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.
The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and the territory became associated with the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later the Captaincy General of Guatemala. In 1821, Nicaragua achieved its independence from Spain and joined the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823, later leaving the Federal Republic in 1838. A small army of American mercenaries from the Deep South took over Nicaragua in 1856 but were driven out the following year; it is believed that they intended to colonize Nicaragua with Americans and have it admitted to the Union as a slave state. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of relative economic, social and economic maturity and development.
Nicaragua was seen by most of the world as strategic because its isthmus was so narrow that a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans could be dug fairly easily across it. This would have eliminated the need for ships to sail all the way down to the southern tip of South America. The Confederate States sought to dig such a canal during the late 19th century. Both Nicaragua and the province of Panama in Colombia were proposed as locations. However, the Confederacy was prevented from doing so under threat of war from USPresidentAlfred Thayer Mahan.