From Columbus to Somoza

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From Columbus to Somoza the effects of foreign presence upon the Miskito Indians and the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua
Greth, Leisa
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Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
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vi, 116 leaves : ; 29 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Miskito Indians -- Cultural assimilation ( lcsh )
Indians, Treatment of -- Nicaragua ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado at Denver, 1991. Political science
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of Political Science.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Leisa Greth.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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25678042 ( OCLC )


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i I 'I I, FROM COLUMBUS TO SOMOZA: I THE. \EFFECTS OF FOREIGN PRESENCE UPON THE MISKITO INDIANS AND THE ATLANTIC COAST OF NICARAGUA :! by Leisa Greth ,: : I .. B.A., :University of Colorado at Denver, 1986 i: A thesis submitted to the :1: Factil ty of the Graduate School of the ' University of Colorado at Denver I : J' ; in partial fulfillment ot'1 requirements for the degree of :I Master of Arts Political Science 1991 j II l !I : i 1'.


' I I I I I i : : i : ;i, This thesis for the Master of Arts 'I I 'I, 'II I i :' I I :! 0 I .I i 'I i I' :. ' . I : I I i I degree by Leisa Greth has been approved for the Department of Political Science I ;;;/5' Cjj Date


I.; I : I ; Greth, Leisa (M.A., Political Science) From I Columbus I Presence to Somoza: The Effects of Foreign upon the Miskito Indians and the Coast of Nicaragua Thesis by Associate Professor Glenn Morris 'i : ABSTRACT The antic Coast of Nicaragua, home to the I I Miskito since 7000 B.C., has proven to be a popular for numerous foreign residents and :I businesses; s'ince the first year of its European contact in\ 11!502. Since that time, their presence has made a:bonsiderable impact upon the Miskito I people and :t,heir tradi tiona! culture. In thi.s. paper the effects of five major foreign ',I actors ,five crucial areas of Miskito culture will be examined for their importance to the maintenance1 6f the traditional Miskito culture. The Spanish, British, Moravian Church, United States and I' the Nicaraguan state (particularly under the Somoza regime) were selected as the five most significant iii


. J, The land base, language, ,I religion, and subsistence 1 I :I i economy arelthe five cultural components of the : i '! i which were reviewed to highlight the effects :I i Miskito of 'I I The research revealed that several non-native I : elements incorporated by the Indians into :I I traditional Miskito culture as a direct result of 'I the presence. Importantly, however, none of :I the five cultural elements was replaced by ones of: [:foreign origin. Thus, in conclusion, : L: despite a foreign presence on the Atlantic .: I! I Coast of the Miskito Indianshave largely ::I proved themselves successful in preserving their \I ,; I ,culture. I ,I ' : i : This abstract :II :: I of the candidate's I I I I I accurately represents the content thesis. I recommend its Signed Morris iv


I : I I I 'I I .I CONTENTS CHAPTER I 1. INTRODUCTION . . I 2. THE SP.ANISH INVASION 1 5 3. 4. 5. THE BRITISH IMPACT Eari:y British Presence . . . The Miski to Kingdom I 15 15 18 Components of the Kingdom. 20 '. Bri t!i'sh Commercial Endeavors 27 YEARS. OF CHANGE 35 Early U.S. Presence and the San Juan . . . . . . 35 The Moravian Church 40 The Boom and Bust Cycles of Greytown 50 The Miskito Reserve . . UNITED STATES INTERVENTION Unrest . . . . U.S. Domination 55 66 77 7 7 82 6. THE SOMOZA REGIME: YEARS OF EXPLOITATION 90 I v I


, I.: . I :I . . I .. . 7. IN THE MISKITO SUBSISTENCE ECONOMY 95 8. 101 'I APPENDIX I I A. Map of Nicaruagua 110 :I B. Chronology 111 C. Chronology ofthe reign of the Miskito :I.: 112 K1ngs I .I BIBLIOGRAPH I ; I : .I :I , I I! I : : I r I I vi 113


I 0 ' : I ; : < ;. :' l '. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION It the purpose of this thesis to demonstrate that foreign actors substantially and/or :II,!' permanenti:impacted the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua,: they were not successful in supplanting critical of the Miskitos traditional culture ones of European origin. Five _.;foreign state or institutional actors and II five components to Miskito society have 0 been for examination, based upon the degree I of their importance to Miskito culture. As such, ,: \ I the effects: of the influence of the Spanish, the British, the Moravian Church, the United States and I! : the Nicaraguan state (particularly under Somoza)' upon the land base, religion, '!I' political structure and subsistence economy will be '' I ; assessed in: paper. omitted as a foreign actor were the ., because their relationship with I. : . : : : I 1


. I 1 1 I I :I I I Miskito was not representative of the Miskitos previous relationships with other European powers. so much has been written about the Sandinistas and the Miskitos that it has primarily :I. been only .i.n that context that the Miskitos were really to the world via their struggle I; 1 with the Sandinista regime, which ruled Nicaragua from Briefly, the Sandinistas shocked I the international community with their racist and violent treatment of the Miskitos who were :' i attempting to gain a greater degree of self-determination through the new revolutionary What they received instead, from this government, was the forced exile of I I their indigenous leadership, the governmental internment' of tens of thousands of their people, the I '' deaths of thousands of their soldiers and civilians in the sevral years of war, and the total and complete of over half of their villages I and communities. Moreover, tens of thousands were i :I forced to flee the country and live the arduous life of :for the better part of an entire decade. 2 I


I I ' ' \ In the 1990 Nicaraguan elections, the United i '' Opposition Party, (UNO) defeated the Sandinistas, \ l : I and the new: president, Violetta Chamorro, assumed .I power. exiled leadership and most of the ., I., refugees now returned home and are in the i: I difficult process of reconstructing their homeland I .. I and their :lives. The Miskito (also spelled Miskitu and I I Mosquito) for the past 9,000 years, occupied II the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. At the time of the '' i initial European contact with the Spanish in 1502, 'I their tion was reported to be 2 o o o Today 1 ; I their have grown to 200,000. 'I The Miskitos share their traditional land base, which they: :Z:efer to as Yapti Tasba The Sacred I, Motherland with other .Indian and non-Indian I 'I'. peoples. The two other primary Indian groups are the sumo, currently maintain a population of I I I 35,000 and the Rama, now numbering 5,000. Also '' living in'the Mosquitia (another term used to refer :I I \ I to the Atlant1c Coast or eastern region) are a substantial number of Black Creoles, approximately 3 i I


, I : '' I 30, ooo and 1:6inally 250, ooo to 300, ooo Ladinos ; I'! (persons !spanish descent).1 The area which all I of these share constitutes an estimated :. I : J I forty perce1nt of the entire country of Nicaragua, i i i, and the people comprise approximately eight 'I percent of;jtl'le country's populace of three million. '.I (See Appendlix A) I !I :.I ,'' : j!; ; i I 1 This infdrmation is based on a census which the Miski to people condu6[ted in 1980. These statistics were gathered in a interview with Miski to spokesperson Armstrong Wiggins by author from Washington, o.c., on 13 March 1991. 4 : : ' ..


, 'II I : l i I CHAPTER 2 THE SPANISH INVASION The Coast of Honduras and Nicaragua was .... ', by Christopher Columbus in 1502 1 Columbus at Cape Gracias a Dios on September 12, 1502 arid first encountered the Miskito Indians,2 themselves had "discovered" the region a m:lilenia prior to Columbus. To .:eventual great misfortune of the I Indians, Columbus had accidently "found" them in his I tireless for a strait through to India. The Indians, hbwever, were temporarily spared the : I I attempts of! Spanish colonization as the explorer was I'' pursuing riches in gold. At first glance, this land had little to offer him. Areas ''! ,. of the Miskito Coast have historically received in "I 1 Bishbp Karl A. Meuller, Amona Creoles, and Sumos : l .(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: The Press, 1932)1 58. '' l Miskitos Comenius 2 George Squier, "British Encroachments and Aggres.s:i,:ons in Central America: The Mosquito Question;" .;]Unerican Whig Review vol. 11, 26q (February 1850), 259-260. ,. 5 I I'


!, : I\'! excess inches of rainfall each year.3 r i 11 1 addition,'its harbors appeared to hold little !: I. i :; i''; prom1se, entry, at that time, was often obstructed.\: by many reefs and bars. 4 The area ; I In nearest toi'the waters was largely comprised of sand '! : and therefore, not likely to produce ,I I wealth.5 While the land itself was :it was nonetheless harsh and uninviting :, I : to of the area. ; I i I I I It wduld later be discovered that gold was :,I 'I ''1' l 1ndeed to be found towards the interior and in the I I I i :I : western poz:tion of the country. In addition, the I ' I I':. Miskito Coast would later be realized, among other : I i I I i things, as, area rich in the resources of timber, .' i : ., rubber and[ I to the European theory of the right i :,' of discover.y, i.e. the right of the "discoverer" to .'I : I ['I 'i 3 Cra:lg L. Dozier, Nicaragua' s Mosgui to Shore: The Years:: of British and American Presence, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1985) 1 3. 1 : :I : 4 :I,' Dozier, 3. I .. I 5 ibid!.; I 6 "I : : i :


. I,, I 'I '' I : i with the native inhabitants, I i Spain was entitled to the right to negotiate for the lands along the entire Miskito Coast as well I as the of Nicaragua. In practice, however, I the process,of negotiation was largely ignored. Due to the undesirable conditions on the Atlantic C0ast the Spanish turned their attention I I elsewhere and eventually to the Pacific Coast of I Nicaragua.,; 1 though some attempts were later made to !'.: settle in east. The portion of the country was revealed to be radiq,ally different from that of the _east, and was by far1the most economically appealing-to the I I Spaniards . 1: The area was described as possessing, ; vdl.canic soils and dry seasons. All tropidch lowland plantation crops that were. in demanq :_ sugar cane, cacao, indigo -could be grown lt;here amid the best cattle-raising land. 6 The we:stern half of the country became home to I the vast majj:ority of the Spanish settlers because of the potential for agricultural and mineral exploitation: as well as for the Indian slave I : I : '' 6 4. I '! : I I ,, I 1 7


:1: I :I I I population:J. The eastern half of the country, on the other hand):was for the most part inaccessible to the this early period largely due to its geographical isolation. Therefore, the Indians along the Coast were not yet subjected to I : the Spanish hostilities.7 The Ihdians who were native to the Pacific I I Coast regidri suffered in violent and all :I ways at .the hands of the Spanish l invaders. '!I:t is reported that prior to European contact thJ:' .Indian population of Nicaragua and the I .I' extreme noi:\th-western portions of CostaRica 'I. one million.8 After the Spanish arr1.ved 1.n Jtlle western half of the country in 1523, it took onl' a number of decades to decrease the I populationJb a scant few thousand. 9 This atroci ty was primarilly due. to the business of Indian slave I I I 7 J. Parsons and David R. Radell, "The Indian Slave; Trade and Population of Nicaragua During the .16th in The Native Population of the Americas. ih: 1492, ed. William Denevan (Madison, Wisconsin: :phiversity of Wisconsin Press, 1976), 67. 'I'. 8 'b'dl l. l. I 9 'b'dl. 6 l. l. ., 8. I I I :. 8 .1 I' I i i I I I I ..


