Nicaragua is a country in Central America. It has coastlines on both the Caribbean Sea, in the east, and the North Pacific Ocean, in the west, and has Costa Rica to the southeast and Honduras to the northwest.
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America with an area of 130,373 km2 and contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua (Lake Nicaragua) or Cocibolca. 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 and metropolitan area in Central America.
Natural disasters and the consequences of civil war have beset this largest Central American country. Volcanoes and earthquakes along the Pacific coast are a constant threat, and hurricanes hit the low-lying Caribbean coast. With the Sandinista's overthrow of Anastasio Somoza in 1979, ending his family's 42-year dictatorship, Nicaragua came under the control of a junta. Eight years of civil war between the Sandinista regime and the U.S.-funded rebels (contras) ended in 1988. Peace brought democracy, but poverty and corruption are major problems.