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Managua is the capitol city of Nicaragua, located on a large lake, also named Managua. For much of the city's history it was the home to clans of the country's native Mestizo Indians. The area was claimed by the Spanish in the 16th Century after Christopher Columbus fist discovered it on his last voyage to the New World. Following the Spanish, settlers from other parts of Europe also settled in the area including the Germans and the French. The primary language in Nicaragua is Spanish, though some of the Mestizo language can still be heard.
Some years after Nicaragua won its independence from Spain in the early 19th Century, Managua was declared its capitol--in 1855. This being after years of rivalry with Nicaragua's other two large cities, Leon and Granada, who also wanted the post. The city has, throughout its past, had a history of violent earth quakes--two of the most destructive being in 1931 and 1972--both of which leveled buildings, tore up streets, and destroyed homes. Because of these dissasters the modern city is built on top of layers of ruins in an unusual, erratic pattern that can be very confusing to visitors. Many of the city's streets do not have signs and not all maps are accurate.
Today Managua is a modern Latin American city with universities, museums, and a growing tourism economy.