University of El Salvador
The University of El Salvador or Universidad de El Salvador is the oldest and the most prominent university institutions in El Salvador. It serves as the national university of the country; the main campus, Ciudad Universitaria, is located in the capital of San Salvador, but there are branches of the university in other Salvadoran cities such as Santa Ana, San Miguel and San Vicente. In addition, there is a new branch of University of El Salvador in the municipality of Nueva Concepcion, located in the north of El Salvador; the University of El Salvador was founded on February 16, 1841, by the President Juan Lindo, as an initiative of the Gral. Francisco Malespin and the priest Crisanto Salazar, with the objective of providing a centre for further education for the Salvadoran youth. Throughout much of its existence, the university has had a precarious existence, in the earlier years characterised by lack of governmental support and funding. In the 1950s, the University of El Salvador faced opposition from the authoritarian government of the country and many of the students and university professors were victims of the military repression.
In the 1970s student uprisings took place. On July 19, 1972, the government of Colonel Arturo Armando Molina intervened at the university to suppress the student uprising with military action. During the period of occupation, that extended until the end of 1973, the university campus was occupied by troops; when the university reopened, a campaign against the university community began, accusing it to be a center of Marxist indoctrination. In the following years, hundreds of students, university professors, university authorities faced government repression, in October 1980, the university's chancellor, Felix Ulloa, was assassinated. On June 26, 1980, the University was once again occupied by the Armed Forces, having begun a period of four years in exile; the earthquake of 10 October 1986 damaged the infrastructure of the University in San Salvador. Until the end of Civil War of El Salvador, the UES underwent a period of decay. In 1991, with the election of Dr. Fabio Castillo, a period of recovery of the University began.
In the administration of Maria Isabel Rodriguez, who served from 1999–2007, the University reached out to the government, campus's infrastructure was improved. Since 2013, the University faces a critical situation due to a budget deficit of $6.5 million until 2015. On July 6, 2005 there was a student movement against the government of President Elias Antonio Saca Gonzalez for the possibility of allowing an increase in fare of public transport; the youth protest ended in a pitched battle between riot police and protesters outside the main entrance of the UES that left several people injured and property damage. A year on July 5, 2006, a new student march was carried out against the government of Antonio Saca, but this time as a sign of dissatisfaction when knowing the approval of an increase to the rate of passage city bus, which culminated in the outside the central campus of the UES, where there was a shootout between some protesters and police. In the gun battle, died two members of the National Civil Police and several riot police were injured.
This case were tried and convicted the protesters José Mario Belloso Castillo and Luis Antonio Herrador Funes as author and accomplice of the homicide of both police officers. During these events, PNC snipers were injuring a university employee and fired at the buildings of the UES; as a result of these events, the UES was closed for the next six days while the PNC raided their premises for evidence against those responsible for the death of the two riot police. By an attack armed police officers, the government of Antonio Saca directly blamed the FMLN of having planned these riots, due to the fact that the author of the shots and his accomplice were affiliated to this political party. FMLN, publicly rejected the accusation and one detached from the violent actions committed by the same militants involved in the murder of both riot police; the own president Antonio Saca retracted of having done this accusation. Meanwhile, UES split from these events and considers that the actions of the PNC violated their university autonomy.
The main faculties of the university follows: Faculty of Agronomy Faculty of Economic Sciences Faculty of Science and Humanistics Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Faculty of Engineering and Architecture Faculty of Jurisprudence and Social Sciences Faculty of Medicine Faculty of Odontology Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy Foreign Department West Multidisciplinary Faculty East Multidisciplinary Faculty Paracentral Multidisciplinary Faculty Eugenio Aguilar Juan José Cañas Fabio Castillo Figueroa Rafael Menjívar Larín María Isabel Rodríguez Official site Foundation Administration of the Academy of the Universidad of El Salvador Universidad de El Salvador library
Center for Justice and Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability is a US non-profit international human rights organization based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1998, CJA represents survivors of torture and other grave human rights abuses in cases against individual rights violators before U. S. and Spanish courts. CJA has pioneered the use of civil litigation in the United States as a means of redress for survivors from around the world; as of 2016, it has a staff of 12 employees, headed by executive director Dixon Osburn. The Center for Justice & Accountability is dedicated to ending torture and other human rights abuses while vindicating the rights of survivors to seek truth and redress. Through criminal and civil litigation, CJA works to create a record of truth and refine human rights jurisprudence, while promoting the principles of universal jurisdiction and the rule of law; the impact of CJA's casework extends beyond redress for the immediate plaintiffs and can serve as a catalyst for transitional justice movements abroad.
