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Nicaragua Costa Rica
First posted on January 28th 2009, last revised on November 21st 2010







The Atlantic coast of what is today Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica is of low altitude, largely covered by tropical rainforest. Spanish settlement in the 16th and 17th century concentrated on the highland Cordillera region further to the west. The Atlantic coastal region of what then was the Audiencia of Guatemala was an area largely neglected by the Spanish authorities, thinly populated, in the region of present-day Atlantic Nicaragua and adjacent strips of modern Honduras and Costa Rica, by the Miskito Indians.
From the early 17th century onward, Englsh privateers frequented the Atlantic coastal regions. As both the English and the native Miskito regarded the Spanish their enemies, they developed friendly relations, and the English settled on several locations along the coast. In 1655 England acquired Jamaica from Spain. While England fortified Jamaica, the Atlantic coast region of mainland Central America was treated as a sphere of influence, but no effort was undertaken to establish fortifications, and little effort was undertaken to delineate the borders of the area; the relation with Spain was that of war, and English supremacy on the sea secured the status quo.
In the late 17th century European politics changed the situation : Louis XIV.'s threat to establish French hegemony on the European continent caused England (since 1707 the United Kingdom) to enter into an alliance with Spain. While Spain for the late 17th and much of the 18th century accepted the status quo - as long as Spain and Britain were at peace - it never formally recognized the legitimacy of the political entities under British protection on the Atlantic coast.
From 1780 to 1783 Spain and Britain were at war; Spanish forces took control of most of the coast of present-day Honduras. Following a rebellion of the Black Caribs (Garifuna speakers) on the island of Saint Vincent, in 1796 the British resettled the Black Caribs on Roatan Island and the Atlantic coast of present-day Honduras.
The early 19th century saw the independence of Mexico and the United Provinces of Central America. The latter went through a turbulent period (1821-1839) which ended in disintegration, Guatemala, El Salvador, Hondurs, Nicaragua and Costa Rica gaining independence. Now the Mosquito Coast and British Honduras (= Belize) were established as British protectorates.
Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica did not recognize British control of the Mosquito Coast. The British attitude toward their Mosquito Coast protectorate can be described as benevolent toward the indigenous population and reluctant to commit to investing in the development of the area. In 1860 Britain handed over the administration of the region to Nicaragua (border treaties with Honduras and Costa Rica resulted in fractions of the area coming under the sovereignty of these countries).
At the time of the handover, the Mosquito Coast, while thinly populated and with a poorly developed infrastructure, was more affluent than core Nicaragua - a fact expressed by the Mosquito Coast using a silver currency, while core Nicaragua used coinage the denomination of which did not correspond the value of its metal. The usage of tax revenue collected in the Mosquito Coast region for investment in coe Nicaragua was the cause for political discontent and occasional unrest in the later part of the 19th century.







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WEB-BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . EXTERNAL FILES
Country Profiles Modern Article : Mosquitia, Mosquito Coast, from Wikipedia
Historical Peter Keenah, Mosquito Coast (1938), posted on Internet Archive
L. von Winterfeldt, Der Mosquito-Staat (1845) in German, posted on Internet Archive
R.N. Keely, Nicaragua and the Mosquito Coast, pp.160-174 in Popular Science, June 1894, GB
Mosquito Shore, pp.629-663 in E.G. Squier, The States of Central America, 1858, GB
Mosquitia, pp.133-142 in C.F. Reichardt, Centro-Amerika: Nach den gegenwärtigen Zuständen des Landes und Volkes, 1851, in German, GB
Links General Category : Miskito, from Wikipedia
on History
Organizations
Historical Dictionaries
Timelines
Accounts of History Modern Article : Mosquito Coast, from Wikipedia
Historical
Specific Periods
Administration Los Reyes Misquitos, Nicaragua, pp.235-236 in P. Ceinos, Abya-Yala: escenas de una historia india de America, 1992, in Spanish, GB
Military Global Security : Mosquito Coast
Economy & Finances Entry Nicaragua, from Global History of Currencies, by Bryan Taylor; has comment on Mosquito Kingdom
M. Gismondi, J. Mouat Merchants, Mining, and Concessions on Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast: Reassessing the American Presence, 1893-1912 (2002)
Social History
Ethnography Article Miskito, from Wikipedia
A. von Bülow, Die preussische Colonie Karlstadt in Mosquitia, pp.333-341 in Germania : Archiv zur Kenntniss des deutschen Elements in allen Ländern der Erde, vol.3, 1850, in German, GB
Article : Chinese Nicaraguan, from Wikipedia
Proposed colony in the district of Black river on the northern coast of Central America, 1838, GB
Religion Moravian Church, from Believe; Moravian Church in Nicaragua; Moravian Church in Honduras; Moravian Church in Costa Rica
History of Regions Article Departments of Nicaragua, Municipalities of Nicaragua from Wikipedia
Departments of Nicaragua, from www.statoids.com; Municipalities of Nicaragua, from www.statoids.com
Local History Bluefields : History, from Wikipedia
Bluefields, from Amigos de Nicaragua
Institutions Search Lighthouse Explorer for Nicaragua
Culture
Biographies
Others Disaster History : Nicaragua, from Relief Web; History with Tropical Systems : Bluefields, Cabo Gracias a Dios, Prinxapolca, from Hurricane City
Neotropic Ecoregion, from WWF
Archaeology of the Mosquito Coast of Honduras
TED Case Studies : Honduras and Deforestation
John Birdwood, Tide Table for the British and Irish Ports for 1866, 1865, for 1870, 1869, GB; search for Mosquito Coast

