A History of Nicaragua

Cover of the book :NICARAGUA, Gobiernos, Gobernantes y Genealogias by Adolfo Diaz Lacayo

A new history of Nicaragua written by Adolfo Diaz Lacayo has just been published in Managua, Nicaragua. The book is more than 1,000 pages and it covers the period from 1821, when Nicaragua and the rest of the Central American countries gained their independence from Spain, to 2010.

This book is the first major effort of its kind since Gamez and Ayon published their histories of Nicaragua, which focused from prehistoric times through the “discovery” by Columbus, colonial times, through independence in 1821, and civil war and other events in the late 19th century.

Adolfo Diaz Lacayo’s book focuses on the turmoil of political events in Nicaragua from independence through occupation by U.S. marines, several coup d’etats, political pacts among rival factions, guerrilla warfare, revolutions, electoral fraud, wars and corruption that have characterized the history of Nicaragua throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century.

More than ten years in the making, this book is the result of careful and methodical research of myriad of sources and historical records plus interviews with protagonists and survivors of various events. What makes this book even more remarkable is that the author is an engineer by trade and has no formal academic training in history, but he is also a person who together with his family has been quite involved in significant historical events for more than 100 years and someone who cares deeply about this country. The book is factual and avoids taking sides on one or the other side of the numerous events and issues described and narrated in it, which is in itself a remarkable feat in a country as politicized as Nicaragua where everyone takes sides or may have an ax to grind.

This book gains in stature from the prologue written by Emilo Alvarez Montalvan a brilliant political mind in Nicaragua, a respected elder statesman and a recognized political analysts, who at 92 years of age has seen and lived his share of the events described in this book. In his prologue Mr. Alvarez Montalvan categorizes this work as a true summa historiae nicaraguensis, an assessment with which many of the readers no doubt will agree with.

Given the encyclopedic proportions of this volume this is a book that will take a while to read, but based on the several sections I have already read or perused it is clear that is a book to be savored and enjoyed. Given mine and my wife’s Nicaraguan ancestry many of the chapters in this book are about events that have involved family members on both sides. I am sure most Nicaraguans whether still living in the country or dispersed through the worldwide diaspora have a lot to learn and share by reading this book, and we should all thank Adolfo Diaz Lacayo for this major contribution to the record of our beloved and long-suffering Nicaragua. This book will become an obligatory reference for many in Nicaragua and abroad including political analysts, historians or just plain history buffs, for years to come.