While CJA works to close off the United States as a safe haven for violators of human rights, the organization supports efforts to prosecute violators in national courts around the world. In August 1998, The Center for Justice & Accountability filed its first case, Mehinovic v. Vuckovic, on behalf of a Bosnian torture and detention camp survivor. Since CJA has pursued an extensive docket of human rights cases, winning favorable verdicts in all cases that have gone to trial; as of early 2009, CJA has filed high-profile cases against the following former military or political leaders who were responsible for systematic human rights abuses: Two commanders in the Peruvian military responsible for the Accomarca massacre Two heads of state of Guatemala and other senior military personnel A member of the Haitian High Command The leader of a Haitian death squad A Vice Minister of Defense of El Salvador A Prime Minister of Somalia A Defense Minister of Somalia A Honduran Chief of Military Intelligence In recognition of its accomplishments, CJA was awarded the Third Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights on October 1, 2007.
The Dodd Prize is awarded biannually by the University of Connecticut to an individual or group who has made a significant effort to advance the cause of international justice and global human rights. CJA is part of a movement of legal non-governmental organizations who use civil litigation to enforce international human rights law in the U. S. CJA's litigation draws on two principal statutes: the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victim Protection Act; these statutes grant U. S. courts jurisdiction to hear civil actions filed against perpetrators of gross human rights violations when those violations took place overseas. Since the U. S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal's landmark 1980 decision in Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, this class of civil action has opened up U. S. federal courts to the implementation of international law and human rights safeguards: In the twentieth century the international community has come to recognize the common danger posed by the flagrant disregard of basic human rights...
Among the rights universally proclaimed by all nations... is the right to be free of physical torture. Indeed, for purposes of civil liability, the torturer has become—like the pirate and slave trader before him—hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind. Our holding today... is a small but important step in the fulfillment of the ageless dream to free all people from brutal violence. The authors of International Human Rights Litigation in U. S. Courts—the authoritative manual for ATS and TVPA litigation—echo the Filartiga ruling: Although not a substitute for other means of holding perpetrators accountable, human rights litigation contributes to an important long-term objective: working toward a world in which those who commit gross violations of human rights are brought to justice swiftly, in whatever country they try to hide. Legal scholar Beth van Schaack has argued that these broader objectives place human rights litigation in line with the public impact litigation model pioneered by the American civil rights movement.
Both strategies aim to effect systemic social change through the legal process. In the majority of CJA's cases however, the primary focus remains on direct client advocacy: the needs of a client take first priority, while a case's broader impact remains a second order effect. Underpinning CJA's mission is the principle of universal jurisdiction. With roots in the ancient body of law related to piracy and slave-traders, this doctrine of international law holds that certain crimes are so egregious that the perpetrators may be held accountable wherever they are found. Since the Nuremberg Trials of 1945-49, modern jurisprudence has extended the doctrine to encompass the following crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. In 2001, the Princeton Principles on Universal Jurisdiction, defined universal jurisdiction as: riminal jurisdiction based on the nature of the crime, without regard to where the crime was committed, the nationality of the alleged or convicted perpetrator, the nationality of the victim, or any other connection to the state exercising such jurisdiction.
CJA has drawn on the principle of universal jurisdiction to try cases in U. S before the Spanish National Court. Since the 1998 prosecution of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, Spain has adopted universal jurisdiction over cases of severe violations of international human rights law. CJA has initiated criminal investigations with the Spanish court to prosecute human rights abuses in Guatemala
Bolivia the Plurinational State of Bolivia is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The capital is Sucre; the largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales a flat region in the east of Bolivia. The sovereign state of Bolivia is a constitutionally unitary state, divided into nine departments, its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, to the northwest by Peru. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range. With 1,098,581 km2 of area, Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America, the 27th largest in the world and the largest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere; the country's population, estimated at 11 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans and Africans.