: I i 1: I i:-: I': 'I. I 'I trading. I ,it9cording to Las Casas, in excess of 500,000 Indians were taken as slaves and ', i I shipped iOther areas within the first fourteen f I' h 10 years o Span1s control It was reported that : I from an original native population of 600,000, only .I, j ; 1 30,000 to 1544.11 In addition to falling victim to slave traders, :I ; the west Indians were also persecuted by war, disease and starvation 1: Las stated that 500,000 to 600,000 Indians died as a result of warfare. he said that on one occasion '!:' 10 aJrtolome de Las Casas 1957-58. Obras escogidas de Fray Bartolome de las Casas, ed. by Juan Perez de Tqdela, Ediciones Atlas: Madrid. "Brevisima relacion de la destruction de las Indias, 11 vol. 5, ch. 111 , 14, 146: quoted 1n James J. Parsons and Dav1d R. Radell, "The Indian Slave Trade and Population of Nicaragua .:$:Uring the 16th Century, 11 in The Native of the Americas in 1492, ed. William Denevan (Mad:ison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin 'I I Press, 1976), 68. 11 Fernandez de oviedo y. Valdes 1959. Historia general y natural de las Indias, ed. by Juan Perez de :Tudela, 5 vols. (Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles,. iV:ol. 117-21) Ediciones Atlas: Madrid, vol 120, 385: :Jqhoted in James J. Parsons and David R. Radell, "The Indian Slave Trade and Population of Nicaragua the 16th Century, 11 in The Native Population.! of the Americas in 1492, ed. William Denevan Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976), 68-69. 9 : l


I. :I j': I. : i Indians were unable to harvest their maize crop I because repart1m1entos [plots of land] were I -I. I from one encomendero [owner or to as a result 20,000 to 3o,oqo:were sa1d to have starved to death. In 1533 ,!:Governor Francisco de Castaneda (Pedrarias' successor) told the crown that more I ' than ,000 Ind1ans had succumbed to a s1ngle epidemic.l2 :I For Indians who managed to survive in :I their nati,ye land, some were inhumanely forced to provide fdt :the colonizer s entertainment. I I like games were staged for P.edratias' [governor of Nicaragua from 1526l531J:Iamusement in Leon, where-Indians and their ,.chiefs were forced to fight packs of wild dogs . 1 ; 1; Due tR the high value and volume of the I resources (both human and natural) to be found in 'I western Ni1CJ,ragua, the had decided to make this their.: J.Permanent home. They violently fought : ; amongst for control of the area as each I., leader proclaimed himself governor of I the Although they faced rapidly I diminishing ,sources of slave labor from which they built theiJ :empire, their commitment to remain in 12 Las Casas, 146. 13 Doz1er, 8. l :I 1. : i 10


I : i 0 the country.was strengthened by information of a I I ; I water to exist from the Atlantic to the ,. Pacific a river running through southern I Nicaragua.; A through passageway would not only increase th:e economic possibilities. for the country, ; I .I but would 'also mean the discovery of the much sought I after to the Pacific by boat.14 :I The river in reference is the san Juan. It was eventually: by the Spanish in 1527.15 ;I From the it runs. along the bottom of Lake Nicaragua east, ending on the Atlantic side just below: the town of San Juan Del Norte (later to be brieflY[i:eferred to as Graytown) forming the .( border southern Nicaragua and northern Costa I Rica. ThiJ:river would later become a major point of contenti\on between Spain, England, and eventually :I the United. !states. In sum, as a result of the I of Indian slave labor and natural resources,, well as the presence of a major water I I : r 'I 0 14 ibid.' 7-8. 0'1 15 6. I i I [o ; I 11


I I I thoroughfare, the foreigners were in western Nicaragua :to stay. :I : The Spanish were, however, not content to remain permanently and exclusively in this half of the country. A few incursions were, therefore, made '' to the Atlantic Coast area during this early period, but they to be quite unsuccessful. For .I example, launched military attacks in attempts to capture' !:the Atlantic Coast in the years 1512, 1522 and 1523, but to no avail.16 After 1600, Spain briefly changed her tactics from military to I religious and monks were sent to live among the :I Indians in! !the hope that their spirits could be won ,. i over, follpwed by their land. But this too, failed. The Miskito were no more interested in European religion than they were in any other component of Spanish cuiture or lifestyle.17 'I Spain 1f'ailed to colonize the Atlantic Coast but their efforts were few and half-hearted at best. 1 ,: The Atlantic Coast Indians were simply not the sort of sedentary agriculturalists into hierarchically ordered societies 16 58. 17 ibid. ' 12


:' I .. .. l ,. i ,. I . ; I I I : I which! offered useful sources of labor.They were I a:: dispersed community of relatively independent, subsistence swidden horti9\llturalists, hunters and fishers. These . [also], undoubtedly aware of the brutal and decimating treatment of Pacifi Coast Indians and repelled even incursions.1 B .. These incursions really only began seriously and consistently after the arrival of the British in I 1633. to be a serious threat, did begin in earnest for substantia:! :Spanish settlements along the Atlantic Coast :this time : The Spaniards early attempts to influence the I Miskito and change them in any substantial ways, I completely: failed. The Miskito did not adopt the ' Spanish language or religion and neither did they compromise the boundaries of their traditional land : base nor any changes in their political or .' i I economic s:tructures as a result of the Spanfsh presence. . :The Spanish came to eastern Nicaragua in I : 18 MacDonald, "The Moral Economy of the Miskito Indians: Local Roots of a Geopolitical Conflict, 11 1 :in Ethnicities and Nations, ed. Remo. Guidieri, F,rancesco Pellizzi, and Stanley J. Tambiah (Austin: Uriiversity of Texas Press, 1988), 13. See also Parsonsi and Radell, 67-76. ' I I" 13


I a very viotrnt, ethnocentric and demanding fashion. Not only dfd they have nothing to offer the Indians, ; I but from the first contact and continuing until the present the aggressive and racist tactics of : i the SpanisQ:would be bitterly resented and rejected :I by the Miskitos. I I i I .: I I : i I 14


'! CHAPTER 3 THE BRITISH IMPACT Early British Presence The arrived on the Miskito Coast. in 1633.1 In. its dealings with the Indians, Britain's approach as well as its goals were much different than those: of the Spanish. The areas of the country in which they were interested were also different as the vast of their settlements were. to be ; located along the Atlantic Coast. Their approach towards the Miskito Indians was also much different than the wciy in which the Spanish dealt with the Indians in the west, and later the Miskitos and the other in the east. The interests of the British were primarily economic, and they pursued their gains in much less violent and oppressive ways than did predecessors. The difference between 1 Craig L. Dozier, Nicaragua's Mosquito Shore: The Years I of British and American Presence, ( University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press 1985) ,11. 15 :I


.I I .. I : I the two intruders was immediately recognized by the I :. Indians. In fact, the Miskitos and the British became a11iJe.s and came to combine their forces to :I . combat the.: lc.ontinuous Spanish efforts to control the Coast. The allegiance between the Miskitos and the British more, however, than just fighting a I, common enemy,. Their relationship eventually led to i I a British .. otectorate of the Atlantic Coast and to I the creation: of a British sponsored Miskito Kingdom (to be dischssed in the next section). I There ;is no doubt that the primary goal of the 1.: British however, they did forge a good relationshik with the Indians from the time of their 'I 1: initial arrlval. The British came, . not as : 1': i conquerors;:. but as friends and allies. 112 :. Englanas principal motivation for establishing I. residence the Atlantic Coast was, as previously ;I: stated, ec9pomic. As such, they were more interested. creating a coiiUila.nding position for ',_._1 themselves ; bn the Caribbean trade market than. they I I: 'lj.: 2 Hamilton, Meet Nicaragua (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Comenius Press, 1939), 17 I i I 16 :I .I I l' 0 '!


. : [. ': '.: I',: II .. were in exp:ioi ting and/ or enslaving the Indian I population,;: as did the Spanish. Soon, the English I', establishe9': several permanent trading posts along '' ; the Atlantip Coast, and began to trade with the local population.3 In time, the '' relationship:between the British and the Indians ,, grew of allies and eventually firearms and other weapons were traded between the two to combat ' I' ,. the The .Indians proved to be of great ':. assistance:to the British in their battles with the I., I Spanish as :t-hey shared their dugout boats and served as guides through the difficult waterways and I, terrain.5 British proved helpful to the (: Miski tos lent their manpower and artillery '' : to the efforts to hold off Spanish ', incursions.' '' 3 MacDonald, "The Moral Economy of the Miskito Iridians: Local Roots of a Geopolitical Conflict, i ;:1n Ethnicities and Nations, ed. Remo Guidieri, F;;ancesco Pellizzi, and stanley J. Tambiah (Austin: UrH:versity of Texas Press, 1988), 5. '' 4 Nietschmann, Between Land and Water I. (New York: Press, 1973), 23. ;! 5 12. 17


i:: The Miskito Kingdom It is at this point in the chronology to introduce;what was then, and is now, considered by the Misktto people to be one of the most .. .; : ,. important contributions from the British. With the 'I. arrival of 'the new came the creation of -a .. 'I: .. new political structure, the Miskito Kingdom. In '; ,I order to fully understand what the British '' presence to the Mosquitia an introduction to I ; I", I: the M1sk1toTK1ngdom 1s necessary. Although the I' ,, Kingdom occupied a fascinating and proud period'for -: .' the detailed discussion bf all its aspects fall outside the scope of this paper. '.: ,. A brief however, highlighting the :.I basic components of, and actors in, the Kingdom is I, in order. The to power of the Miski to Kingdom was 'I quite contrary to what was occurring for other I , (: indigenous Kings in Mesoamerica at the time. As a I ,j ,. result Of overwhelming Spanish infiltration, :I' most of the! !n:ati ve rulers, in what is now referred 18


., p I to as and South America, were power . I. In however, a new political structure was ' : i born to bebome known as the Miskito Kingdom. While 'I, : L many that the Kingdom was entirely the creation ot': the British, it is more likely that. it .I:: arose as j?int effort between both the Indians and I the foreigners.6 While it is true that a portion ; I; ;I of the legitimacy and authority due the Kings was I ,I: derived fr-cpm its British association, it is equally ;:: true that Kingdom's 240 year survival was based i j:,' on the cultural significance given to il' ,. it by the people themselves.7 It has I' further be.en suggested that, I I; .. j: [The] kings [were] leaders of real stature in th$ir own society, whose legitimacy was I I I based :on d.1fferent cultural concept.1ons of than those held by the British.8 .. ; 1'1 1:' 6 Michael D. Olien, "The Miskito Kings and the Line of Journal of Anthropological 39, no. 2 (1983): 198-199. 7 ibid. ; I'' 8 A. Dennis and Michael D. Olien, "Kingship. the Miskito, n American Ethnologist, vol. 12 718. 19 .I .


