National Integration and Contested Autonomy: The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

National Integration and Contested Autonomy: The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

National Integration and Contested Autonomy: The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

National Integration and Contested Autonomy: The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua

Excerpt

The Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua represents one of the first cases of regional autonomy in Latin and Central America. The region has a history of cultural and ethnic distinctiveness from the rest of Nicaragua that stretches back into the colonial era and has experienced constant demographic flux and high degrees of miscegenation that today has created a heterogeneous, pluricultural population referred to collectively as Costeños. The Miskitu, Rama and Sumu-Mayangna Indian populations of the Coast have all shared a close relationship with Afro-descendant black English-speaking Creoles whose presence in the region began with the arrival of slave-owning British colonizers. There is also a small population of Garífunas living around the Pearl Lagoon area as well as a large number of Spanish-speaking mestizos who today constitute the majority of the Coast’s population.

Unlike the rest of what was to become Nicaragua, the Caribbean Coast was colonized by the British, an encounter which is commonly cited as the foundation for Costeños’ contemporary distinctiveness from Pacific Nicaraguans. Under Spanish rule, Pacific Nicaragua shared a common experience with Spain’s other American colonies: the appropriation of land by Spanish

1 During the early stages of writing this book, the contributors discussed whether to use the term Caribbean Coast or the more traditional Atlantic Coast. Despite our agreement to use the term Caribbean Coast as a name for the region, most of us slipped back into using what is for many people the more familiar term of the Atlantic Coast. Thus the two terms are used interchangeably throughout the book.

2 Descendents of indigenous Caribbean people who intermarried with Africans.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.