WEB-BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . EXTERNALLY POSTED DOCUMENTS
Historical Data Lists of Statesmen from Mosquito Coast by Ben Cahoon
Lists of Consuls Political Graveyard : Nicaragua, has incomplete list of U.S. consuls at Bluefields
Population Figures Historical Population Statistics : Nicaragua, from Population Statistics by Jan Lahmeyer
Population of the New World : Central America, pp.81-83 in Memoirs Read before the Anthropological Society of London, 1865, GB
Documents Image Databanks
Archival Deposits National Archives, U.K.
Article : General National Archive, Nicaragua, from Wikipedia
Jamaican Archives and Records Department
Mosquito, pp.195-201, 202 in Guide to the Materials in London Archives for the History of the United States since 1783, 2010, GB
Constitutions, Laws
Treaties Tratado de amistad, comercio y navegacion entre Nicaragua y S.M.B., Feb. 11th 1860
Consular Reports Nicaragua, Greytown, pp.51-54 in vol.2 of Reports from Her Majesty's consuls on the manufactures, commerce .., 1864, GB
Nicaragua, Greytown, pp.404-405 in vol.6 of Reports from Her Majesty's consuls on the manufactures, commerce .., 1868, GB
Document Collections Documents relative to Central American affairs, and the enlistment question, 1856, GB
Correspondence between Great Britain and the United States, respective Central America, 1854-1856, pp.244-325 in vol.46 of British and foreign state papers, 1865, GB
Correspondence relative to the permission given to the Consul-General in London for Guatemala and Costa Rica to purchase arms in England for the use of those Governments, 1854-1856, pp.784-804 in vol.46 of British and foreign state papers, 1865, GB
Correspondence and other papers relative to the Republics of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito Indians, and the Convention between the United States and Great Britain of April 19 1850, pp.1-146 in Senate Documents, 1856, GB
Central American Affairs, pp.18-96 in Correspondence of the Department of State, 1856, GB
Nicaragua, pp.686-704 in Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, pt.2, 1868, GB
Great Britain and Central America, 1858-1860, pp.96-328 in vol.50 of British and foreign state papers, 1867, GB
British Encroachments and Aggressions in Central America. The Mosquito Question, in : The American Whig review. , Pt.1 : Vol.11 No.26, Feb. 1850, pp.188-204, Pt.2 : Vol.11 No.27, Mar. 1850, pp.235-269, from Cornmell Digital Library
Historical Maps
Historical
Encyclopedia Entries
Secular Mosquito Kingdom, in The English Cyclopaedia: Division. Geography, 1867, GB
Mosquito Coast, p.586 in vol.6 of Chambers's Encyclopaedia, 1869, GB
Articles Greytown, Mosquito (scroll down for Mosquito Coast and Reserve) from EB 1911
Articles Moskitoküste, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Religious
Economic The Mosquito Territory, pp.1228-1233 in vol.3 of J. MacGregor, Commercial Statistics, 1847, GB
Geographical Mosquitia, pp.47-50 in The Present State of the West Indies, 1778, GB
Entry : Mosquito Shore, in The American Gazetteer, 1804, GB
Entry : Mosquito Shore, p.367 in The Edinburgh Gazetteer, 1822, GB
Remarks on navigating off the coast between Cartagena and Cape Catoche, pp.427-431 in The American coast pilot, 1827, GB
The country of Mosquitia, p.68 in R.S. Fisher, The Book of the World, 1853, GB
Historical
Parliamentary Debates Hansard (British Parliament)
Tour Guides, Travelogues E.G. Squier, Waikna, Or, Adventures on the Mosquito Shore (1855), IA
F. Feldballe, Views from the Mosquito Reservation, Nicaragua C.A. (1893), IA
Th. Strangeways, Sketch of the Mosquito Shore: Including the Territory of Poyais, Descriptive of the Country .. (1822), IA
Bedford Pim, Dottings on the roadside, in Panama, Nicaragua, and Mosquito, 1869, GB
J. Fröbel, Seven years' travel in Central America, northern Mexico, and the far West of the United States, 1859, GB
Residence Memoirs Th. Young, Narrative of a Residence on the Mosquito Shore, During the Years 1839, 1840, & 1841 (1842), posted on Internet Archive
Institutions Archives, Musea, Libraries
Official Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms Flags, from FOTW
Coins, Banknotes

Bibliography General RHS Bibliography
Datenbasis Internationale Beziehungen und Länderkunde (Data Base on International Relations and Country Studies), keyword Mauritius (site in German, most titles listed in English; hundreds of entries; publications mostly since 1970)
on Mosquitia
Online Libraries General Gutenberg Library Online, Internet Archive
Persee (French search engine)
International Boundary Studies, search for Costa Rica
on Mosquitia
Online Journals General Directory of Open Access Journals
On Central America Dialogos. Revista Electronica in Spanish, on Costa Rican & Central American Historiography
Revista de Historia 2004, 2005 online
General Accounts
Historical Dictionaries Terry M. Mays, Historical Dictionary of Multinational Peacekeeping, Lanham Md. : Scarecrow 1996 [G]
Yearbook Entries