:' Important Components to the Kingdom :! l The kings. The earliest evidence of this I political can be traced back to the first year of a:f.ltish presence in 1633. (See Appendix D) There is known of the first three kings who were to simply as the King, the Prince, and i the The sketchy information about the first 'i king is an unknoWn Englishman, referred to only 1 W. in the literature. 9 The King is thought come into power in 1633 and remained so until 1641. It is believed that he died in in the company of his son, who later :I to become ;known as the Prince. The Prince succeeded .1 : . 10 the K1ng a,nd re1gned from 1641 unt1l 1655. The next king,: IOldman, succeeded the Prince sometime after 1655,1 and reigned until 1686.11 Oldman .1 i journeyed to England and received his crown directly i ,, '! I 9 "The Miskito Kings," 199 i 10 'biid 1 1, 1 11 ibid. I .. J I 201. 20


:I : i I :I :I from the :Kii:ng of England, most likely Charles II .12 :I. I His son, I, became the first king to be written aJdut in any great detail, and reigned from 1687 to 17!2i0 13 Jeremy I was the second in what I' would be a! .. single line of hereditary succession lasting 1894, when the Atlantic Coast was ;,I "reincorpo1;r.ated" into what is now the current state of It was during the reign of Jeremy I I that Miskito people first placed themselves under the: of the British, officially beginning: inearly two centuries of protected relations CoroJation locations. Oldman was the first I : king to ac1tually be crowned by the British. His son, however, was coronated in Jamaica, establishing I I a custom f1or many years to come in which the royal I successor$:, .;would each travel to Jamaica .for their ,I official qrowning. Later, the coronation ceremonies I I 12 ibld., 203. 13 ibld . I I 14 ibld., 198 0 ,1: 15 Dennis and Olien, 722. :I '' 21


would take place in nearby Belize.16 I Regardless1 of the location, the kings were I : i reportedly!taught English and educated by the British before returning to Nicaragua. The residence. In the beginning the first lived in Sandy Bay, however, the official was later moved north to Cape Gracias ADios. By the mid 1800's, the seat moved once again,, this time south to the town of Bluefields. The Residence was usually characterized II by distinctly English furnishings, and therefore was much more elaborate dwelling than those around it. Additionally, the king was taught "proper British behavior and manner" by on official British who always resided with the king. The se:lection of kings. Even though it was I '' necessary.: for the British to formally recognize each Miskito King, it appears that the Indians indeed chose their own kings.17 This fact highlights an 16 ibi

. important, ;point in that it signifies that the ' Miskito a great deal of control over their own leade]:iship. This was specifically exemplified ; in the case of the twelfth king, George Augustus I I Frederic. : 'When it became time to choose a new king to succeed Robert Charles Frederic, the British made it clear that theypreferred George's brother Clarence for the crown; yet it was the preference of the Miskitd, George Augustus Frederic; who I I :I I prevailedJ18 Throughout the entire history of the kingdom, the British never had the exclusive power o I to place into or a king from power. In fact, succession to for the most part followed from father to son. This fact, again, supports the assertion. ;that a great deal of Indian control existed over the Kingdom, and makes unlikely the claim that most kings were simply"English puppets.1119 Additionally, the literature suggests that the kings were already previous leaders in their and probably used the British I 18 "The Miskito Kings," 200. I 19 Dennis and Olien, 724. 23 .. 'I o


simply to .increase and/ or solidify their position among own people. 20 Internal structure. By the middle part of the 18th centu'r,y, the kingdom had become closely defined I into three primary leadership positions, the king, the generc;tl, and the governor. Reports indicate that the ge'neral ruled the northern region, the king in the cen'tral area, and the governor controlled the southern The British sent ,, I to the area to oversee the kingdom I I and to act :as liaisons between the king .. and the British government. According to the third British superintendent Robert Hodgson, each of the three positions h,eld roughly the same amount of power, with a benefit going to the king. He reported that each consulted with a I', community of elders before any major decisions ;were made.22 This, again, affirms the claim that the Miskito previously had in place their I j ; I I I 20 Olien, "The Miskito Kings," 204. 21 ibid., 199. 22 ibid. 24


. I .. I .'I, I. : !. 'I,,: '. I : ' .. f:; own form governance, and that the Kingdom was 1 .. : only to their existing political structure, I and did replace their traditional one. influence upon the kings. The mid, nineteenth: century was however a period in which ' British influence upon the kings was quite ; , pronounced;: and sometimes manipulative. It was from ', this period:that evidence was drawn to attempt to :I support that all Miskito kings were '!I' British As was discussed, generally I speaking, '1ihis does not seem to have been the case. '' :: In some the Indian people lived their lives with attention paid to any "authority" :! I, outside of: i;their immediate community. This was "' ,,. the case in the areas north of : Bluefields !:after the mid 1850 s. The residents of I I' .this regiori1responded neither to .the British .: :' government' to the kings in terms of having any 'I' significarrt authority over their daily The t' I 23 D.Olien, "Micro/Macro-Level Linkages: Regional Pql,itical Structures on the Mosquito Coast, 1845-1864,.111. j Et:tinohistory, vol. 34, no. 3, (Summer 1987) 259...;2'60. ; 'I : .. ,: "' '. 25


: i : I I I : ., II I .I Indian pedple did, however, acknowledge the king as i,: a figure ?:f: power, but as one from whom they were I' I separated lin thei-r daily lives. "The. British were : 'I well aware .that the Indians owed whatever allegiance they had the king and not to Great Britain.1124 Overail.:l effects of the Kingdom on the Miski to. I As a direct: result of the British presence and the :: I changes created on the Coast with regards to I the politipal structure, and as a result of their \ I economic the Miskito were able to enlarge I,, their increase their population, acquire .'I numerous trade goods and secure a position of indigenous i. on the Atlantic Coast. 25 Therefore;1while the British benefitted economically from the :Mi. ski to Kingdom' s existence, the Miski to I also in ways equally significant to them. '., Still yearly celebrations are held to commemorate this once powerful kingdom I I 24 263. ',I I 25 Dennis and Olien, 726. 26 I .1


British Commercial Endeavors In addition to the creation of the Miskito I I Kingdom, the mid-seventeenth century was also marked by an incr!ease in British commercial endeavors, and as a resulf, heightened Spanish concerns and attempts control the. region. The 1s;1and of Jama1ca was acqu1red by Britain 1: in 1655 1 an.d became an ideal place from WhiCh tO ship suppllies and settlers to the Coast. And, as I ;1. was menti0ped in the previous section, Jamaica would I : also the site for many of the coronation ceremonies for the Miskito kings. This British acquisitiop marked the greatest threat, to that I. time, to Spanish on the mainland.26 The British wohid on occasion send arms from Jamaica to 'I the Miskitb. for one intended, although unofficial 1:' I .. purpose, whP,.ch was to encourage raids on Spanish :I These.actions did not go unnoticed by I I. I I ,. I 26 i: 12. 'I 27 ib:id., 13. I ,. I 27 I I I i I 'I' I 'I '' 'J. :I :.


I : I. : i ,j' .; 1.'! the Spanisp.,, and only heightened tensions between the I i I two powers. EarlM,;in the period, most of the British I in eastern Nicaragua were small and ; I could to employ a few Anglo and Indian As profits began to show, however, the number of'settlers swelled into the thousands. With population, the allied attacks :i r ,;.. th even greater force the I, Spanish, and finally the Spanish began to feel that !., an military response would be necessary to ; I retain control in the area. The Spanish ',, I attempted:this several times; however, they would ,I not succeeq: one-hundred and i 1: f ' 1 .\, 1 1 1 I after the of the 'I British. 29, i :Meanwhile, the British continued to f. gain the of the Indians and greatly prospered:laconomically. The position was further advanced by British superintendents to the area I i 'I :! ., 28 14. I 29 I ibid., 16. i ; ,..J I 28


I, _;1 .. 'I I : : be9inning: :in 1739. The primary role of the J; was to increase trade, and garner as I much support as possible in averting Spanish II : I I encroachment onto the Indian lands upon which the British When Spanish military efforts I against British continued to fail, the Spanish also attempted to "win over the Indians with : I : material supplies such as firearms, cloth and rum, but the remained, on the whole, vehemently I;' I', 1:1 Britains supremacy among foreign powers was 'I changed !paper with the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In the I -agreed, among other things to all fortifications on the Mosquito ShorE:{ :and other parts of Spanish terri torv .r recognizing as valid the Spanish claim I I. leading to Britains willingness to 1: I: : sign was t;he realization that the treaty, in 30 ibid 1 17 o :1:' 31 ibid., 18 I I 32 cciurtenay De Kalb, "Nicaragua: studies on the Mosquito 1 !.Shore in 1892,11 Journal of American Society of New York, vol. 25 (1892): 240 I I ' 29 i : I I II i


: ! : I I I I 'I reality, would not substantially change her Unhindered by the treaty, the British set their.s:ights on obtaining control of the San Juan River. 33 The $panish launched their long awaited counter-attack in 1782, captured the British I I strongholdlof Black River, and expelled its British !The Spanish could not, however, maintain I their and were in turn also forced out by the British. The battle continued for some time over this'fort with control shifting back and forth from country to country. Both eventually tired and agreed to negotiations.34 As the result of a compromise between the two countries, a treaty was signed leading to the formal expulsion of British '. i i settlers cirt.: the Coast but allowing the British to (I retain logwood-cutting rights in nearby Belize. ay 1787, nearly all British colonists had been evacuated. Spain then endeavored to colonize the area with Spanish citizens but these efforts I. 33 19. 34 26. 30 I ; I I .


I I ; i''. were agaiNf: quite unsuccessful. The new settlers ; found the,' and the Indians unfriendly and i ;: many fell: jto disease. 35 The population of British citizens, ,1however, continued to fluctuate until the. ,, 1840's their occupancy again increased. 36 By tJl!e' end of the 1700's, the Spanish had essentially, ceased their efforts to control the I :1 I I:, Miskito c6'a:st, and most of their existing defenses : I were 37 During this same time, however, ::_1:. despite fact,that most British colonists were ,. now gone, retained its foreign prominence. And, by 1s:b:o when it was clear that the Spanish had little of the coastline, the British began '; L .. planning tb' repopulate the area.38 :,I, to Central America's independence in ; : :I the pf 1823, a new wave of British settlers arrived 35 36 37 38 39 : : ; I in: .. ' i:b,td., '' '' ,, ibid. .: :i ib:i;d.., . '! ; I, -.-! '. ; : ' : I ,.'{, ., 28. 47. 29. 33 35. Nicaragua. 39 (Nicaragua later 31


I II : ;: I' 1:' I ,o' I:. declared it:s independence from Spain in 1838). 40 I.' I; 1: The year, 1824, marked the beginning of the British protectorate on the Atlantic I] Coast. 41 I '' For I : a:-;, the British appeared to have '' real for foreign economic control ; Atlantic Coast. Newly independent Nicaragua;pegan to challenge this foreign no of li' however, beginning in 1840 when the I state send.:a military force to occupy the port of '' I. San Juan Del Norte. In 1841, the British' I' i superintentfent of Belize, Alexander MacDonald, ., '. jl arrived wirh Miskito King Robert Charles Frederic and, .::::demanded Nicaraguan recognition of the I ; I Mosquito jurisdiction over the port.1142 Nicaragua to do so, and as a result '1!: ; II MacDonald;*i.dnapped the Nicaraguan co:mlliandant, ': ''. (releasingl.him shortly thereafter), with the 'I 40 i:b:fci. 42. I:. I 41 Dunbar Ortiz, "The Miskito Indians of Minority Rights Group Report, 79 (1988): 5. '' ', 42 48. 32 ''; [; 'I.;


