About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

Click here for the sources of the statistical data

Surface area:130000 km2
GNI per capita:790 US$
Classification:Developing economy




Christian: 97.00%


Catholics: 4860000

Protestants: 739060

Anglicans: 9500

Independent: 434520

(double affiliation)
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Indigenous people were living in the region when it was colonized by Spain in the 16th century. Britain established its influence on the Caribbean coast in the 17th century. Nicaragua became sovereign in 1854 and added the east coast, where the Miskitos live, to its territory in 1894. Dictatorships succeeded each other during the first half of the 20th century, with frequent US intervention, and armed resistance under the guerilla leader Sandino. From 1936 to 1979 the Somoza dictatorship held the country in its grip. In 1972, Managua was totally destroyed by an earthquake that took 50,000 lives. The mismanagement of international relief funds accelerated the armed opposition, resulting in the Sandinista revolution of 1979. The new regime introduced widespread social and economic reform, aiming at justice and popular participation, and had the support of the poor. As of 1981, however, the USA armed a counter-revolution and strangled Nicaragua economically, which brought the Sandinistas down in 1990. Nicaragua's economy, based on subsistence farming and the export of bananas, coffee and other cash crops, virtually collapsed during the war. The Catholic Church is the majority church. The largest non-Catholic church is the Assemblies of God (Pentecostal). Pentecostals churches represent close to 10 percent of all Christians. The National Evangelical Council of Nicaragua is affiliated with the WEA. Sectors of the Christian churches and Christian groups have been supportive of the struggle for social justice, in cooperation with the ecumenical movement and the WCC.

More on Nicaragua:

Ecumenical solidarity visit to Nicaragua

An international ecumenical delegation led by WCC general secretary  Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia was sent as "Living Letters" to visit Nicaragua from 2 to 5 November 2008. The programme included events in the capital city Managua, Puerto Cabezas on the Atlantic coast, and Granada.  Read more on the visit to Nicaragua...


Portraits of spiritual life in Nicaragua

Multimedia portraits of spiritual life in charismatic churches as well as on All Saints Day in Nicaragua can be viewed on the 'Keeping the Faith' website.



Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

    WCC member churches based in Nicaragua

    WCC member churches present in Nicaragua

      Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

      Last updated: 01/01/06