Nicaragia, a republic of Central America, lying between lat. 10° 45' and 14° 55' N., and lon. 83° 15' and 87° 38' W., bounded N. by Honduras, E. by the Caribbean sea, S. by Costa Rica, and W. by the Pacific ocean; area, about 58,000 sq. m.; pop. now estimated as low as 250,000. Capital, Managua. The N. boundary line with Honduras is unsettled, but the Coco river is generally considered as the separating line. Nicaragua has nearly the form of an isosceles triangle, whose base is Costa Rica and the Pacific coast, and whose apex is at the mouth of the Coco river. The E. coast, which lies nearly N. and S., embraces the shore of the Caribbean sea from the mouth of that river to that of the San Juan river, about 280 m. Its southern part, from the delta of the San Juan to Monkey point, has dense forests and bold rocky headlands, the mountain ranges approaching close to the water. Most of the streams here are short, shallow, and rapid. Beyond Monkey point the mountains recede inland, and the country near the sea is flat and alluvial, forming broad savannas, which arc intersected where the rivers traverse them by belts of forest.

Off the coast are numerous coral keys and sandy islets, the principal of which are the Pearl islands, numbering 15 or 20; and within the coast line are many lagoons with densely wooded shores and connected by channels, which in the wet season furnish interior navigation from Bluefields lagoon to Cape Gracias. Pearl lagoon, the largest, covers an area of 200 sq. m. The bar at its entrance has but 8 ft. of water. It receives the waters of the little lake Tapac and of two or three small rivers. Near its S. end is Hog island. Blue-fields lagoon, which covers a surface of 100 sq. m., has hilly shores on the west. Within its entrance, about 5 m. from the mouth of the Blue-fields river, lies Casa-daisland, and opposite it, on the W. coast of the lagoon, is the town of Bluefields, formerly the capital of the Mosquito kingdom. The lagoon has from 4 to 6 fathoms of water, but the bar at its mouth has but 10 or 12 ft. The Mico, Escondido, or Bluefields river, and a number of smaller streams, flow into it. All the lagoons are brackish in the rainy season and salt in the dry.

Other rivers on the Atlantic coast, besides the San Juan, are: Indio, Rama, Grande or Awaltara, Prinzapulka, Wawa, Brackma, Duckraw, Coco, and Wanks or Segovia. All these are rough and rapid near their sources, but smoother as they approach the sea. Most of them have different names inland. The Grande rises in the sierra of Gua-guali in Matagalpa, and has a course of about 230 m., the last 90 m. of which has a depth of 15 ft., but there is a dangerous bar at its mouth. The Coco is the longest river in Central America, having a course of about 350 m. from its source in the mountains of Segovia. There are many rapids in its upper part, but it is navigable for small steamers for about 140 m. from its mouth. The only port of Nicaragua on the Atlantic is San Juan del Norte, also called San Juan de Nicaragua and Greytown, at the mouth of the San Juan river. By treaty with Great Britain, it has been a free port since 18G0. The San Juan river receives a large part of the drainage of both Nicaragua and Costa Rica, its watershed extending to within a few miles of the Pacific. In the rainy season it pours out a very large volume of water, and vast quantities of earth and silt, which have formed an extensive delta, through which it seeks the sea by three channels, the Colorado, the Taura, and the San Juan. The last was formerly the main channel, but a few years ago a flood enlarged the Colorado channel, and seven eighths of the water now flows through it, in consequence of which the harbor of San Juan has filled with sand.

Ships now have to lie outside of the bar, which is very dangerous for even small boats in heavy weather, while the bar at the mouth of the Colorado has 12 ft. of water in the dry season. The obvious remedy would be to remove the town to the latter channel, but unfortunately for Nicaragua it is in Costa Rican territory. With its windings the San Juan is 120 m. long. The largest of its numerous affluents are the San Carlos and the Sarapiqui, both rising in the highlands of Costa Rica. The streams entering it from the north are all small. The width of the San Juan varies from 100 to 400 yards, and its depth from 2 to 20 ft. It is interrupted by five rapids, two of which form natural dams across the river. The San Juan derives its chief importance from the fact that it is the only possible course for the Atlantic section of the proposed Siearaguan interoceanic canal. It was indicated as one of the four possible routes by Gomara in 1551. In 1781 the route was surveyed, by order of the Spanish government, by Don Manuel Galisteo; in 1838 by John Baily for the government of Central America; and in 1851 by Col. Childs under the direction of the "Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company." Several concessions have been made to different parties for the construction of a canal, but no practical operations have ever been undertaken.

