Mosquito Coast

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Related to Miskito Coast: Mosquito Indian, Mosquito Shore

Mosquito Coast



(məskē`tēə, mōskētē`ä), region, east coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. The name is derived from the Miskito, the indigenous inhabitants and remnants of the ChorotegaChorotega
, aboriginal people and language group of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Little is known of the Chorotega, primarily beause of the absence of extensive ruins.
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, who were never conquered by the Spanish. Never exactly delimited, the region is a belt c.40 mi (60 km) wide extending from the San Juan River north into NE Honduras. It is sultry and swampy, rising to low hills in the west. Lobstering has replaced banana cultivation as the major economic activity, but most inhabitants depend on subsistence farming.

In the early colonial period, English and Dutch buccaneers preyed on Spanish shipping from there, and English loggers exploited the forest. England established a protective kingdom at BluefieldsBluefields,
town (1995 pop. 30,208), capital of the South Atlantic Coast Autonomous Region and Zelaya dept., SE Nicaragua, on Bluefields Bay at the mouth of the Escondido River. It is Nicaragua's chief Caribbean port. Hardwoods and fish are exported.
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 in 1678. Slaves from Jamaica were brought in to increase the labor supply. In 1848, the British took San Juan del NorteSan Juan del Norte
, small town, SE Nicaragua, on the Caribbean Sea. Small quantities of bananas and hardwoods are exported. Also called Greytown, it was occupied (1848) by the British to secure control of the Mosquito Coast and to check the U.S.
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 to offset U.S. interest in a transisthmian route to California. Nicaragua protested the seizure. The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850) between the United States and Great Britain checked British expansion, but relinquishment of the coast was delayed until a separate treaty was concluded with Nicaragua (1860), which established the autonomy of the so-called Mosquito Kingdom.

In 1894, José Santos ZelayaZelaya, José Santos
, 1853–1919, president of Nicaragua (1894–1909). Although a leader of the Liberal party, he kept power by playing the Liberal and Conservative parties against each other and established an unswerving dictatorship.
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 ended the territory's anomalous position by forcibly incorporating it into Nicaragua. The northern part was awarded to Honduras in 1960 by the International Court of Justice, thus ending a long-standing dispute. The Miskitos clashed with Nicaragua's Sandinista government in the 1980s, and in 1987 they were officially given partial autonomy, including control over local natural resources. Little real change, however, has resulted, and the area remains impoverished. Land rights remain a source of conflict, and in more recent years there has been violent conflict between Miskitos and settlers seeking access to land and resources.

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References in periodicals archive ?
Invoking the Mermaid and the lobster-diver as archetypes of femininity and masculinity on the Miskito Coast, she addresses the gendered social organization of the Miskitus of the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve on the north coast of Honduras at the height of the lobster-diving economy, women's life strategies, the use of sexual magic (praidi saihka) as a means of access to men's earnings and economic survival, gendered differences in consumerism, and lobster-diving as a masculine life strategy and the ways in which it intersects with women's life strategies.
The 600-mile long Miskito coast of Nicaragua and Honduras is an important source of foreign lobster product for the American restaurants and food stores.
Along the Miskito coast, many diving injuries involve the "bends," or decompression sickness, acquired from too rapid an ascent.
Although the United Fruit Company abandoned the city in 1942, remnants of its activities remain: Caribbean-style stilt houses in the Negro River; aging, English-speaking fruit company workers; rusted, overgrown railroad lines deep in the rain forests of the Miskito Coast.
Residents of the 31 Miskito Coast villages, meanwhile, are working together to protect the Cays.
From the Miskito Coast, Felix was projected to rake northern Honduras, slam into southern Belize tomorrow and then cut across northern Guatemala and southern Mexico, well south of Texas.
Hurricane felix slammed into Nicaragua's Miskito Coast as a record-setting Category 5 monster storm yesterday as Hurricane Henriette made for a direct hit on the Cabos resorts of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.
The 541-kilometre Miskito coast, geographically lies in the Caribbean region, yet is always referred to among its population as the Atlantic Coast.
As the Denmark-based International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs noted, the Sandinista "policy of continually delaying the land negotiations and at the same time stepping up the military control on the Miskito coast" led to a hardening in Miskito attitudes which, in turn, fueled the Sandinistas' suspicions.
When she returned to Managua, the lawyer told of a thinly populated, exotic Miskito coast, where coconut palms sway over villages of houses on stilts.