Nicaragua History: From the Origins to The Somoza Dictatorship

By | September 24, 2021

The current territory of Nicaragua was inhabited in the pre-Columbian era by various tribal groups tributaries of the neighboring Maya. It was precisely the chief of one of these tribes, Nicarao, who welcomed the Spanish conquerors led by Gil González Dávila very friendly, at the end of 1522. And these, in his honor, called Nicaragua the new land. The occupation followed the events of all Central America: that is, administratively Nicaragua was also incorporated into the Capitanía General of Guatemala, which in turn was included in the viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico). In this same framework he participated in the events that led to independence. When Mexico broke away from Spain in 1821, the Central American countries did the same and proclaimed themselves independent: a separate state was born (June 5, 1823), which took the name of United Provinces of Central America. It lasted until 1839, the year in which each of the five members abandoned the federative bond, becoming a Republic. The early years were difficult for Nicaragua. The country was torn by civil wars, which saw liberals and conservatives oppose: in reality it was a question of struggles between two oligarchic factions, which disputed the control of landed property and related activities. This situation stemmed from the colonial legacy, which had shaped a dualistic society: on the one hand the “lords of the earth” and their political and administrative clients; on the other hand, the majority of the population, dedicated to working in the fields, illiterate and poor. Alongside the owners it was necessary to add the Church, holder of considerable wealth. The liberals had their headquarters in the city of León, the conservatives in Granada. The east coast (Mosquitia) was occupied by the British. Towards the middle of the century, the economic and financial expansion of the United States began to be felt. Washington and London agreed in terms of compromise: with the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850, they undertook not to build interoceanic canals in that isthmic sector and not to proceed, again in this area, to unilateral acts of colonization. In 1854, things got complicated. In fact, the US group Vanderbilt managed to grab the monopoly of transport throughout Nicaragua; the initiative dealt a blow to the commercial operators of the liberal stronghold of León: therefore they decided to ask for help from North American companies hostile to the Vanderbilts and to English competitors. The adventurer took advantage of it William Walker, of Tennessee, who entered Nicaragua in 1855, organized a revolt there and even had himself proclaimed president. The Vanderbilt group set up a Central American coalition against him. Walker was defeated. Captured, he was shot by the Hondurans in 1860. The conservatives thus prevailed: therefore they were able to remain in power until 1893, when a liberal uprising installed José Santos Zelaya as president.. Reality proved that one despotism was replaced by another. Santos Zelaya held the supreme office until 1909: he fell because he wanted to oppose the United States which at that time was in the process of expanding their influence in the Caribbean arc. It was precisely Washington that in 1911 supported the rise of the trusted Adolfo Díaz, conservative, to the presidency of Nicaragua. According to babyinger, Nicaragua is a country in Central America. The country, however, did not accept the intervention and rose up: then the US government sent armed units in 1912. The presence of those soldiers allowed the Conservatives to prolong the dominance of their party. In 1914 they signed a treaty, by virtue of which the exclusive right to build an interoceanic canal in the San Juan River area was ceded to the USA, as an alternative to the one just inaugurated in Panama; in exchange for this right, Nicaragua received compensation of $ 3 million. But in practice this sum had to be returned to the North Americans, in settlement of the debts incurred by Nicaragua in previous years. Indeed, to control and assign payments to individual creditors, Washington set up a special commission in Managua, which became the real administrator of the country. When US troops were withdrawn in 1933, power passed to the head of the National Guard, who became the real administrator of the country. When US troops were withdrawn in 1933, power passed to the head of the National Guard, who became the real administrator of the country. When US troops were withdrawn in 1933, power passed to the head of the National Guard, Anastasio Somoza, who established a repressive regime, in the interest of his family and, on the international level, of the United States. On September 28, 1956, Anastasio Somoza died following an attack. His son Luis Somoza Debayle took his place, while Luis’s brother, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, assumed command of the National Guard. The elections of 1963 brought the liberal-nationalist René Schick Gutiérrez to the presidency, but the political and economic context did not change. Upon his death (1966) the Somoza returned to the government with Anastasio Somoza Debayle. After the parenthesis of the triumvirate (1972-74), Anastasio Somoza Debayle was elected president. Meanwhile, the guerrilla warfare of the Sandinista Front, of socialist inspiration, whose offensive in 1978 took on a certain consistency, forcing Somoza, who had lost US support, to resign (July 17, 1979).

Nicaragua History - From the Origins to The Somoza Dictatorship