Granada, Nicaragua - Encyclopedia

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GRANADA, the capital of the department of Granada, Nicaragua; 32 m. by rail S.E. of Managua, the capital of the republic. Pop. (1900) about 25,000. Granada is built on the north-western shore of Lake Nicaragua, of which it is the principal port. Its houses are of the usual central American type, constructed of adobe, rarely more than one storey high, and surrounded by courtyards with ornamental gateways. The suburbs, scattered over a large area, consist chiefly of cane huts occupied by Indians and half-castes. There are several ancient churches and convents, in one of which the interior of the chancel roof is inlaid with mother-of-pearl. An electric tramway connects the railway station and the adjacent wharves with the market, about 1 m. distant. Ice, cigars, hats, boots and shoes are manufactured, but the characteristic local industry is the production of "Panama chains," ornaments made of thin gold wire. In the neighbourhood there are large cocoa plantations; and the city has a thriving trade in cocoa, coffee, hides, cotton, native tobacco and indigo.

Granada was founded in 1523 by Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba. It became one of the wealthiest of central American cities, although it had always a keen commercial rival in Leon, which now surpasses it in size and importance. In the 17th century it was often raided by buccaneers, notably in 1606, when it was completely sacked. In 1855 it was captured and partly burned by the adventurer William Walker (see CENTRAL. AMERICA: History).

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