Nicaraguan Diaspora

By Casey Theiler

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Nicaragua is located in Central America and is the largest nation with its borders being about the size of Iowa. With its moderately close distance to the United States it was easy for people to immigrate. Nicaraguans have been immigrating to the United States for a very long time. They come over in small groups and have been doing that ever since the 1900’s. Many Nicaraguan people immigrated to the United States to get away from the Sandinista revolution. However, once the revolution ended nearly all of the Nicaraguans that fled to the United States returned to their homeland. Nicaraguan people settled in mostly Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. Those are the three primary urban cities. However, according to the U.S. Census of 1997 more than 50 percent of Nicaraguans live in Florida. (Wikipedia Source) Nicaraguan Diaspora settles mostly in Sweetwater, FL. Landing about 16.63% of people with Nicaraguan descent. Sweetwater is a city located in Miami-Dade county. As a result of the most prestigious amount of Nicaraguans living in Sweetwater, the town is locally known as “Little Managua” after Managua, the Nicaraguan capital.(The Warrior, Web Source) Nicaraguans are mostly Spanish-speaking and fit in well with South Florida. Also, Nicaraguan Americans are predominately of Catholic religion.

Nicaraguan music is compared to a type of Spanish and Cuban music. Nicaraguans enjoy their own countries music but they also like to listen to music from around the world. The marimba is the main instrument played in Nicaraguan music. This instrument is played sitting down with it on top of the performers knees. The marimba is compared closely to the xylophone. Keys are usually made from rosewood and supporting the keys are tubes made of bamboo. The instrument is played with two to four mallet type drumsticks called hammers. Different communities are known for different styles of music in Nicaragua. Most are involved with dancing. The Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is known for their dance music they produce. This popular dance music is performed at festivals in places such as Los Angeles. Reggae and reggaeton are also very popular among the people of Nicaragua.

Many famous Nicaraguan musicians attend a festival called La Feria Agostina. This festival may consist of approximately 8,000 Nicaraguan Americans. Festivals that take place in Florida are Santa Ana, San Sebastian, La Purisima, San Jeronimo and La Griteria. In Nicaragua there are local bands called “chicheros”. In these “chicheros” musicians will usually play two or three trumpets, a drum, a clarinet, and for the background music they will use a bass drum and the cymbal. This music that is made from these instruments in the bands are very upbeat and hard to stop listening to. The ‘Fiestas Patronales’ are a famous “chicheros” band that plays in the streets of Nicaragua.

Sweetwater, Fl is home to the most Nicaraguan American people in the United States. This small nation has many traditions that they try to keep going while they settle in South Florida. The music and community they represent in Sweetwater makes the town also known as “Little Managua” feel just like home.

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