Granada ,.I. A AY. department of Nicaragua, between Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua, and bordering on the Pacific; area, 2,943 sq. m.; pop. about 56.000. The general aspect of this department is that of an extensive table land, with a gentle descent toward the lakes and steep acclivities on the side of the Pacific. A low central chain of mountains divides the country into almost equal portions, the northern and western being essentially volcanic, though cultivated in every direction and densely populated, in spite of the great scarcity of water. Among the numerous volcanoes are Mombarho, Masaya. Madera, and Ometepe, on the beautiful island of Zapatera, in Lake Nicaragua. A few of the volcanoes are still active, but the most recent serious eruption was that of Masaya in 1858. Besides the two large lakes, there are several small ones having no visible outlet. There are no navigable rivers. The mineral productions are abundant, and many mineral springs exist. II. A city, capital of the department, on the W. shore of Lake Nicaragua, 27 m. S. E. of Managua; pop. about 10,000. The streets are irregular and unpaved. There are three ancient churches. On the lake side stand the remains of the old fortifications of the city.
A company was formed in 1872 for raising the water of the lake to the city by machinery, the elevation being 58 ft. The hospital is in a dilapidated condition, and one wing is used as a prison for females. The university courses are held in the halls of the ancient cloister of San Francisco. The situation of Granada is unequalled in a commercial point of view by any other inland town in Central America, but its trade is at a low ebb, although the products of several departments concentrate here for shipment by the lake steamers, which leave twice or thrice a month, and reach the Atlantic through the Rio San Juan. The town was founded in 1523, and was in the latter part of the 17th century repeatedly plundered and partially destroyed by buccaneers. The usurper Chamorro having taken refuge here, the democrats besieged the city from May, 1854, to February, 1855. After the death of Chamorro, in 1855, the filibuster William "Walker took the city by surprise, burned it, and established a provisional government which lasted till 1857, when Granada was retaken by the united arms of San Salvador and Guatemala. A large portion of the city has been rebuilt since that time; but whole squares still lie in ruin, covered with vegetation.