The racial and social segregation that arose from Spanish colonialism has continued to the modern era. Spanish is the official and predominant language, although 36 indigenous languages have official status, of which the most spoken are Guarani and Quechua languages. Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent tribes. Spanish conquistadors arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During the Spanish colonial period Bolivia was administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. Spain built its empire in large part upon the silver, extracted from Bolivia's mines. After the first call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century Bolivia lost control of several peripheral territories to neighboring countries including the seizure of its coastline by Chile in 1879.
Bolivia remained politically stable until 1971, when Hugo Banzer led a coup d'état which replaced the socialist government of Juan José Torres with a military dictatorship headed by Banzer. Banzer's regime cracked down on leftist and socialist opposition and other forms of dissent, resulting in the torture and deaths of a number of Bolivian citizens. Banzer was ousted in 1978 and returned as the democratically elected president of Bolivia from 1997 to 2001. Modern Bolivia is a charter member of the UN, IMF, NAM, OAS, ACTO, Bank of the South, ALBA and USAN. For over a decade Bolivia has had one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America, it is a developing country, with a medium ranking in the Human Development Index, a poverty level of 38.6%, one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing and manufacturing goods such as textiles, refined metals, refined petroleum. Bolivia is rich in minerals, including tin and lithium. Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, a Venezuelan leader in the Spanish American wars of independence.
The leader of Venezuela, Antonio José de Sucre, had been given the option by Bolívar to either unite Charcas with the newly formed Republic of Peru, to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally declare its independence from Spain as a wholly independent state. Sucre opted to create a brand new state and on 6 August 1825, with local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar; the original name was Republic of Bolívar. Some days congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from Romulus comes Rome from Bolívar comes Bolivia"; the name was approved by the Republic on 3 October 1825. In 2009, a new constitution changed the country's official name to "Plurinational State of Bolivia" in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia's indigenous peoples under the new constitution; the region now known as Bolivia had been occupied for over 2,500 years. However, present-day Aymara associate themselves with the ancient civilization of the Tiwanaku culture which had its capital at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia.
The capital city of Tiwanaku dates from as early as 1500 BC when it was a small, agriculturally based village. The community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. According to early estimates, the city covered 6.5 square kilometers at its maximum extent and had between 15,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. In 1996 satellite imaging was used to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people. Around AD 400, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru and Chile. Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many respects. In order to expand its reach, Tiwanaku exercised great political astuteness, creating colonies, fostering trade agree
A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, in some nations' air forces or marines. The term "general" is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer and as a specific rank, it originates in the 16th century, as a shortening of captain general, which rank was taken from Middle French capitaine général. The adjective general had been affixed to officer designations since the late medieval period to indicate relative superiority or an extended jurisdiction. Today, the title of "General" is known in some countries as a four-star rank; however different countries use other insignia for senior ranks. It has a NATO code of OF-9 and is the highest rank in use in a number of armies, air forces and marine organizations; the various grades of general officer are at the top of the military rank structure. Lower-ranking officers in land-centric military forces are known as field officers or field-grade officers, below them are company-grade officers. There are two common systems of general ranks used worldwide.
In addition, there is a third system, the Arab system of ranks, used throughout the Middle East and North Africa but is not used elsewhere in the world. Variations of one form, the old European system, were once used throughout Europe, it is used in the United Kingdom, from which it spread to the Commonwealth and the United States of America. The general officer ranks are named by prefixing "general", as an adjective, with field officer ranks, although in some countries the highest general officers are titled field marshal, marshal, or captain general; the other is derived from the French Revolution, where generals' ranks are named according to the unit they command. The system used either a colonel general rank; the rank of field marshal was used by some countries as the highest rank, while in other countries it was used as a divisional or brigade rank. Many countries used two brigade command ranks, why some countries now use two stars as their brigade general insignia. Mexico and Argentina still use two brigade command ranks.
