Together with Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—all of which proclaimed their independence from Spain on September 15, 1821—Nicaragua celebrates its Independence Day on September 15. The president and other public figures speak during a parade in the nation’s capital, Managua. As part of the celebration of their independence, Nicaraguans watch bullfights and cockfights. But in Nicaraguan bullfights, the matador does not shoot the bull, unlike in other nations. He instead attempts to climb it and ride it in the rodeo fashion.
Nicaraguan Independence Day’s past
Since ancient times, several indigenous cultures have inhabited Nicaragua. As he sailed southeast toward the Isthmus of Panama in 1502, on his fourth journey, Christopher Columbus became the first European to reach the present-day nation of Nicaragua. On the Pacific side of Nicaragua, Columbus investigated the Mosquito Coast, but he did not come across any native inhabitants.
The first effort to capture Nicaragua was conducted by the conquistador Gil González Dávila, who’d already landed in Panama in January 1520, almost two decades later. The indigenous repulsed his assault, and in 1524, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba led a fresh expedition that resulted in the founding of the Spanish capitals of León and Granada.
The modern-day countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, as well as the Mexican state of Chiapas, all became a part of the Kingdom of Guatemala, which also consisted of Nicaragua.
Spanish juntas were established as a result of local uprisings against King Joseph, Napoleon’s brother, who had been placed as the country’s ruler by the French in 1808, as a result of Spain’s engagement in the Peninsular War in Europe.
After King Ferdinand assumed the Spanish throne, this desire for independent rule persisted, and on September 15, 1821, the Province of Guatemala proclaimed the Act of Independence of Central America.
Despite El Salvador’s objections, the areas gained independence and joined the Mexican Empire before acceding to form the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823.
The celebrations usually end with a school competition amongst bands, who perform to traditional music and rhythmic choreography. The best contestants gather in Managua for the year’s grand finale to choose the winner.
Why is Independence Day celebrated in Nicaragua?
It honors the moment when a regional congress in Guatemala City signed “The Act of Independence of Central America” on September 15, 1821. Nicaragua was fortunate in that it joined the First Mexican Empire rather than having to wage a war to gain independence.