In 1873 and 1874 the route was again thoroughly surveyed by a party under the charge of Commander Lull for the United States government - The W. coast of Nicaragua is about 200 m. long, and has a general N. W. and S. E. direction. It is nearly straight, and has but few inlets. At its S. extremity is the bay of Salinas, the N. shore of which belongs to Nicaragua and the remainder to Costa Rica. The harbors of San Juan del Sur, Brito, and Tamarinda are small and insecure. About lat. 12° 25' is the bay of Corinto, formed on the south by a long peninsula and on the north by the island of Aserradores, on the end of which is the town of Corinto (lat. 12° 28' N., lon. 87° 12' W.), the principal port of Nicaragua on the Pacific. On the mainland, N. E. of it, is Realejo, once a good port, but now almost destroyed by the growth of the mangrove trees, which are rapidly tilling it up. On the most northerly part of this coast the peninsula of Chinandega forms the bay of Fonseca, the shores of which are divided between Nicaragua, Honduras, and San Salvador. At the S. E. end of the bay is the Estero Real, a long arm of the sea forming an estuary for several small rivers, of which the Villanueva is the largest.

The Estero is 300 yards wide, has three fathoms of water at 30 m. from its mouth, and is free from impediments to navigation; yet Nicaragua has but two small ports in it, Playa Grande and Tempisque. - From 10 to 20 m. back from the coast line, and running nearly parallel to it, is a range of mountains, sometimes rising in high volcanic cones, and sometimes subsiding into low hills and plains of slight elevation. It seems to have been the principal line of volcanic action, and in Nicaragua is marked by the volcanoes of Cosegiiina (3,835 ft.), Chon-co, Vic-jo (6.266), Santa Clara, Telica (4,190), Orota (2,005), Las Pilas (3,985), Asososca, Momotombo (7,200), Momotombita, Chilte-peque (2.800,, Masaya (2,972), Mombacho (4,588), Zapotera (2,000), Ometepe (5,350), and Madera (4,190). Of these, Cosegiiina is remarkable for its famous eruption in 1835, when it scattered ashes over a circle 1,500 m. in diameter. Santa Clara and Telica were in eruption at the time of the conquest. A few of these peaks are still active, but most of them have long been extinct. There are many smaller extinct craters in the chain, surrounded by vast beds of lava and scoriae, and numerous vents called infiemillos, which emit smoke and sulphurous vapors.

Nearly parallel to this range is a second mountain chain, the backbone of the continent and the true Cordillera, which enters from Honduras into the department of Segovia, and extends S. E. to the San Juan river about 50 m. above its mouth. There are several volcanic peaks in this range. It sends out numerous spurs toward the Atlantic, between which are the valleys of the streams flowing into the Caribbean sea. The principal of these subordinate ranges are the cordillera of Dipilto, which forms a part of the boundary line of Honduras, the Yali and Yeluca mountains between the departments of Segovia and Matagalpa, the Huapi range in Chontales, and the cordillera of Yolaina, which ends at Monkey point on the Mosquito coast. Between these two principal ranges of mountains lies a great interior basin, the plain of Nicaragua, about 300 m. long by 100 m. wide, containing the beautiful lakes of Nicaragua and Managua. (See Managua, and Nicaragua, Lake.) Nicaragua is thus divided into three zones: the most easterly one, between the main mountain range and the Atlantic, a country of almost unbroken forest; the central one, between the two chains, composed of grassed savannas and the lakes; and the western, which skirts the Pacific, a country of rich and fertile soil.

The sole outlet of the central basin and of the lakes which occupy it is the San Juan river, which flows from the S. E. end of Lake Nicaragua. - The mountain regions of N. Nicaragua are connected geologically with the metalliferous region of Honduras. In Segovia the rocks are generally quartz and gneiss, succeeded in many places by overlying, highly inclined, and contorted schists, with small quartz veins running through their laminae. Near Ocotal are un-stratified beds of gravel, sometimes from 200 to 300 ft. thick, consisting mostly of quartz sand with numerous angular blocks of quartz and talcose schist. Many of these bowlders are large, some of them 15 ft. in diameter. There are many evidences throughout this region of glacial action. Silver is found in many places, but few mines are worked; those at Dipilto are now closed. There arc mines also at Jalapa, Jicaro, and Macuelizo. In Chontales are rich auriferous quartz lodes in fissure veins, running generally, E. and W., and cutting nearly vertically through beds of do-lerite. These veins vary greatly in thickness, a lode sometimes widening from 1 to 17 ft. in 100 yards. The gold is a natural alloy, containing about three parts of gold to one of silver.

