Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is a representative democratic republic. It is the largest country in Central America with an area of 130,373 km2. The country is bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west of the country, the Caribbean Sea to the east.
Falling within the tropics, Nicaragua sits between 11 degrees and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere. Nicaragua's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems contribute to Mesoamerica's designation as a biodiversity hotspot. The capital city of Nicaragua is Managua. Roughly one quarter of the nation's population lives in the Nicaraguan capital, making it the second largest city in Central America.
The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established the Viceroyalty of New Spain. After achieving independence in 1821, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of relative economic, social and economic maturity and development.
The population in Nicaragua, reaching almost 6 million, is multiethnic. Segments of the population includes indigenous native tribes from the Mosquito Coast, Europeans, Africans, Asians and people of Middle Eastern origin. The main language is Spanish, although native tribes on the western coast speak their native languages. The mixture of cultural traditions has cultivated a substantial amount of diversity in art, cuisine, literature, and music.