These local cultures were forever changed when the Spanish arrived from the west,
where the land is more accessible, and later overtook all the people in the region.
Prior to ever seeing the Spanish, many indigenous people died from European diseases
and later many more people died from wars while others were enslaved to work for
the Spanish. This destroyed most of the historic cultural aspects the people clung
to, while Spanish culture and influence took over the region and people.
Most of the Spanish settled in the western part of the region, where they continued
on the path of a developing Spanish-American culture. However others intermarried
the locals, creating the country's majority today, the "mestizos."
This mix of people resulted in Spanish being the primarily language of communication
and most people converting to Catholicism. However, people on both sides of this
group maintained traditional dress, languages, and cultures as nearly 20% of Nicaragua's
population is entirely European descent and a smaller percentage is entirely descended
from indigenous groups, both of which cling to cultural aspects from their past.
More than just introducing their own cultural traits and tendencies, the Spanish
also introduced African cultures through the slave trade. As a people focused on
economic growth and increasing wealth, the Spanish at the time required labor so
brought in Africans to serve as slaves. While these people only made up a small
percentage of the population and most of them later intermarried the people from
the region, they also introduced some cultural aspects and a more diverse ethnicity.
Despite the diversity of the people and their culture, today most of the people
of Nicaragua still live simple lives based off the land as agriculture is the dominant
force driving the economy. Like the past, the people tend to live in agricultural
zones or in the cities in the country's west as the eastern part of the country
is more difficult to settle or remains too hot to live comfortably.