Map - Chontales Department (Departamento de Chontales)

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Chontales Department (Departamento de Chontales)

Chontales is a department in Nicaragua. It covers an area of 6,481.27 km² and has a population of 182,000 (2005 census). The capital is Juigalpa.

History According to archaeological data, the first Chontal tribes populated these areas between 600 and 630 of the Christian era. It is known that these tribes were hardened and were one of the last to be subdued by the Spaniards during the conquest of Nicaraguan territory.

There is no official record on the foundation of the department of Chontales, but it was in fact one of the 7 departments that the country owned in the 19th century. The city of Juigalpa, departmental head, presents a historical record of many centuries, and although this population already existed as an indigenous settlement, it is only mentioned in the year 1659, when the mayor of that time, Don Jerónimo de Villegas, requests land from Spanish representatives settled in Guatemala. On April 24, 1668, the date of foundation of this city and perhaps of the department as such can be considered, since at that time such request was approved.

The chontales The Pacific lands of Nicaragua, had all the wealth desired by the Spanish conquerors, except the coveted gold, which was obtained as barter or spoils of war against the Chontal neighbors, a town that had been evicted from the region towards the less fertile mountains from the center of the country by groups that came from the north.

Etymology The Chontales, which in Nahuatl language Chontalli means "foreigners or barbarians"; they were not the original inhabitants of the region, but a foreign people who migrated to these lands in 1300. Before this date, Chontales was considered as a peripheral region to the Great Nicoya, where they had commercial relations and exchange of pottery; These were the so-called Nahoas or Aztecarians, Mexican tribes who emigrated from northern Central America; and that their gods, economy and food based on corn inherited us. They are the inhabitants of the Great Nicoya and the Spaniards who in the years 1300 - 1500 denominate with the derogatory name of chontales to that migration of the 1300 that brought a rustic culture, inferior to that of the Mexican tribes and the Great Nicoya. Possibly this group was from Mexicans of Mayan Tabasco culture or from Oaxaca. The Mexican and Spanish nations considered the Chontales as barbarians or outsiders, despite being usurpers of the land.

The chorotegas expel the chontales from the Pacific The chorotegas or mangues, originating in Cholula in Mexico, were evicted from the center of this country towards the mountains of Chiapas, where they were also tried, opting to continue their exodus until they were located in the territories between the gulfs of Fonseca (Northern Nicaragua) and Nicoya (Southern Costa Rica), in 800. When occupying the plains next to the lakes of Nicaragua, the chorotegas expelled other tribes previously settled in the place called chontales, which were pushed towards the central plateaus of the present country, and the corobicíes, that found refuge in the volcanic mountain range of Guanacaste.

The Chontal region In the mountain range north of the lakes and volcanoes, and towards the peninsula of Cosigüina, the dreaded Chontales lived, whom the chorotegas and Nicaraguans described as rude and choppy (popoluca) people, and with whom they sustained continuous wars. Remaining populations were the guaxenicos (in the area of El Sauce, Achuapa and Limay), the olomegas and olocotones (north of the Maribios mountain range) and the tacachos of Yacacoyagua, neighbors of Subtiava.

Gastronomy Indigenous dishes

Within the native chontal dishes, there are:

Uliche: Pre-Hispanic dish, perhaps the oldest of the typical dishes of Tabasco, which is prepared mainly for the day of the dead and in prayers in rural communities, although it can be consumed any other day, and consists of broth made from whipped dough and water, with turkey or beef with bone, boiled, to which is added an onion, tomato, sweet pepper and garlic stew, already served, put pumpkin seeds and amashito chili to taste. 

Map - Chontales Department (Departamento de Chontales)

Latitude / Longitude : 12° 4' 60" N / 85° 10' 0" W | Time zone : UTC+-6 | Currency : NIO | Telephone : 505  

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Country - Nicaragua

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Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua , is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.

Originally inhabited by various indigenous cultures since ancient times, the Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. Nicaragua gained independence from Spain in 1821. The Mosquito Coast followed a different historical path, with the English colonizing it in the 17th century and later coming under the British rule, as well as some minor Spanish interludes in the 19th century. It became an autonomous territory of Nicaragua in 1860 and the northernmost part of it was later transferred to Honduras in 1960. Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship, occupation and fiscal crisis, leading to the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and the Contra War of the 1980s.
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