I ',, ., :I I,. ; ,.: i' '' intention thwarting future Nicaraguan attempts to control. This occurrence greatly I alarmed Nicaraguan government and they then began to the British as a very real threat to their In addition, this brought the United1 States' attention to British power on the Coast44 u.s. industrialists were becoming I increasingly interested in the economic .. possibilitl:es of the San Juan River. ' I I With new population of British arriving in Nicaragua, i; the influx of non-Indians into the .. : politics of< the Coast, over time, extensively changed the:power structure in some areas. With the dispatching' of the first British superintendent to Nicaragua,: :Patrick Walker, in 1844, to the town Of British participation in regional :I politics increased markedly.45 Along with this, : i .,. most_of the Miskitos were concentrated in the and central regions of the Coast and ,'I'; I 43 I ibid. 44 ibid. 45 Ol'ien, "Micro\Macro-Level Linkages," 265. 33 I I ,


' I : i '' the non-Ind-ians were concentrated in the south. As time passe:d, the center of power (in particular the King Is resliP.ence) shifted south to Bluefields following the foreigners. In aqdition to the changes in location of the main political seat, the racial composition of those in power a:l:so drastically changed. This was evidenced: by the make-up of the newly created Mosquito CoQncil. This council was in charge of ,., handling most all of the financial and regional politicalimatters. Walker appointed only one Indian to the new: Council, King George Augustus Frederic, 1: with the rest being Black Creole and British decedents. 46 While important symbolically, the council itself not exist for long. The second British William Christie, arrived in 1848. '' Planning to take control of the regional politics himself, dissolved the-Mosquito in Septemberof 1848.47 46 i:t>iQ.. I "j: I 47 I: 'I I 'I '' : 34


!' : : .. : i : CHAPTER 4 YEARS OF CHANGE i 1 I ., I Early1u.s. Presence and the San Juan River ., By the United States had one more reason [.'' to turn its' attention to the San Juan River, namely i I the newly j r:cquired California region and its gold mines. Ani interoceanic canal was the preferred '1. option fot,transportation to and from the new The u.s. viewed the British role as the position of strength which they wished to: and the British now looked upon '' the u.s. suspicion, too.1 The United States used, as i;ts justifications for the desire to 'I : 1: acquire of the isthmian canal, the concept of ' Manifest Destiny (i.e. their God given right of I 1 The Years1 (Universit,Y,, 1985) 58. :i , I I ; L. Dozier, Nicaragua's Mosquito Shore: of British and American Presence, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 35


'I .. I ,I I expansion) and.the Monroe Doctrine.2 :I I .I'! supremacy among foreign powers on the Coast was. said to have begun to !I Monroe Doctrine. It was this ; : I realizationi that so alarmed the u.s. about the I I recently established British protectorate.3 The state welcomed the u.s. anti-; I British sent1.ment, and began to rely upon u.s. I support toi. combat further British encroachment. 4 I Just as the!Miskitos had allied themselves with the '' I British against the Spanish, the Nicaraguan state I i i began to aiiy itself with the United States against I I the and eventually the Miskitos. I The. now greatly concerned with u.s. ;'I interference, issued a statement which said, I the Kingdom, and thus the British ' protectorate, extended from Cape Gracias a Dios to i 'I' I 'I I, 2 Alex:ander Marchant, "Britain and the United states in-:t.atin America Before 1S65;" current History, vol. 28, 163, (March 1955), 146. I : 3 Richard w. van Alstyne, "British Diplomacyand the Claytqn-Bulwer Treaty 1850-1860," Journal of Modern Histbry, vol. 11, no. 2, (June 1939), 149. ;! 4 149. I ': ; i j I : '! 36


I I 'I 'I the mouth of the San Juan River."5 They added that : I this staternt was by way of informing the Nicaraguan government of these boundaries and that they would.respond militarily to any invasions into this area.6 Fighting finally broke out between the \ Nicaraguani:state and the British in San Juan Del Norte in 1848 after prolonged tensions regarding which nation's flag should fly there.7 The I Nicaraguans were driven out by the British, and town was li-enamed Graytown for the governor of I Jamaica, Grey.8 The British continued to encourage settlers the towns Bluefields and Greytown. Foreign ' settler odcupation of these areas was not very successful for long periods of time, however, in Greytown because of the harsh the to I' climate arid poor housing facilities. To exacerbate 55. 6<;l. 7 ibic;l 1 56. 8 'I 1 58 o 37


the the Nicaraguan government ceased all supplies to Greytowns ports, 'i forcing the British to ship in their own supplies.9 The issue of control over the San Juan River became the focus of hostilities between the United ' States and Britain and was possibly leading to an I armed between the two when the ClaytonBtilwer was signed on April 19, 1850. ambiguous and cloudy in its language and intention, it provided for joint United States-British control of any isthmian canal or with guaranteed neutrality and equal:itty of access. It bound both parties not to or fortify any part of Central nor seek a most-favored-natioi) position republic through which a canal or railway might pass.1 0 Though both countries held clear understandings about the provisions of the Treaty, the wording was. such that each could also justify its own the of certain key points, status, !of the British protectorate most notably, of the Miskito Even after the Treaty was 9 ibid, 1 63-65 I 10 Marchant, 4 7 38 : o I


:I I I '! I '' ' : : ' I. i I '; signed, British had no intentions of suspending I their "An opinion of Sir John Harding, advocate, makes this clear; he ., wrote: '' The Fd.rst Article expressly recognizes the fact :;that Great Britain has, and may have, with, and affords and may afford, to States and People in Central Ameripa. Great Britain . may in my opinion protect any State or people (including Indian in Central America, even by force of armsiti;f nrrdful without violating the .. ; : :I Britain's foreign secretary, Lord Palmerston, stated the treaty, does not merely assume that no Change is to be! made in existing State of Things but it says in words These words admit and .sanction the Continuance of our Protection of Mosquito provided we do not use that Protection so to us, for forbidden Purposes . l2 For th:e u.s., Clayton, who was the Whig I Secretary:9f state, actually offered little I resistance:to the idea of the British protecting the 11 vah :Alstyne, 158. 12 ibid.' 159. I' :! '' !' '' ,, ' 39


' I I I rather his objections were with the kingdom 'I being independent.13 I Britalns continued presence and pledged support the Miskito people and their sovereignty : i would provr problematic to the relationship between Britain and the United States for years to come. the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty did bring to ' an end nearly two centuries of British I This fact worried many of the .; I Miskitos as their experience with the British had, for the most part, been overwhelmingly positive. The Moravian Church German:representatives of the Moravian Church first on the Atlantic Coast three years 'i I before the:signing of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty on ': I '! I May 2, Their purpose was to explore the possibility of establishing Moravian missions on the 13 ibid. 151. I. 14 Robert A. Naylor, "The British Role in Central America to the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850," Hispanic Historical Review, vol. 40, (August :I 1960) 381'. 'I '' 40


Coast. They reportedly received a positive response I from Indian 11Chiefs.1115 A previous group :I : of representatives had also been sent but advised I against establishment of missions in the area I ; because of,. perceived unfavorable environmental I I climate. .:l34t these representatives, believing that j this from the Chiefs was sufficient 'I : invitation!; ; suggested in their report to : I 1 undertake the project.16 As was :1: :I ; evidenced:;i.n their language, "Like other 19th I ,; I century the Moravians considered the 'I ; !. : people almost savages -ignorant, degraded, :I : and of undesirable culture traits.1117 ;o I they were determined to bring : I Christianity to the Coast I i I This:gtoup proclaimed their difference in i I . purpose froin that of their Spanish predecessors by : i : ; I I saying, "they were not looking for run-away slaves, i I : '' 'I I ;:._. 15 ,I I Mueller, 6. ,J I I 16 'I : 1 8 17 ,. I ,I 143. I I 41


I ., I I I I nor for trlae, nor for gold, nor for plantations: ; I,, T they were :looking for souls.1118 '1:' During this initial fact-finding mission, the 'I I . Moravian met extensively with the British :I with the hopes of establishing good relations from I I the Tensions between the Germans and the :I British been high because the I: 'I British felt threatened by German aspirations to ,j'. settle on,the coast under the protection of the j I I Prussian with the desire not to be subject tolthe region's laws. As the area was under ; I', British the British made it clear that I I I they wanted full foreign control of the area. ; I what was feared might be a beginning of German colonial expansion on the American t: 1 they made clear that no coloni:zation could be effected except under the full of the Mosquito government 19 The Germanl'backed down and retired their efforts in I 'I this area. I. The Moravian Church represented the next -I effort to if$tablish a German presence on the Coast. This time,lthe British were receptive to the Germans I, ,. I :I .I. 18 5. :I 19 64. I I 'I' I : I I I I : ( .I ; ': 42


r, :I. I I' ;1. 'I ; and were anxious to welcome them as long as they agreed toiadhere to British rule. The British I' , consul instructed by the British Foreign .. ; ,. Secretary,;. ;Lord Palmerston to welcome the ... and grant them tracts of land.20 I . ) I! two years later, on March 14, 1849, the ', 1 . first arrived in Bluefields to begin I 1, their In addition to the British, the : !, were cordially welcomed by Miskito King u; George Augustus Frederic.22 I 'I The e:arly years of missionary workwere : r .: centered Bluefields, largely populated by : Creoles ana only a few Miskitos. "No Indians except the King his retinue, all in all about 100 I '' ; lo ': souls, in Bluefields."23 Later, the I,,' I". I': .r . . '" : .. 20 I, i:bd.d. ; i: 21 Kelilneth Hamilton, Meet Nicaragua (Bethlehem, J 1.1 Comen1us Press, 1939), 8 ; l,. 22 6 . I' . 23 'b:,,d 1 . 69. 43 . ,; I i :. I ... q r"


I '' 'I Moravians;began to gradually spread their missions north towarp.s the Honduran bo.arder. '' their stay, the missionaries lived! among the Miskitos in the villages. They translated. the I : Bible into! the Miskito language and reportedly found I the India:n.s very interested in the stories of the Old Kings. A close relationship developed.between the missionaries and the kings and later the m:issionaries even became the king 1 s \ I I advisors. : I The Moravian Church quickly became the dominant I I church on Coast, and remains. so today. The Spanish made many efforts to Catholicize the Indians, b6t to no avail.25 Conversely, the I Moravians ,1 met with great success. 26 In addition to the Moravians, the Catholic Church, the Baptist 24 Philip A. "Kingship 'Among the vel. 12 720. I ; Dennis and Michael D. Olien, Miskito, 11 American Ethnologist, 25 Eduard Conzemius, "Ethnograpical survey of the Miskito Sumu Indians of Honduras and Nicaragua," Smithsonian Institute. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin : l06, (Washington, D.C.: u.s. Government Printing Office, 1932), 26 ibid. i 44 ' I 'I 'I ''


