- Population: 6.6 million
- Area: 127,849 km2
- Climate: From cool coastal and mountains to tropical rainforest
- Capital: Managua
- Currency: Córdoba
- People: 86% Ladino (Mixed Race/Spanish), 9% African Descent, 5% Indigenous
- Main Language: Spanish
- Religion: 97% Christian (30% evangelical), 3% Other faiths/none
Nicaragua is the largest Central American republic but has a relatively low population, particularly on the eastern side of the country towards the Caribbean coast, which has a wetter climate. The mountainous central belt is colder and humid.
Hurricane Mitch in 1998 was a traumatic event for Nicaragua when 9,000 people died and over 2 million were left homeless, casting a shadow over future development due to the risk of further natural disasters.
Nicaragua is economically the second poorest country in Latin America. Plentiful natural resources make it potentially wealthy, but many years of political turmoil and natural disasters have had a lasting impact.
It is principally an agricultural economy producing cotton, coffee, sugar cane, bananas, maize and sesame. Livestock farming, fishing and mining also play a part.
Dictatorships in the 19th and 20th centuries were replaced by the leftist Sandinista regime in the 1980s. After a revolution in 1979, the Sandinistas began redistributing property and made huge progress in the spheres of health and education, but the USA launched a sustained campaign of embargoes and armed subversion.
Governments since have struggled to make progress among the many challenges, including the conflict associated with being on the drug trafficking route to the USA. Left-wing Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega made his political comeback in November 2006 and was recently re-elected as president for his third consecutive five-year term.
Nicaragua has a diverse ethnic mix. The majority are mestizos or white; 9 per cent are of African descent; and 5 per cent are from indigenous groups, the largest being the Miskito. The African and indigenous populations are concentrated in the thinly settled eastern lowlands, where they are the dominant group.
Nicaragua is primarily Spanish-speaking. Several indigenous peoples on the Caribbean coast still use their native language. There is also an English-speaking community, mainly on the Caribbean coast.
Culturally Nicaragua is Catholic, with diverse Protestant denominations reaching some 20 per cent of the population. Nicaraguans of African descent, known as Creoles, dominate the towns along the Caribbean coast. Coming from the British West Indies, they speak English and are largely Protestants.
The Latin Link team currently works in community development, Bible teaching and training, biblical counselling and discipleship.
There are urgent basic needs, such as clean water, electricity and balanced nutrition; hygiene and school education are rarely guaranteed, and opportunities for ground-level, social-action employment training. Various church-based opportunities are possible, like social action, leadership training, discipleship and biblical counselling.
For more information, please see the Opportunities page of our International website (this will open a new tab).