Title: The Republic of Nicaragua

Population: 6,243,931

Population Change: 1.21

National Average Age: 26

Urban Percentage: 57

Christian Population: 5,217,000

Christian Percentage: 84.6

Introduction: Nicaragua set between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea is a Central American nation known for its dramatic terrain of lakes volcanoes and beaches. Vast Lake Managua and the iconic stratovolcano Momotombo sit north of the capital Managua. To its south is Granada noted for its Spanish colonial architecture and an archipelago of navigable islets rich in tropical bird life.

Overview: The Pacific coast of Nicaragua was settled as a Spanish colony from Panama in the early 16th century. Independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and the country became an independent republic in 1838. Britain occupied the Caribbean Coast in the first half of the 19th century but gradually ceded control of the region in subsequent decades. Violent opposition to governmental manipulation and corruption spread to all classes by 1978 and resulted in a short-lived civil war that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerrillas to power in 1979. Nicaraguan aid to leftist rebels in El Salvador prompted the US to sponsor anti-Sandinista contra guerrillas through much of the 1980s. After losing free and fair elections in 1990 1996 and 2001 former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA Saavedra was elected president in 2006 and reelected in 2011. The 2008 municipal elections 2010 regional elections 2011 presidential election 2012 municipal elections and 2013 regional elections were marred by widespread irregularities. Nicaragua's infrastructure and economy - hard hit by the earlier civil war and by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 - are slowly being rebuilt but democratic institutions have been weakened under the ORTEGA administration.