' : Church, Anglican Church and the Seventh Day all developed a presence but none ::I approachedj'the success of the Moravians.27 Perhaps some of the key realizations made early by the Moravians, contributed to their success. In :I order to rfach the Indians, the Moravians relied on two tacti9s: travelling to Miskito communities, and prosthelytiizing in the Indian 1 s own language. 28 :I : . . The 1dea of reach1ng the Ind1ans 1n the1r own I 'I communi was not always an easy one. As has been i I noted, onl a relatively small percentage of the I Miski to in towns with most living in widely scattered remote areas. Furthermore, in 'i addition, living conditions were, of course, quite from those to which the Europeans were accust.omed. These facts continued to draw the '.I church back' into the towns, particularly to :I Bluefieldsl and consequently to the primarily Creole I population;. I I ; 27 19. I I 28 71. I I I '' I I I 'L 45


: . . ' ' i : ; I language, many of the Miskitos learned but not all of them, particularly I' ; the It was therefore necessary for any I' sincere missionary effort to be also carried out in I' the Miskit?:language. One mission concluded that, ., Since ,.,our missionaries also realized that Engli$h was not the native language of the Indians of the coast, and knew that the .. I -,_ [would] not penetrate 1nto the 1nner most:recesses of the human heart, and .. [woul:c;i] not become a part of the very fibre of any unless it [was] preached to them in their native tongue.29 ., '' This task made easy when dealing with the Creole .j. population .:as they already spoke fluent English. Gaining a great deal of familiarity with the ,I Miskito pebple, culture; and their language paid off quite nicely for the Moravians. Church ;'rew steadily over the years. After thirty reports indicated 1,146 baptized Moravians. ion the Coast. 30 The had realized as early as 1858 how V.ety desirable the training of native and evangelists was, if the tribes of ; ., 29 I ibii.d. 144. I. 30 87. ; 46 '' i: I


'. .: ;. i . ',I the coast as well as the interior was to be evangelized.31 I I i. ' Among the however, th1s never fully developed.-, : Among the Creoles, on the other hand, it was a This, combined with the facts that they spoke English and lived in the towns, to raise them into a most favored status with the church. As a result, the Moravians actually somewhat of a political hierarchy on the and placed the Creoles at the top. This in turn, allowed for the Creoles to assume positions of leadership which rightfully should ha-ve.belonged to the Miskitos, as the original inhabitants of the land. Foreign interference into the pre-existing political I structure, '.such as this, would later prove to be '. dangerous the very existence of Miskito selfand, indeed, to the survival of the Mosqui tia .. : i The of foreign components into Miskito culture did not, however, occur without some : :[ i 31 ibid., 73. 47 ' I


'I ' I '' be.nefits t.ol the Miskito. For example, during hardships;' as hurricanes and other natural disasters, as a result of the Moravian's presence, the regioi).i usually received timely material relief that would!. otherwise not come at all. A case in I i point is the hurricane which devastated Bluefields in 1876. The of the home churches in England, Germany and America helped to overcome the material losses, and considerable assistance could be given to the people.32 Further, the Moravian Church has been credited with in the areas of medical care and education. In addition to the few doctors and nursesr, many of the missionaries dispensed medical that previously was unavailable to the J j people. This established a new role for the health care providers. The other side of this is, of course, that the Missionaries were likely responsible for bringing many of the new 32 ibid.' 88. I 48


: I '' illnesses and diseases to the Atlantic Coast to :I begin With British influence, speaking English had become desirable to the Miskitos, making the Moravian popular among the Indians. In the I first school, the students were taught history, math, reading, writing, Bible history and'English, all in their native I language.34 However, according to the church, this first school was a failure in that all the students .I left after1acquiring a working knowledge of English. This was so:because theparents' primary reason for sending to school was to learn English, which to a greatextent had become the "official language" in the MosqUitia.35 Later schools were however I quite successful in retaining their students and providing education. I 33 '11 ,. Haml.lton, 39. 34 ibiq.' 73-74. 35 ibid.' 74. 49 i .'! !'I


; I : The Boom and Bust Cycles of Greytown chronologically to developments occurring the initial arrival of the Moravians;, it was during the next decade, between ',. 1850 and 18.60, that Greytown would grow and develop into a modern port town as the San Juan gradually ,, '' became more'commercially navigable and both British ' and u.s. 6itizens were attempting to settle there. The industrialist, Cornelius Vanderbilt, :' was largely responsible for this development as it I' i was he who obtained canal construction rights for I the San and he who built the new ships made the river easily navigable.36 once Vanderbilt's new Accessory Transit Company began its iservice, streets, entertainment facilities,,grocery stores, and foreign consulates were constructed and the town became very successful . and 11Amerianized.1137 Prior to this time, there were no lodging facilities and food was quite .I 36 Dozier, 79 'I 37 ibfd., 83. 50


.. I '' 'I ;1: ,. I scarce, essence making the town uninhabitable for I 38 Additionally, there were other reasons for making these improvements. One year I prior to the signing of the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, :I'; Americans.'began to use the only other isthmian canal i. in !America which was in Panama. This route was initially used to transport mail to the Oregon I : Territory 'c:tnd later to carry passengers to I' ; CaliforniaJ39 Therefore, whomever could establish I as more cortvenient and expedient a route to compete :I:; .-'I. I with the one in Panama, could stand to .' j prosper greatly economically, and prosper Vanderbilt I did as a of Graytown's growing success.40 The new American occupants of the town did I abide by laws, but did not acknowledge any British to the area, and further refused to .. recognize .the Miskito king. This would later lay I I : the foundation for a series of political and social !. I upheavals iin the region. During this time period, I' 38 77-78. ' 39 ., 'b'1d 76. l. 40 .I 79.!d. ,, ,. I 51 ., I ; j I : I : I I' i


! i the politics of this southern area continued to be I I by the non-Indians, .and their power even increased 1 i Nevertheless, the, Miski to King remained. ,I I': loyal to the British and, roundly denounced :I Americans 1141 the country's politics, since the time of independence, power had J.' '-1 I I I fluctuated: between the two of the ; I I Conservati7i'es and the Liberals. During this time, the were in power but were engaged in 'I : a civil war with the Liberals, each attempting to I o :I o contrpl of the country. In 1855, Liberal pabty representatives sought assistance from I! American Walker and his group of also referred to as filibusters, whose .I own agendal included enforcing the concept of i Manifest in the central American countries. I : In returnfor Walker's support, land grants were to I be made t6lhim and his group. Walker was quickly I I able to gather support from the American residents I' and eventually established an army in excess of ,I'. I I 41 1 103-104. 'I ., I :1: ',. 'i I : lr 52


' 'I I i I '' I 2,000 Amer1.can men, and subsequently took control of L j : the Nicaraguan government.4 2 Though many within the country supported Walker, the other Central American states did not. When it became apparent that he fully intended to I I gain complete control of the isthmian canal, both for Nicara9tia and consequently the u.s., the other Central American states declared war and invaded ' : I Nicaragua.; Meanwhile, in an .attempt to establish himself as,the official leader of the country, he called an 'eiection and subsequently won the 'I He could not, however, maintain control amidst the war with the neighboring '' countries for long and was forced to surrender in 1857.44 'j ', The town's success during this time was, also, mostly attributable to physical difficulties encountered with the San Juan. As time passed, Graytown's harbors became increasingly more 42 : ! I ibid., 96. 43 98-99. 44 ib:ld., 101. 53


I I : 'I difficult tp reach as the water level of the river decreased, causing silting to occur in the harbor areas.45 :In addition, just across the bay from Greytown a spit named Punta Arenas. Because of its location, it was much easier to reach and I eventually:began to lessen the need for passengers to stop at.Greytown.46 Also, there were a number of other economic and political factors, by the end of the decade caused much of the traffic to dissipate, marking the first of Greytown 1 1 periods. 4 7 The importance of Greytown, within the context of this paper, is that it suitably exemplifies the many ways in which foreigners: disregarded the native peoples when pursuing their own economic gains. It was often '' forgotten; or simply dismissed as unimportant, that all non-Indians in the Mosquitia were invaders, and at the outsiders. Furthermore, they were conducting their financial pursuits entirely upon 45 ibid. 1 110. 46 'i ibid. 1 87. 47 ibid. 1 112. 54 I :!


. i I I Indian lank and negotiating for and with Indian These facts, as stated, were generally ignored in' the name of money, and Greytown was a primary exkmple of this. ; I The Miskito Reserve Attempts to reach mutually satisfying agreements! over the legitimacy of the British continued and hostilities escalated '!. between the, British and the Americans. The u.s. went as far as to decide to declare the Clayton11 Bulwer Treaty abrogated by the British. To prevent I :I this possibility, the British consented to new, I earnest negotiations. This time, these negotiations ,. I resulted ip the Treaty of Managua signed between Nicaragua Great Britain.48 I' The points of the treaty, as they pertain to the Miskito Indians, are as follows: Article I j : stipulateq.1 Great Britain acknowledge the Atlantic Coast to be rightfully a part of the I 48 ibi4., 104-106. 55 I',


' I NicaraguaiJ. 1state. In accordance, the British I protectorate would be dissolved three months I following: 49 ; I : Artic:le Two, Jl :I. .. establl.shed a definite district to be to the Miski to Indians within the of Nicaragua . This newly defined distribt represented a considerable reduction in the area from that claimed as the territory of Mosquito Kingdom . The district later became. known as the Mosquito Reservation.50 I ; Three accorded the Misld to the power of self-goveJ;"pance within their reserve. Article Four enabled to have the option of li !' i "incorporating" into.the state of Nicaragua at any point in tame they chose.51 :I I In the fifth Article, the state of Nicaragua, :I . to pay the Miskito $5,000 annually for tep years to maintain their own government and for social Paymehts were to be made twice a year in Graytown to a representative of the Miskito Chief!. To provide the. revenue for these .. i 49 D.Olien, "Micro/Macro-Level Linkages: Regional Structures on the 1845-1864 j'! Ethnohistory, vol. 34, 1987), 279. 'I. 50 ibid. I. 51 ibid . I, .. ,. 'I I I' . I : 1.' 56 Mosquito Coast, no. 3, (Summer


., I I : payments, Nicaragua would levy an import duty on goods passing into Nicaragua through ... 52 Neither the Miskito King nor the Miskito people were ever in the treaty negotiations. Yet, as a direct result of this treaty, the Miskito Indians lo$t a sizeable portion of theirland base, the Kingdom, and their British protection from additional foreign encroachment53 (the loss of I which would soon lead to political disaster for the Miskito). : The literature suggests that Britain's decision .-I : to sign treaty was complicated by her other internati9nal, colonial interests. The British had heavily involved in the mahogany trade from Belize); however, this trade had now drastically diminished, reducing its importance ., to the British economy. The British were also involved in the Crimean War and were wary of the 52 ibid. 53 280. 57 I I i


