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Most Nicaraguans are mestizos. That is that they have white and

Indian ancestors. There way of life is somewhat similar to that of Spanish

Americans in other Central American countries. Most people belong to the

Roman Catholic Church and speak Spanish. Most of Nicaragua's people are

poor farmers. Many of those in the Pacific Region are peasants who work on

their own farms, cooperatives, state farms, or large private farms. In

warmer areas, agriculture workers live in metal roofed houses. In the

colder areas of the Central Highlands, they live in adobe houses with tile


The only Indian groups in Nicaragua that follow their own languages

and their old ways of life are in the thinly populated Caribbean Region.

In the early 1980's some of these Indians became involved in

anti-government things. Because of this, the government moved some Indian

groups from their homes near the border to areas in the interior of


Nicaragua has a law that requires children to go to school from the

age of six through twelve. Before 1980, only about half the children did

so because they were poor and couldn't afford to be sent or it was that

there weren't many schools around where they lived. Nicaragua did not have

enough schools, and many rural areas had no schools at all. But since then

the new government has built hundreds of schools. The government also held

a successful literacy campaign headed mainly by young volunteer teachers.

Nicaragua has two universities. The national University of Nicaragua,

in Leon and Managua, is the older and larger one. It was founded in 1812

and has more than seven thousand students. The Central American University

is a Roman Catholic institution in Managua.

A president heads the government of Nicaragua. The people elect the

president and a legislature called the National Assembly. The president

appoints a Cabinet to help carry out the operations of the government.

This government is very similar to our own government.



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