Sulphide of silver, peroxide of magnesia, peroxide of iron, sulphides of iron and copper, and occasionally ores of lead, are also found in the lodes. The mining centre of Chontales is at Libertad, in the vicinity of which more than 300 gold mines have been discovered, and several are profitably worked by English, German, and Erench companies. Copper, iron, lead, tin, zinc, and antimony are found in Chontales, Matagalpa, and Segovia, and quicksilver in Chontales. A kind of brown coal has been discovered also in Chontales, but the deposits remain undeveloped. Limestone, marble, alabaster, alum, sulphur, nitre, and other minerals abound in the mountainous districts. - The climate, except among the mountains of Segovia and Chontales, is essentially tropical. The N. E. part is very damp. The rains commence in May, and continue with occasional intermission till January, when a short dry season of three months begins. Even then rain sometimes falls, and the ground in the woods is always moist and the brooks are perennial. The heaviest rains are in July and August. In September, October, and November there are spells of fine weather, lasting sometimes a fortnight.

In the Nicaragua basin the wet season lasts generally from May to November. The rains occasionally last several days, but generally the showers occur late in the afternoon or at night. Weeks often elapse without a cloud. The temperature is very equable, preserving a nearly uniform range of from 78° to 88° F., occasionally sinking to 70° in the night and rising to 90° in the afternoon. During the dry season the temperature is lower, the nights are cool, and the winds sometimes chilling. Rain falls at rare intervals. The fields become parched and dry, and in the towns the dust becomes almost insufferable. This is the most healthful season, its effects being practically that of a northern winter. The climate of the Pacific coast is essentially that of the central zone. - The soil of Nicaragua is very rich, particularly on the Pacific slope, where all the plants and fruits of the tropics thrive abundantly. The central zone is essentially a pasturage country, and supports large herds of cattle, mules, and horses. Great numbers of cattle also are raised on the savannas of the Atlantic coast, which is generally uncultivated.

In Segovia, Matagalpa, and Chontales are large cattle estates, but little care is taken in breeding, and when unusually dry seasons occur the animals die by hundreds. The amount of cultivated land is relatively small, but is ample for the support of the population. Among the staples which grow to perfection are cacao, sugar, cotton, coffee, indigo, rice, tobacco, and maize. The cacao of Granada and Rivas is said to be among the best grown, and there are large plantations of it in those departments. The sugar cane is smaller and softer than the Asiatic varieties, but richer in juice. Two crops a year, and with irrigation three, are taken, and the cane requires replanting but once in 12 or 14 years. Excellent cotton is grown, but little is now exported. Coffee is cultivated in Chontales and on the Pacific coast, and is exported to some extent. Indigo was once extensively cultivated, but the annual product is now comparatively small. The plant from which it is made is the jiquilite (indigo/era disperma). Maize, which is the principal food of the natives, is very prolific. It is planted in May and harvested in September; and a second crop, planted in December, is gathered in April. Wheat and barley grow in the elevated districts of Segovia and Chontales, and rice is raised in the lowlands.

Tropical fruits and vegetables of many kinds abound. The most important commercial vegetable productions are caoutchouc, sarsaparilla, annotto, aloes, ginger, vanilla, ipecacuanha, arrowroot, copal, cowhage, gum arabic, copaiba, and dragon's blood. Nicaragua is especially rich in valuable woods. Besides many kinds of timber trees, there are of cabinet woods the mahogany, rosewood, granadillo, and ronron; of dye woods, Nicaragua wood, logwood, fustic, sandal (santalum rubrnm), moran (morus tinctoria), quercitron, and nanzite (Malpi-ghia punicifolia); of medicinal trees, the copaiba, liquidambar, balsam of Peru, cascarilla, cinchona, and sassafras. Other valuable commercial trees are the castilloa elastica, from which India rubber is made, the gutta percha tree (sapota bassia), dragon's blood, quillay, nacascolo (Cccsalpinia coriaria), bixa Orellana, and several which produce gums. Along the rivers the trees grow close to the water's edge, supporting flowering vines, which cover the highest tops and form a wall of sweet-smelling flowers of every hue.

