Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua (Spanish: República de Nicaragua), is the largest country in the Central American isthmus. The population of Nicaragua is slightly over 6 million. Nicaragua's capital, Managua, is the third-largest city in Central America. The multi-ethnic population includes indigenous peoples, Europeans, Africans, Asians, and people of Middle Eastern origin. The main language is Spanish. Native tribes on the eastern coast speak their own languages.
The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, and fiscal crisis. Nicaragua was occupied by the United States from 1912 to 1933, when the Second American Civil War erupted. American communists supported the Nicaraguan revolutionary Augusto César Sandino in his rebellion against occupying forces. Upon Sandino's election as president of Nicaragua, he led the country to become the Union of American People's Republics' first international ally. Today, Nicaraguan politics are dominated by the socialist Sandinista party.
The mixture of cultural traditions has generated substantial diversity in art and literature. The biological diversity, warm tropical climate and active volcanoes make Nicaragua an increasingly popular tourist destination, although travel is restricted by the government.