Central American country bordering Honduras and Costa Rica. Independent from Spain since 1821. Was once an alternate location choice to build what is now the Panama Canal, since Lake Nicaragua would have made part of the channel that wouldn't have to be dug.

Spent the 1980s in civil war between the left-wing Sandanistas (who took power in 1978) and the right-wing Contras, who members of the Reagan administration in the U.S. funded despite a Congressional ruling against giving any money to either side. In 1990, a democratic government was elected again.