' : prospect of1 simultaneously warring both with Russia I and the United States.54 And finally, the most crucial factor in Great Britain's withdrawal from the Mosquito Coast was growing dependence on American cotton.. England's mills had become dependent on u.s. cotton . The expanding sale of British cottqn, was crucial to England's economic growth .. I Whatever Britain's justifications were, it can be ' argued that the Miskitos were let down and even :' Britain's signing this treaty, which lost so much for the Miskitos. Even.lthough signing this treaty ended Britain's predominan9e on a global level, the British colonists.who remained continued for some time to heavily persuade local politics in their favor.56 I' '' In terms of the country's central the late 1850's:would mark the beginning of an unusually I calm period: of some thirty years in which party would rule and be favorably received by the populous at large .. : This was the result of a compromise 54 ibid. I 5 5 ibid., 280-281. I : 56 ibiq 0 259 0 58


' : I between the1 two parties (Conservative and Liberal) I I to take control of their own country in the face of .. the threat of Costa Rican interference, (the result "I i of the residual effects of the Walker problems). Under the :compromise reached, it was agreed that a moderate Cqnservative government would assume power. 57 Duringthe Reserve's last three decades, I ,. primarily .:due to the influence of the Moravian I Church, Reserve was basically run by non' Indians, namely Creoles and Blacks, even though I I Indians continued to hold the position of chief.58 It was after 1860, with the British largely gone .I from the Atlantic Coast, that regional power was rapidly shifting from the hands of the Miskitos into 'I i the hands of the Creoles and Blacks. As stipulated by the Treaty of Managua, a General and Executive Council to be established to oversee the operations .:of the Reserve. Forty-three 57 107-108. I 58 Micllael D. Olien, "The Miskito Kings and the Line of succession," Journal of Anthropological Research, vol. 39, no. 2 ( 1983) : 217. 59 "I


, I : '' r:. :II representatives were elected to the first General I :I : council. Of: those elected, only three were .1' Miskitos, tpe rest were Whites, Creoles, and Blacks. King Frederic, however, was elected :I s9 and of the Council. George r Augustus the last to hold the title of '' king died in 1864. Nevertheless, the Reserve 'I survived for another 30 years until it was ' reincorporated into the state of Nicaragua. I I From General Council, eighteen members were I 1 I I '' elected tothe Executive Council. The racial I compositiol11was as follows: three Miskitos; three 'I., Rama Indiartf:i two Whites; four Creoles; two Blacks; I i one Zambo (person of both Indian and Black : i heritage); three persons of unidenfified racial .I. origin.60 so many non-Miskitos. on the I 59 Michael D. Olien, "Imperialism, Ethnogenesis and Margina:lity: Ethnicity and Politics on the Mosquito coast, 1845-1964," Journal of Ethnic studies, vol. 16, 1, (Spring 1988) 17-18 'I .. 6 Formation of the Municipal Authority for the Government:!: of the Mosauito Reservation: Its Consti tutioh1 Laws, and Regulations, and Code and form of Civil and :criminal Procedure. Burr Publishing House 1884' p. 4..;.19. I. 60


II ; I 1 I I j: I I I. Council, they were soon left with very little input 1,. 'I., or into the governance of their reserI vat ion. 61 I I. I I In of 1889 the next convention was II : held and members were elected to both the :I, ,,, and Executive Councils. In the General Council .. there werej:three Ramas, sixteen non-Indians and r, twenty-four Miskitos. In the Executive Council 'l there was ,; one Miski to elected, and that was to the positi?n of Chief. Of the remaining members, three werer'Rama and the rest were non-Indian. 62 I : This was of the general pattern occurring Coast whereby the Miskitos were by! passed for:_:positions of leadership within their own ,! I: ,i I I. homeland and were being replaced, mostly by non-' I indigenous I' people. : i' :I 61 chien, "Imperialism, 18. Ethnogenesis and 62 Wh1ere race is not specified, it was not provided by!the resource I am using. "Municipal i:. Constitution and Annual Laws of the Mosquito for the Years of 1883 to 1891, Inclusive.,,., The Morning News Print, 1892, p. 58-63, 70, as cited in Olien, "Imperialism, Ethnogenesis and ' 'I Marg1nal1ty,11 19. I 61 ,I ;


; ,. i :. r ;; I I, the existence of the Miskito Reserve there was.much controversy regarding the specific ; I.: stipulati6hs about the residual role of the British ;I' I :I', and the role of the Nicaraguan government. For example, after King George Augustus Frederic died in q. 18 64, the:: Nd.caraguan government ceased its annual :I ; payments the Reserve, breaking the terms of the 'I actions Trbaty. The government justified its .. that the new Chief was elected Managua by the, I ... Creoles of the Shore . without the I I knowleoge of the Managua government, and that these!: pro-British inhabitants were. attempting to the same influence as they had under the protectorate.63 I Though by the government such as these 'I : were cleariJ:y an attempt to punish the British for II their relationship with the Miski tos, the blatantly and severely undermined':the Miskitos' self-determination. . : Actions such as these only served to further ,: i : ;Miskito mistrust and hostility towards the government. lj: 63 109. I 62


I ' in 1878, Nicaragua and Great Britain agreed that Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria could mediate disputed terms of the Treaty of Managua. The Emperor, .. encouraged increased British and foreign influence in the reservation by restoring complete autonomy to the Mosquito and by strictly limiting sovereignty rights, as provided under :the treaty. Not only did it call for continuation of the annuity but also for settlement of all the unpaid installments of years, with interest.64 He also that the Nicaraguan government was to no be empowered to, grant concessions for the adguisition of natural products within the reservation; that this right be reserved to the Mosquito alone.1165 Although Nicaragua did not agree with the decision, : s,he did abide by it for a short time. I During this, time, the Miskito Territory enjoyed, . practical independence from Nicaragua.1166 This fact was one reason that American business interests 64 iti;id.' 119-120. i I 65 120. 66 ibid.' 121. 63 I' i I


'I were enticed to the Atlantic Coast during this time period. Byithe 1880's conditions were nearly perfect for the commercialization of banana plantations. The Indian government was agreeable to the U.S. at this time as they felt the stronger the foreign the better chance they had to fend off forces. As a result, American interests received numerous inexpensive land concessions upon which to expand the plantations.67 Many the new settlers who came as a result of the American business' presence chose to reside in the town of Bluefields By the next decade, Bluefields had become a major exporter of bananas and other f.rui t on the world market. 68 As their business increased, Americans migrated from the u.s. to "less productive" Indian workers.69 In these eaily years, the Miskitos found it unnecessary to work for the companies because they 67 ibid., 142. I 68 ibid., 143. 6!1 ibid., 148. 64


I ,I were cont1nu1ng to function very well within their own traditipnal subsistence economy. Generally, any work they did for foreigners was considered a favor to the foreigners, and was generally limited to a few hoursat a time.70 It was, therefore, often misinterpreted by the foreigners that the Indians were and lazy, making Indian labor useful to the Americans only a last resort.71 It was also during this time that changes were ; occurring the central government after nearly three decades of political ease. In 1893, the Liberals, :who had grown restless under Conservative I rule, the Conservative party government and named their own Jose Santos Zelaya as the new over the next decade and a half, Zelaya would to be a very decisive and powerful leader.7 2 I 7 0 ibid., 147-148. 'I 71 Be!*nard Nietschmann, Between Land and Water (New York:. !Seminar Press, 1973), 29. 72 ibl'd., 149 0 I. I' I 65


. i : I The Reincorporation Throughout Nicaragua's historical battle over their right to rule the Atlantic Coast region, their motives were more centered around the fact that the Coast was:a part of their country and foreigners had no it that were not expressly granted by I I '' the central government. With the new banana boom gaining momentum, their motives became economic. : I They were n9t rece1v1ng any monetary benefit from the foreigp exploitation and were now no longer willing tb; tolerate these occurrences.73 As president,! Zelaya spearheaded this nationalist movement and took immediate action. Desp:i:. te the Emperor 1 s decision., the Nicaraguan government maintained the position that the Miskitos were not really in charge of the Reserve,justifying Nicaraguan into Miskito affairs. Finally, president of Nicaragua, imposed a military and declared martial law along the I I 73 i:b'id 0 149. 66 I.


I Atlantic Coast in February of 1894.74 It was the I I' I official of the Managua govermnent.that the Indians shared the belief that they were no longer in pf their government and wished to be incorporated into the state of Nicaragua. 75 This belief was, of course, not representative of most Miski tos ; that, I After.reincorporation, it was to be understood the area would hence forth be subject to the laws of the republic, that revenues would be coifected and administered by the national and that no persons, other than Mosquito Indians, would hold elected office in the communities and municipalities.76 It was required that the Indian representatives agree to the aforementioned, however, because many Miskitos not write in English, American representatives signed for them. It was doubtful : l whether the Indians gave their informed consent to 74 149-150 75 'b'1d . I o f 155. 76 I ibid., 156. 67 I '!


'I the agreemTnt.77 The Reincorporation officially occurred November of 1894, and the Atlantic Coast region became the Department of Zelaya. 78 Following The Miskito King was deposed, and Miskito author+ties were forced to sign a declaration of al:lE;!giance to the Republic of Nicaragua, called! 'La Carta de Adhesion de la Mosquitia a la de Nicaragua', a historical event bitte:.tly resented by indigenous coastal people, particularly the Miskitus. 79 As early as 1877, the Miskito King had already, a proposal for the integration of the Mosquitia as a province of Nicaragua; that] the religions, customs, manners, and laws of Nicaragua are in no way '80 77 ibid. I i 78 79 Treaty of Managua, January 28, 1860; here the Spanish is used: Tratado de Managua entre Nicaragua 'Y1la Gran Bretana, 28 de enero de 1860 in CIERA, Los' :M,iskitus dentro la Revolucion, Inforrne NO. 2-A. Managua: INRA, September 1980: p. 14. As cited in Roxannei Dunbar Ortiz, Indians of the Americas: Human Right:s and Self-Determination, (London: Zed Books Ltd, 209. 8 Further Papers Relating to the Arbitration of His Majestylthe Emperor of Austria in the Differences Between the: Government of Her Britannic Majesty and the Goverrun:ent of the Republic of Nicaragua Respecting the Interpretations of Certain Articles of the Treaty of Managua' Signed on the 18th of January 18 6 0, London: 68


I The further antagonized the I I They were well aware that it was the Spanish who first invaded their lands, and the Spanish who were now responsible for usurping their power for 'self-governance. Historically, the Indians had.never drawn a distinction between those I ; who first :attempted to colonize their ancestors and those currently controlling Nicaragua. would not be an effective alternative:for the Miskito Indians to regain control of their affairs because another foreign power, in this case Nicaragua, would still be attempting to control the Miskito Nation. The Miskitos were fully aware of this and saw through tO: the Nicaraguan motives hidden behind the justificat:i,.on.81 Under the Reincorporation Decree the Indians were exempted from both serving in the military and Harris & Sons, 18 81: 57 As cited in Philippe Bourgois, "Class, E-t;.:tl:hicity, and the State Among the Miskitu Amerindian's !of Northeastern Nicaragua," Latin American vol. 3, no. 6 (Spring 1981) 29. 81 Bourgois, 30. 69


