Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua (Spanish: República de Nicaragua), is a representative democratic republic. It is the largest country in Central America with an area of 130,000 km2, and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere. The country is bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west of the country, the Caribbean Sea to the east. Falling within the tropics, Nicaragua sits between 11 degrees and 14 degrees north of the Equator, in the Northern Hemisphere. Nicaragua's capital city is Managua, with approximately one-fifth of Nicaraguans living there.

The origin of the name "Nicaragua" is unclear; one theory is that it was coined by Spanish colonists based upon the name of the local chief at that time, Nicarao; another is that it may have meant "surrounded by water" in an indigenous language (this could either be a reference to its two large freshwater lakes, Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua, or to the fact that it is bounded on the east and the west by oceans).

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