In some nations, the equivalent to brigadier general is brigadier, not always considered by these armies to be a general officer rank, although it is always treated as equivalent to the rank of brigadier general for comparative purposes. As a lieutenant outranks a sergeant major; the serjeant major was the commander of the infantry, junior only to the captain general and lieutenant general. The distinction of serjeant major general only applied after serjeant majors were introduced as a rank of field officer. Serjeant was dropped from both rank titles, creating the modern rank titles. Serjeant major as a senior rank of non-commissioned officer was a creation; the armies of Arab countries use traditional Arabic titles. These were formalized in their current system to replace the Turkish system, in use in the Arab world and the Turco-Egyptian ranks in Egypt. Other nomenclatures for general officers include the titles and ranks: Adjutant general Commandant-general Inspector general General-in-chief General of the Army General of the Air Force General of the Armies of the United States, a title created for General John J. Pershing, subsequently granted posthumously to George Washington Generaladmiral Air general and aviation general Wing general and group general General-potpukovnik Director general Director general of national defence Controller general Prefect general Master-General of the Ordnance – senior British military position.
Police Director General. Commissioner Admiral In addition to militarily educated generals, there are generals in medicine and engineering; the rank of the most senior chaplain, is usually considered to be a general officer rank. In the old European system, a general, without prefix or suffix, is the most senior type of general, above lieutenant general and directly below field marshal as a four-star rank, it is the most senior peacetime rank, with more senior ranks being used only in wartime or as honorary titles. In some armies, the rank of captain general, general of the army, army general or colonel general occupied or occupies this position. Depending on circumstances and the army in question, these ranks may be considered to be equivalent to a "full" general or to a field marshal; the rank of general came about as a "captain-general", the captain of an army in general (i.e. th
A death squad is an armed group that conducts extrajudicial killings or forced disappearances of persons for the purposes such as political repression, torture, ethnic cleansing, or revolutionary terror. These killings are conducted in ways meant to ensure the secrecy of the killers' identities. Death squads may have the support of foreign governments, they may comprise a secret police force, paramilitary militia groups, government soldiers, policemen, or combinations thereof. They may be organized as vigilantes; when death squads are not controlled by the state, they may consist of insurgent forces or organized crime, such as the ones used by cartels. Although the term "death squad" did not rise to notoriety until the activities of such groups became known in Central and South America during the 1970s and 80s, death squads have been employed under different guises throughout history; the term was first used by the fascist Iron Guard in Romania. It installed Iron guard death squads in 1936 in order to kill political enemies.
It was used during the Battle of Algiers by Paul Aussaresses. In Latin America, death squads first appeared in Brazil where a group called Esquadrão da Morte emerged in the 1960s. Argentina used extrajudicial killings as a way of crushing the liberal and communist opposition to the military junta during the'Dirty War' of the 1970s. For example, Alianza Anticomunista Argentina was a far-right death squad active during the "Dirty War"; the Chilean military regime of 1973–1990 committed such killings. See Operation Condor for examples. During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads achieved notoriety on March 24, 1980, when a sniper assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero as he said Mass inside a convent chapel. In December 1980, three American nuns, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clarke, a lay worker, Jean Donovan, were gang raped and murdered by a military unit found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing hundreds of suspected Communists. Priests who were spreading liberation theology, such as Father Rutilio Grande, were targeted as well.
The murderers were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military, receiving U. S. funding and military advisors during the Carter administration. These events prompted outrage in the U. S. and led to a temporary cutoff in military aid at the end of his presidency. Death Squad activity stretched well into the Reagan years as well. Honduras had death squads active through the 1980s, the most notorious of, the army unit Battalion 316. Hundreds of people, teachers and union leaders were assassinated by government-backed forces. Battalion 316 received substantial training from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. In Southeast Asia, extrajudicial killings were conducted by both sides during the Vietnam War. For example, Viet Cong member Nguyễn Văn Lém, famous for being extrajudicially executed on camera by General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan on 1 February 1968 in Saigon, was himself claimed to have commanded a death squad targeting South Vietnamese policemen and their families during the Tet Offensive in Saigon.
As of 2010, death squads have continued to be active in several locations, including Chechnya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Colombia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Pakistan, Myanmar, Philippines among others. Death squads are active in this country; this appears to be difficult to stop. Moreover, there is no proof as to whom is behind the killingsIn an interview with the panafrican magazine "Jeune Afrique", Laurent Gbagbo accused one of the opposition leaders, Alassane Ouattara, to be the main organizer of the media frenzy around his wife's involvement in the killing squads, he successfully sued and won, in French courts, in cases against the French newspapers that made the accusations. In December 2014, Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit officers confessed to Al-Jazeera that they were responsible for 500 of the extrajudicial killings; the murders totaled several hundred homicides every year. They included the assassination of Abubaker Shariff Ahmed "Makaburi", an Al-Shabaab associate from Kenya, among 21 Muslim radicals murdered by the Kenyan police since 2012.