. II' i I ,I I paying Additionally, they were entitled to I I have the ''l.ocally generated revenues" returned to their for the economic benefit of their "I! I communities. A similar agreement, the HarrisonI' I I was eleven years :later and I ; I added the :freole to those from r taxes and 'participation in the military. Further, the period of exemption for all included now limited tq fifty years. Regarding land, the new treaty stipulated that all titles to land obtained prior to Miskitos would be honored for I' I : and Creoles. For those who owned land, they were to receive pre-determined sized plots '' dependent the size of their family. Additional:j.y, plots of land for the purpose of public grazing would also be designated each I community :'11 In reality, however, Nicaragua :did not I uphold its ;obligations regarding the recognition and concessioniof land nor to reinvest in the local 't' :1' I: : According to Miskito spokesperson, I Armstrong.Wiggins, this latter treaty in essence, i I, 'I I 70 .I I I I I. 0 .I


. 1 : j ' nullifiedithe former Treaty of Managua,82 both of ' 'i which robbed the Miskitos of their traditional land base and 6hlture. [.: American business interests which had'fared well under[.previous conditions were now also worried ., I . about the'! implications of the i ' reincorporation. Though the American residents and 1,. companieswere often critical of the Indian I rhey were not in favor of the Nicaraguan the Coast. They would : i have, of qpurse, preferred American rule. law, the Nicaraguan authorities did nbt recognize the leases, concessions, contracts, and grants which foreigners [Americans] had obtained from the Mosquito .. Along with bureaucratic resttibtions such as the requirement of consular invoices (entailing additionctl I I I there was the 1mpos1t1on of export taxes i on bananas. . Finally, under martial law, foreign businesses were required to use the Spanish languaqein all official transabtions. 8:r I ; I Furtqer, Nicaraguan governmental ' '' !. representatives made 1t clear that thereafter, the : I : i I': I.: 82 Infqrmation obtained in a telephone interview with Wiggins from Washington, D.C., 3/13/91 . I I 83 Doz:ier, 150-151. I [ [ : I I ' I I: I I i. I ; i I ' '' 71


American would be held accountable under I Nicaraguan. l1aws. For example, they would no longer be allowed. to disregard the payment of taxes nor the laws of business. Furthermore, their participation I in any of revolt or subversive activity was, I.' henceforth, strictly prohibited.84 For a time, the fears and concerns of the i American residents halted all u.s. businesses on the coast. The American government, however, sided with I I ' the Nicaraguan state in asserting her supposed right to sovereignty. By so doing, the Americans were, of course, only attempting to further rid the Coast of British influence. BefoJfeproceeding chronologically, and in order to help to! synthesize much of the information given, I (which the lifetime of the Miskito Kingdom up until the a brief summary of the more important occurrences wiil fqllow. It Miskito King Jeremy I (1687-1720) II that the Miskito were first able to command a I I I 84 ibid 1 152 72


powerful mllitary force for the Spanish I : with. Theraids on Spanish held territories were significantly increased, sometimes as far south as modern day Panama.85 '' During King Edward's reign (1739-1755), the British a more formal control of the region. The first:superintendent, Robert Hodgson; was sent to the to oversee this process and strengthen the.relationship between the Miskitos and I Britain.86: Under the reign of George II (1777I 1800), the. effects of the Treaty of Paris were beginning .: to manifest themselves. The Spanish tried to re-exert their claim by sending increased numbers of settlers:to the Coast. It would soon be realized 'I though, that the Miskitos were clearly in military I control of.the area, and the Spanish were eventually I I pushed 8 7 85 ib:id.' 204-205. I 86 I 209. 87 ibid.' 213-214. 73 i I, :'


: l 1 It during the time that King Robert Charles i -. Frederic was in power that, '' I he that the laws of England were the laws:of the land. They continued to be so much afterl pis However, they were laws in name.phly and were unenforceable at the local level:. 88 During the rule of George Augustus Frederic ' the Moravian missionaries arrived on I 'I the Coast.: ; .I Further, , I Frederic's was the last coronation of a Miskito king by .the British; in fact,: I he was the last Miskito to hold the title of kirg. During [his] reign, the of the Miskito Kingdom was changed; the power of-the Miskito was greatly reduced as the British eventually withdrew most of their support.89 'I I In the United States signed the Clayton-,_, ; I ; Bulwer with the British, stipulating British :I withdrawai,.however; the British still did not pull I 1 i' out. Theyi:did, however, agree to leave, as was I,,' i specified the Treaty of Managua. This treaty I i ' ,, 88 Ol';i!en, "Micro/Macro-Level Linkages, i 260. I -' 89 "The Miskito Kings," 228. 74 '' I ., I :! i


. i I ' I created the: Miskito reserve, dissolved the title of king and with the title of Chief.90 i It during the rule of George Augustus Frederic that a major change in the internal '.! : pol1.tical p;['ocesses among the native population was '' to occur the non-Indians of the area became very active' in the politics of the Atlantic coast. I! I '' This proces$ was begun indirectly as the non-natives ,' I . (i.e. the slaves and former slaves) became increasingly powerful in the coastal economy as traders agricultural workers. As a result, they were to exercise a great deal of political over the local communities.91 During: the reign of Robert Henry Clarence the Miskito Reserve was "reincorporated" into the state of Nicaragua, thus 'I' ; making Clarence the last "Chief." The Miskito ; I ' people were'unilaterally declared Nicaraguan ':. 90 ' ibid., 229-230 I 91 ibid., 75


' o I citizens, :and the region was renamed Zelaya, after the of Nicaragua at the time.92 I 92 ibid., 235-236. 76


I i: I ,r ',, ,. ' ' ',I, I I' I . I ,. i ; ., i CHAPTER 5 UNITED STATES INTERVENTION Civil Unrest .: I'. In end, however, the reincorporation did I, I not, as Nicaraguan government feared stem the ' economic ihfluences and exploitation of the u.s. I ol' I : interests .i : i In fact, during Zelaya 1 s presidency, a ::,: select fewru.s. business interests received record ' 'I 1 :;,I numbers of I' h.and concessions, at one point amounting I I '!I! to ten of the total territory, including ,, mining For favorites of Zelaya (those who bought privileged status), their profits fold . Despite anincrease in I' : economic in the area, none of the profits were to the region and the economy actually :::.: :I,: worsened for most, as more and more of the areas I .. : I', resources .;were extracted.1 '':' I 1 L. Dozier, Nicaragua 1 s Mosgui to Shore: I I' I The Years of British and American Presence, (Universit.y, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1985) 150tl51. .! 77


:I : I .: I : I I '; Life' :for the residents of the Atlantic Coast, both indige,nous and foreign, grew more dismal each day. The:Nicaraguan administrators in charge of the Coast te corrupt and only managed to to the deterioration of the conditions for the inhabitants, both indigenous and foreign.2 The Americans complained the loudest because those in Eastern. Nicaragua, namely American traders, they were responsible for paying the lion-share of import.duties for the entire country.3 Additionally, many of the smaller companies were .: forced out of business because of the changes and corruption and dishonesty in Managua. This is tC>!suggest that the foreign businesses on i the Coast. ever operated with a. high moral standard. Greytpwn experienced another round of boom and bust econokics finally to fall permanently just after of the century. Most all of the u.s. '' following the decision of the u.s. to set its sights on a canal in 2 189. 3 ibi,d., 191. 78


i I I I Panama instead of Nicaragua. The town fell to ruins t !. : : i and its remains were confiscated by the Nicaraguan :I i : : I I 'I I The government was also becoming i' I increasingly displeased with the Zelaya regime. The 'I I U.S. tired:: Zelaya's poor treatment of many their ':I;; :I businesses<(particularly on the Atlantic coast), in "' ,. part causing the u.s. to turn to the Panama canal. Ill I :, 1: I This in turn, greatly angered Zelaya ,: 'I, the near cessation of relations between the u.s. Nicaragua.5 :i :: i ;! I I In 1999, a against the Zelaya governmentlwas ignited in Bluefields by the u.s. and !'I :I it soon sp+ead throughout the country with the ,II : ',I I conservatives at the helm. The American government l was at officially neutral, but eventually .I r joined thelrevolution. Only a few weeks later, 1 1' I Zelaya down and went into exile.6 With I': 4 5 6 ;I ,, ,. I ibi'd.J I I, .: ,, ; ., i ; I I 179. 181. 182-183. 79


Zelaya gone, a new era of U.S. intervention was set i' into motion. '' Though the revolution forced Zelaya out, all of I the problems did not disappear, and neither did the revolution.' The u.s. Marines who had arrived in Nicaragua the effort to force Zelaya out, f' remained in the country attempting to support the new Conservative government rule. Much of the violence and destruction attendant to the revolution '' continued full force in the eastern half of the country it had begun.7 '' I Throtl.c;hout the attempted revolutions in the I countryside, the economy and the social.climate on the Coast ;continued to deteriorate. Social unrest, indicated by increased incidents of murder, theft and arson Local authorities were unable to :control the situation, and th-e central government: did not supply effective security and jail for the population. As a result of 7 185-186. 'I 80 I


: ] I : 0 : i. !:' I. all of the1 ;property damage and such, insurance rates rose 8 This;' continued for the next five I years. In t913, u.s. Secretary of State William :. I.' Jennings decided to take action to help '' :I alleviate. N:'icaragua '.s economic problems. His I I. I ! proposal to the Bryari-Chamarro Treaty of 1914. I I ; The treatyiaccorded the u.s. canal option rights as well as right to lease naval bases on both the I Atlantic ahd Pacific coasts in exchange for a three 'I million dollar-payment. . !'I ambassador General Emilian6 Chamarro I signed theitreaty for Nicaragua, and two years later ran for anC:i. was elected Conservative party-president of Many in both Nicaragua and the U.S. strongly to the treaty claiming it drew the ; l I u.s. too 1nto N1caraguan 1nternal affa1rs, a ,: I 'I habit the '.u. s. had promised the American congress and people; to break. The u.s. of course supported I ' 8 195-196. .I "' 81 i


'I 'I Chamorro his office and the alliance stronger. 9 I ., i 'I U.S. Domination I,, 'I With'a strong u.s. presence in Nicaragua in the early century, including the U.S. Marines, the area was now considered "safe" by large u.s. :: business, as Standard Fruit. Standard Fruit I: i along with:; its subsidiary company, Bragmann's Bluff Lumber and others made Standard the biggest I' investor and the top employer throughout : :: Nicaragua 10' '' I I: By 1920's the economic condition was beginning/t;o improve in the east and the revived banana industry held a great deal of promise Coast. By :.1925, the biggest plantation, for example, three thousand paid workers.11 I I ; 9 ibid.' 193. :,,I 10 Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Indians of the Americas (London: Books Ltd., 1984) 211 11 MacDonald, "The Moral Economy of the Miskito Local Roots of a Geopolitical Conflict, "F in Ethnicities and Nations, ed. Remo Guidieri, ,Francesco Pellizzi, and Stanley J. Tambiah l I i 0 i i: I I 82


the Indians were not to benefit from the beginnings of the economic recovery as did the foreign residents. In fact, there were several disputes the Indian communities and the banana companies. In one specific instance, "the .Indians were considered squatters on 1 company 1 once the Standard Fruit concession was granteQ. ... 1112 There were many other similar cases in grave violations occurred. against the i! rights of the Indians since the reincorporation in '' 1894.13 W'ith the British gone, there was no one to fight on behalf of the Indians, and situations such as these frequently occurred. In more intense gold mining operations were getting under way during the 1920's. Indians, not surprisingly, were employed in the most labor and dangerous positions.14 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988) 19. 12 Dozier, 200-201. 13 201. 14 ibid., 202. 83


