The History of Nicaragua

by Clifford L. Staten


Speaking of his upbringing, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega once said, "We were anti-Coca-Cola, anti-comic book, against everything good and bad represented by the United States, except baseball." Since taking office in January 2007, Ortega has continued to reject both capitalism and the United States, which he refers to as the imperial power.

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Cover image for The History of Nicaragua

May 2010


Pages 175
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Politics and Government

This concise history of Nicaragua provides the reader with a history of the ways in which key political and economic factors have contributed to the creation of the modern nation.

Notwithstanding Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's disdain for the United States, our nation has played a significant role in shaping Nicaraguan nationalism, as well as the country's political, economic, and social systems. The History of Nicaragua was written, in part, to help students and other interested readers understand that relationship, providing them with an up-to-date, concise, and analytical history of the Central American nation.

The book begins by describing the people, geography, culture, and current political, economic, and social systems of Nicaragua. The remainder of the volume is devoted to a chronological history, emphasizing recurring themes or factors that have shaped the modern state. These include the importance of elite families such as the Somoza dynasty that ruled for more than 40 years. Other topics include the agro-export model of economic development, modern Nicaraguan nationalism, the Sandinista revolution and its legacy, and the democratic transition that began in 1990.


  • Provides a bibliographic essay of the most current print and electronic resources to promote further research
  • Includes biographic sketches of key figures who have played important roles in Nicaragua's history


  • Introduces readers who have little or no knowledge of Nicaragua to the nation's history and the role the United States has played in that history
  • Focuses on factors that have shaped modern Nicaragua, including the influence of key families and the agro-export model of economic development
  • Explores the legacy of the Sandinista revolution and Nicaragua's transition to democracy
Series Description

The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations

Every school and public library should update its resources with these engagingly written and succinct narrative histories of the world's nations covering prehistoric times through today. Based on the most recent scholarship, each history provides a chronological narrative examining the political, cultural, philosophical, and religious continuities in the featured nation's long, rich history in an exploration of how its people came to be who they are today. Each volume includes a chronological narrative history, a timeline of events, biographical sketches of key figures, a glossary, and a bibliographic essay.
Author Info

Clifford L. Staten, PhD, is professor of political science and international studies and dean of the School of Social Sciences at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, IN. He is the author of Greenwood's The History of Cuba.



"This reference and resource on Nicaragua is for general readers and students in high school and up. An introduction to the country and its people covers geography, culture and society, the political system, the economy, and the country's future. The rest of the book offers a chronological history emphasizing recurring themes and factors that have shaped the modern state, such as the agro-export model of economic development, nationalism, and the Sandinista revolution. After an overview of ancient times, coverage encompasses the colonial period and early independence, the coffee boom, the rise and fall of the Somoza dynasty, the revolutionary years (1979-1990), and the road to democracy (1990-present). Other features included a timeline of historical events, a list of acronyms, notes on 20 important people, and a bibliographic essay."Reference & Research Book News

"Staten opens this indispensable guide with a chronology of Nicaraguan history and follows with six chapters expanding on these historical details, from precolonization through the revolution and into its democratic present. Other chapter essays beautifully illuminate the country and its people, while still another segment profiles notable Nicaraguan figures. In lieu of a standard bibliography, a bibliographical essay—spatially condensed and consequently somewhat less accessible—details further reading titles. This represents a meticulous, more historically focused update to and broadening of Hazel Plunkett's 2001 Nicaragua in Focus (2d ed.) and will prove a vital resource to Mesoamerican scholarship."Library Journal

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