According to the agents, they resorted to killing after the Kenyan police could not prosecute terror suspects. In doing so, the officers indicated that they were acting on the direct orders of Kenya's National Security Council, which consisted of the Kenyan President, Deputy President, Chief of the Defence Forces, Inspector General of Police, National Security Intelligence Service Director, Cabinet Secretary of Interior, Principal Secretary of Interior. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Security Council of Kenya members denied operating an extrajudicial assassination program. Additionally, the officers suggested that Western security agencies provided intelligence for the program, including the whereabouts and activities of government targets, they asserted that Britain supplied further logistics in the form of training. One Kenyan officer within the Council's General Service Unit indicated that Israeli instructors taught them how to kill; the head of the International Bar Association, Mark Ellis, cautioned that any such involvement by foreign nations would constitute a breach of international law.
The United Kingdom and Israel denie
Uruguay the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo. With an area of 176,000 square kilometres, Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname. Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrúa people for 4,000 years before the Portuguese established Colonia del Sacramento in 1680. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Spain and Argentina and Brazil, it remained subject to foreign influence and intervention throughout the 19th century, with the military playing a recurring role in domestic politics.
A series of economic crises put an end to a democratic period that had begun in the early 20th century, culminating in a 1973 coup, which established a civic-military dictatorship. The military government persecuted leftists and political opponents, resulting in several deaths and numerous instances of torture by the military. Uruguay is today a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who serves as both head of state and head of government. Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, low perception of corruption, e-government, is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity. On a per-capita basis, Uruguay contributes more troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other country, it tops the rank of absence of a unique position within South America. It ranks second in the region on economic freedom, income equality, per-capita income and inflows of FDI. Uruguay is the third-best country on the continent in terms of HDI, GDP growth and infrastructure.
It is regarded as a high-income country by the UN. Uruguay was ranked the third-best in the world in e-Participation in 2014. Uruguay is an important global exporter of combed wool, soybeans, frozen beef and milk. Nearly 95% of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable energy hydroelectric facilities and wind parks. Uruguay is a founding member of the United Nations, OAS, Mercosur, UNASUR and NAM. Uruguay is regarded as one of the most advanced countries in Latin America, it ranks high on global measures of personal rights and inclusion issues. The Economist named Uruguay "country of the year" in 2013, acknowledging the policy of legalizing the production and consumption of cannabis; the name of the namesake river comes from the Spanish pronunciation of the regional Guarani word for it. There are several interpretations, including "bird-river"; the name could refer to a river snail called uruguá, plentiful in the water. In Spanish colonial times, for some time thereafter and some neighbouring territories were called the Cisplatina and Banda Oriental for a few years the "Eastern Province".
Since its independence, the country has been known as la República Oriental del Uruguay, which means "the eastern republic of the Uruguay ". However, it is translated either as the "Oriental Republic of Uruguay" or the "Eastern Republic of Uruguay"; the documented inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization of the area were the Charrúa, a small tribe driven south by the Guarani of Paraguay. It is estimated that there were about 9,000 Charrúa and 6,000 Chaná and Guaraní at the time of contact with Europeans in the 1500s. Fructuoso Rivera - Uruguay's first president – organized the Charruas' genocide; the Portuguese were the first Europeans to enter the region of present-day Uruguay in 1512. The Spanish arrived in present-day Uruguay in 1516; the indigenous peoples' fierce resistance to conquest, combined with the absence of gold and silver, limited their settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. Uruguay became a zone of contention between the Spanish and Portuguese empires.
In 1603, the Spanish began to introduce cattle. The first permanent Spanish settlement was founded in 1624 at Soriano on the Río Negro. In 1669–71, the Portuguese built a fort at Colonia del Sacramento. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold in the country, its natural harbor soon developed into a commercial area competing with Río de la Plata's capital, Buenos Aires. Uruguay's early 19th century history was shaped by ongoing fights for dominance in the Platine region, between British, Spanish and other colonial forces. In 1806 and 1807, the British army attempted to seize Buenos Aires and Montevideo as part of the Napoleonic Wars. Montevideo was occupied by a British force from February to September 1807. In 1811, José Gervasio Artigas, who became Uruguay's national hero, launched a successful revolt against the Spanish authorities, defeating them on 18 May at the Battle of Las Piedras. In 1813, the new government in Buenos Aires convened a constituent assembly where Artigas emerged as a champ
Nicaragua 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, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City; the multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak English. 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 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 transferred to Honduras in 1960.