Among the wild animals are the black and spotted jaguar, the puma, ocelot, tapir, two species of deer, wild boar, peccary, capybara (hydroclwrus capyba-ra), coyote, sloth, fox, several species of monkeys, manatee or sea cow, porcupine, armadillo, coney, opossum, weasel, skunk, and bat. The rivers and swamps abound with alligators and iguanas. The latter, which are frequently 3 ft. long, are eaten by the Indians. There are also many other species of lizards, among them a venomous one. Snakes are numerous, but not many are venomous. The coral snake, marked with rings of yellow, black, and red, is said to be fatally venomous, as is also the bite of a small yellow snake about 8 in. long. A species of boa, sometimes 15 or 16 ft. long, is occasionally found. On the coast are many wading and aquatic birds, among which the pelican, white crane, and brown jacana are most conspicuous. Other indigenous birds are the curassow, eagle, hawk, egret, vulture, turkey buzzard, grouse, pigeon, duck, parrot, trogon, toucan, tanager, motmot, macaw, quail, oriole, many species of the humming bird, and others less known. In the interior is sometimes found the quesal (trogon resplenidens), the royal bird of the Aztecs. Altogether 150 species of birds have been classified.

The forests abound with insects, among which are numerous species of butterflies, 13 of honey bees, and more than 300 of longicorn beetles. Mosquitoes swarm in all damp places, and wasps are numerous and troublesome. There are many varieties of the ecitons, or foraging ants, which move in large armies and live on other insects, larvae, and the young of birds.

Nicaragia 1200189

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* | ~. i: is . ' 11 _..:._ 4 road in its widest part, its general form being an el-lipse whose greater axis lies nearly N. W. and S E It has an elevation of 129 ft. above low tide in the Pacific, from which it is separated by a range of low hills, which at one place are only about 48 ft. above the lake level.. The distance between it and the Pacific, at the nearest point, is about 11 m.; between it and the Atlantic, 65 m. It is 28 ft. lower than Lake Managua, with which it is connected by the Rio Tipitapa or Estero de Panaloya. Many streams empty into it. On the east the principal of these are the Tule, Camastro, Tepenaguasapa, Oyate, Ojucuapa, Acoyapa, Mayales, Tecolostote, and Malacatoya; on the west, the Ochomogo, Gil Gonzales, Las Lajas, and Sapoa; on the south, the Tortuga, Negro, Viejo, Zapotero, Nino, and Frio. The largest is the Rio Frio, which rises in the Guatuzos mountains in Costa Rica. The sole outlet of the lake is the San Juan, which leaves it at its S. E. extremity and flows into the Atlantic. It has numerous islands, the principal of which are Ometepe and Zapotera. Ometepe, which belongs to the department of Rivas, is 20 m. long, and consists of two parts connected by a narrow isthmus.

On the N. part are the volcano of Ometepe and the Indian villages of Alta Gracia and Moyogalpa; on the S. part, the volcano of Madera. The island of Zapotera, which belongs to the department of Granada, is nearly 6 m. long, and is the base of the volcano of Zapotera. It is not now inhabited, but numerous ruins show that it was peopled in ancient times. At the S. end of the lake is the archipelago of Solentiname, now deserted, but susceptible of cultivation. Other smaller groups are the San Bernardo and Nan-zital, on the E. coast, and Las Isletas or Los Corales, near Granada on the W. coast. There are more than 100 of the latter, which lie at the foot of the volcano of Mombacho. The principal harbors on the lake are Granada and the Charco Muerto, the latter a fine bay between the island of Zapotera and the coast. Other ports are San Jorge and La Virgen on the W. coast, and San Carlos, San Miguelito, San Ubaldo, Los Cocos, and several smaller ones, on the E. coast. In its deepest part Lake Nicaragua has about 45 fathoms of water, but its depth is very variable, and near its outlet it does not exceed from 10 ft.; at a proper distance from the coasts and islands its depth is ample for all purposes of navigation. It has currents, but they are weak; their general direction is not known.

When the N. E. trade winds blow from the Caribbean sea, the waves roll high, and the water is piled up on the S. shore, sometimes overflowing the low lands. These trade winds are intermittent, and the waters rise with them in the evening and fall with them in the morning, which gave rise to the notion entertained by the early chroniclers that the lake had a tide. Lake Nicaragua forms a part of the course of the proposed interoce-amc canal, via the San Juan river and Lake Managua, and its waters are amply sufficient to supply the summit levels of a canal of any dimensions demanded by the exigencies of commerce. The lake, which was called Coci-bolca by the natives, was discovered in 1521 by the Spaniards, who called it Nicarao agua, after an Indian cacique whose village stood on its western shore.