per capita income was approximately US $ 2,430 and 48% of the country's population lived below the poverty line. But the country's economy has continuously improved since 2011, with a 4.5% increase in the per capita gross domestic product index in 2015 alone. Nicaragua is the first country in the Americas to adopt polymer banknotes as currency, the Cordoba from Nicaragua.
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