Since its independence, Nicaragua has undergone periods of political unrest, dictatorship and fiscal crisis, leading to the Nicaraguan Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and the Contra War of the 1980s. The mixture of cultural traditions has generated substantial diversity in folklore, cuisine and literature the latter given the literary contributions of Nicaraguan poets and writers, such as Rubén Darío. Known as the "land of lakes and volcanoes", Nicaragua is home to the second-largest rainforest of the Americas; the country has set a goal of 90% renewable energy by the year 2020. The biological diversity, warm tropical climate and active volcanoes make Nicaragua an popular tourist destination. There are two prevailing theories on; the first is that the name was coined by Spanish colonists based on the name Nicarao, the chieftain or cacique of a powerful indigenous tribe encountered by the Spanish conquistador Gil González Dávila during his entry into southwestern Nicaragua in 1522. This theory holds that the name Nicaragua was formed from Nicarao and agua, to reference the fact that there are two large lakes and several other bodies of water within the country.
However, as of 2002, it was determined that the cacique's real name was Macuilmiquiztli, which meant "Five Deaths" in the Nahuatl language, rather than Nicarao. The second theory is that the country's name comes from any of the following Nahuatl words: nic-anahuac, which meant "Anahuac reached this far", or "the Nahuas came this far", or "those who come from Anahuac came this far". Paleo-Americans first inhabited what is now known as Nicaragua as far back as 12,000 BCE. In pre-Columbian times, Nicaragua's indigenous people were part of the Intermediate Area, between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultural regions, within the influence of the Isthmo-Colombian area. Nicaragua's central region and its Caribbean coast were inhabited by Macro-Chibchan language ethnic groups, they had coalesced in Central America and migrated to present-day northern Colombia and nearby areas. They lived a life based on hunting and gathering, as well as fishing, performing slash-and-burn agriculture. At the end of the 15th century, western Nicaragua was inhabited by several different indigenous peoples related by culture to the Mesoamerican civilizations of the Aztec and Maya, by language to the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area.
The Chorotegas were Mangue language ethnic groups who had arrived in Nicaragua from what is now the Mexican state of Chiapas sometime around 800 CE. The Pipil-Nicarao people were a branch of Nahuas who spoke the Nahuat dialect, like the Chorotegas, they too had come from Chiapas to Nicaragua in 1200 CE. Prior to that, the Pipil-Nicaraos had been associated with the Toltec civilization. Both the Chorotegas and the Pipil-Nicaraos were from Mexico's Cholula valley, had migrated southward. Additionally, there were trade-related colonies in Nicaragua, set up by the Aztecs starting in the 14th century. In 1502, on his fourth voyage, Christopher Columbus became the first European known to have reached what is now Nicaragua as he sailed southeast toward the Isthmus of Panama. Columbus explored the Mosquito Coast on the Atlantic side of Nicaragua but did not encounter any indigenous people. 20 years the Spaniards returned to Nicaragua, this time to its southwestern part. The first attempt to conquer Nicaragua was by the conquistador Gil González Dávila, who had arrived in Panama in January 1520.
In 1522, González Dávila ventured into the area that became known as the Rivas Department of Nicaragua. It was there that he encountered an indigenous Nahua tribe led by a chieftain named Macuilmiquiztli, whose name has sometimes been erroneously referred to as "Nicarao" or "Nicaragua". At the time, the tribe's capital city was called Quauhcapolca. González Dávila had brought along two indigenous interpreters, taught the Spanish language, thus he was able to have a discourse with Macuilmiquiztli. After exploring and gathering gold in the fertile western valleys, González Dávila and his men were attacked and driven off by the Chorotega, led by the chieftain Diriangen; the Spanish attempted to convert the tribes to Christianity. The first Spanish permanent settlements were founded in 1524; that year, the conquistador