Atlantico Norte (R.A.A.N.)
Just like Texas, the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua "is just like another country".
The North Atlantic Coast comprises over 26% of the total land area of Nicaragua; but, this area only comprises less than 5% of the total population. This extensive area (autonomous region of the R.A.A.N.) has never been fully incorporated into the nation of Nicaragua. This area, known as the “Mosquito Coast”, is isolated from western Nicaragua by rugged mountains and dense tropical rainforest. There are still no paved roads between the cities of the Pacific region and the Caribbean region. The native people (the “Miskitos”) are divided by history and culture from the Mestizos of the west, whom they call "the Spanish." On the North Atlantic Coast, the Miskitos comprise the majority of the population and usually speak Miskito with Spanish as a second language.
The North Atlantic Coast was never part of the Spanish empire but was, in effect, a British protectorate beginning in the seventeenth century . In the mid-nineteenth century, the United States replaced Britain as the region's protecting power. Not until 1894 did the entire region come under direct Nicaraguan administration. Even then, continuing United States political influence, commercial activity, and missionary interest in the Caribbean lowlands eclipsed the weak influence of western Hispanic Nicaragua until World War II. As a result of this history, the native people have not traditionally regarded themselves as Nicaraguans. Rather, they see Nicaraguan rule as an foreign imposition and fondly recall the years of semisovereignty and intermittent prosperity they enjoyed under British and American tutelage. Most Miskitos are Protestants, generally Moravians, and those who became Roman Catholics did so under the influence of priests from the United States rather than from Nicaragua.
The Miskito, the largest of the indigenous groups, reflect the region's diverse ethnic history and are linguistically related to the Chibcha of South America. Their culture reflects adaptations to contacts with Europeans that stretch back to their seventeenth-century collaboration with English, French, and Dutch pirates. Their genetic heritage is from indigenous and European people. During the colonial period, the Miskito, allied with Britain, became the dominant group in the Caribbean lowlands. A Miskito monarchy, established over the region with British support in 1687, endured into the nineteenth century.
The Miskito population is concentrated in northeasternmost Nicaragua from the Rio Coco to Puerto Cabezas and along the banks of several rivers that flow east out of the highlands to the Caribbean. The major cities and towns of the area are Puerto Cabezas (the capital); Waspam (on the Houduranian border); and the mining triangle towns of Bonanza; Rosita; and Suina. Puerto Cabezas is also known by its Miskito name of “Bilwi”. All five listed cities are served by La Costena Airlines. ______________________________________________________________
More interesting information about this region can be found at http://www.nicaliving.com/blog/831