'II .I, , 'I i battles continued throughout the country, in the east. Revolution I I marked :decade, as did the heavy presence of the "I.' u.s. marihes. By the late 1920's, Augusto: Sandino 'II; was making' 'his presence known as a general of the '. ,i j Liberal currently waging revolution against .the Conservative government in Managua. ,; 'I I Sandino, w,ho primarily operated from Indian land in I the along the Rio Coco river and who was I I, known to part-Indian himself, became the leader ' '' of the revolutionaries" of the Liberal I:, : 'I:[ party, wh? fere quickly a force to be reckoned with. I I Miski tos, : ip general, did not often involve I themsel !in state politics, but many did on this I occasion,.! qbme out to support Sandino. Many of the ''I' 'I' :I ,. Indians come to realize that the strong foreign I: I ::1 'i presence beginning to weigh heavily upon their communi and too, wished for their departure. 15 I I mounting American domestic pressure to :' i withdraw Nicaragua, the u.s. agreed to rescind ,. I" : its Marines! on the premise that soon, free elections :: ], I 15 I' ib:i:d., 206-207 0 I: : 'I: .; I ., '' ,. I i , I I 84


'I would be The 1924 elections and I,. ' a coaliti6n government was chosen. In keeping with its the u.s. withdrew. Six later, however, :f'ormer Conservative President Chamorro led a coup d'e;t:at and again assumed power. In response, :i American returned to Nicaragua and stayed another years among continued violence and ; I i revolutiott!'.16 ,, I mounted their continued attacks from the : I I Coast region and eventually began to crush the:. economic recovery the region had been <' I i I mainly via the banana For ' the next years the unrest continued as did, I : t. once the country' s economic decline. In .. 19 2 8 the .: ui. s backed an agreement between the two parties and bring peace to the ; I ' Among othe,+. things, the agreement would provide for .! I' I the u.s. to:. oversee the new elections and for u.s. 'I. Marines t6'remain temporarily in the country until I; reached. Agreement was by : j, I I' both sides,'with the single exception of Sandino. ' 16 204 J.; ., 85 '' 'I ' ''I .; .! I '1'.'


. I , I' . I : :, It was this incident which caused the u.s. to view Sandino as a troublemaker and an obstacle to peace (and to .; I U;..S. profits). American Marines, as a :1 11 :. 'I I I launched an all out military campaign : : result, against sandino. '' 1.: Add1t;J;onally, Sandino did not agree with his I! I party's General Jose Moncada, and attempted:! ,to disrupt the elections. 17 Despite his i;; efforts, .Moncado, who Sand1no thought to be a I,, I I. traitor, :' on. Americans welcomed his vict9ry even though he::was with the Liberal party and hoped, in I I i him, that: '!tihey had found a new ally 18 As attempted revolution continued, American ?pmpanies continued to profit. By.the time I 'I the Greatoepression struck, however, the Americans 1-: : were forced: to reconsider their foreign business > l I investments,. As a direct result, the U.S. decided ; i :' to of its troops from Nicaragua. Sandino vowed, however, not to end his fight until 'i all u.s. trpops were withdrawn. Accordingly, He ,I j : 1 7 207-208. 18 207-208. I ': 86


. ; :I: :'1:' . I ; '' I began attacking the U.S. holdings in the east. 19 The U.S. trained and supported 'I Nicaraguarl ::National Guard attempted to control I I I 1' I Sandino 's 'assaults and proved, after several days, : : to be successful. l :, 1 . The His. government, on the other hand, seized : .: this opportunity to announce officially its pledge to remove: :P,ermanently its military from the country. In times the u.s. justified its military :,I : intervent1:on to protect American lives and business This time, however, they advised : 'i .! American9 '11n the future, to rely upon the National ',I Guard, or leave the country. It was now the position of the u.s. that these I i I: .I types of ba_:ttles were better left to 11native troops1120 1Despite the terminology, this reference ':I was not to include Indians but rather the ::1. i Nicaragua::.horn Spanish, as most Miskitos refrained ' from engaging in these military maneuvers. :' .: l I: ; I I 19 MacDonald, 20. i: 20 212. I, ': 87 : I i I' I ',, I,


I Sandino continued his offensive military actions, iwhich were now also aimed at the National Guard. sandino was effective and his power was steadily The u.s. did withdraw immediately after the next election in which Liberal party can4idate Juan B. Sacasa was chosen as president and former foreign minister Anastasio Somoza .appointed chief director of the increasingiy powerful National Guard. In accordance with his earlier promise, Sandino, ceased his guerilla offensive immediately," following the u.s. ' withdraw.21 Nevertheless, Sandino's actions came too late for Somoza!,: who was attempting to gain as much power as possible and who viewed sandino as a serious threat to that endeavor. To those ends, Somoza ordered his: top men in the National Guard to ambush Sandino after a dinner with President Sacasa, during which they'were trying to reach peace agreements, '' and to arrest him. Hours later, Sandino, two of his top aides;.and his brother were shot to death by 21 ibid. 88


machine gun fire.22 As a direct result of this I "conquest;" Somozas power grew, and he was elected president in 1936. He, and subsequently his sons ruled !.

, I CHAPTER 6 THE SOMOZA REGIME: YEARS OF EXPLOITATION Throughout the Somoza dictatorship, the exploitation of the Atlantic Coast increased dramatically, primarily in the areas of gold, silver, turtle, shrimp, lobster, bananas and timber. 1 .In addition, Somoza was also reaping benefits from the Coast via his family's own fishing and transport companies operating on the eastern shores.2 the 1930's, Americans and Canadians who were mining in the northern interior of the also became powerful-enough that they were able to have all of their supplies flown into the area. This form of transportation was quite I costly, affordable to the foreigners as the, 1 Roxapne Dunbar Ortiz, Indians of the Americas: Human Rights and Self-Determination (London: Zed Books, Ltd., 1984) 213. 2 Philippe Bourgois, -"Class, Ethnicity, and the State Among the Miskitu Amerindians of Northeastern Nicaragua,"' Latin American Perspectives, vol. 3, no. 6, (Spring 1981) 25. 90


'I : 'i ,, i 'I ': I -1 for the high transport costs I in the form of low labor costs. In the 19 5o; $, wages were no more them about $1. 50 per day the 2,500 Nicaraguan, Mosquito, and workers ... 3 : :1 DuriJg the forty-three year reign of the Somoza ':f: family, businesses on the coast experienced I: both growth and decline. Always, : I however, 1 : i .i I I. the X:fctims are the local inhabitants -the who have been left with a ravaged envi:li,onment devoid of -the most basic physical and.eqonomic infrastructure, i.e., there is no by road to Zelaya;. there are few medical facilities are virtually what limited industry remaining cont'.f:riues to be dedicated to the extraction of resources ... 4 "II The S1omoza administration mostly ignored the j I 1:1 eastern re1gion of the country when not exploiting :1 : it. "The i :government s presence took the form of a I i handful of.i ;abusive and corrupt bureaucrats and minor :II I :I I" I I 3 'I: The Year:s i (University:, 1985), 219:., i ; L. Dozier, Nicaragua's Mosquito Shore: of British and American Presence, Alabama: University of Texas Press, 4 ; I i 25. 'I i I 91


'I I' I military o,fficers and was more notable for its 'I absence .. 1115 The and actions of the National Guard were a example depicting differences in I approaches to eastern and western Nicaragua.. The Guard's repression and violence fell more upon.the residents of the Pacific Coast than on those in the eastern region of the country. This is not to sayj,, however, that Guard members stationed in I the east were not abusive or corrupt. The National Guard fact, play a major role in the black market in of the port towns along the Coast.6 As a result of the Guard's limited occupation. in the east, the Indians were not among the major of the Somoza dictatorship. And, neither were they involved on a large scale in the Sandi:hi:sta warfare, although the Indians were informed of the all atrocities by ongoing radio reports.7 ; 5 ibid., 31-32. 6 ibic(. 16. I I 7 Bourgois, 32. 92


'I 'I I : ', I:! A happening in the lives of the :: i Miskitos ci:id, however, occur during this time. The event was1 a 1960 decision by the International Court 1 I ; of ;to move the border between Honduras and : ' 'I : to the Rio Coco. 8 The traditional 'II '. I Miskito extends north beyond the Rio Coco '' ' to near T:r:ujillo in Honduras, thus the boundary '. I changes separated many families and communities. I , I "Somoza's::N'ational Guard forced more than s,ooo .1 I Miskitus -qp' relocate from the disputed territory to within Nic'araguan jurisdiction. 119 Still today I the I Miski tos d'?: not recognize the recently designated border. For them, their traditional territory will I : ': always entire Yapti Tasba-the Sacred Motherland:.; I : Notwithstanding the neglect, the Indians fared : : r I ,: better under the Somoza dictatorship than did the '! 1:: residents :,of the western coast. As their Moravian 'I:: religion had taught them, they tended towards the I I end of the political scale, and they I' I 'I: '' ' 8 Ort'ii Indians of the Americas, 213. ,, I I i I ,, g ibid.' 1 214 o 93 I' : II': ', : [, i

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I I I. i 'I were not as threatened by Somoza as others were. Many of the Miskito men even joined the National Guard in tije east. All in all, the Somoza regime left the people alone to live their lives ::I, with little interference by.the state government.10 This is not to say, however, that the prospect for a I better li'f:e, one in which their ownership of their natural resources would not be dismissed and their people wotild not be thought of only in terms of their use would not be welcomed. In fact, many of Indians greeted the overthrow of Somoza with a deal of enthusiasm and hope for their future. I 0 ' 10 232. 94

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. ',I 0 CHAPTER 7 CHANGES IN THE MISKITO SUBSISTENCE ECONOMY AS A: .!RESULT OF FOREIGN BUSINESS INTERESTS ON THE ATLANTIC COAST All of this is not to say, however, that the Miski to' s d:id not encounter many changes and hardships:just prior to and during Somoza's reign. I Their subsistence economy was intensely affected and permanently changed as a result of the presence of foreign interests and the commercialization 'i of particular mainstays of their traditional economy. Over time, the Indian laborers became ': accustomed to working for the foreign companies and looked forward to purchasing foreign goods with their salaries.1 There were many times, though, when the Miskito did not have the means necessary to purchase those desired goods. When this was the 1 Theodore MacDonald, "The Moral Economy of the Miskito Indians: Local Roots of a Geopolitical ,in Ethnicities and Nations, ed. Remo Guidieri, Francesco Pellizzi, and Stanley J. Tambiah (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988), 20. 95

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case, the returned to their subsistence form I of living." This was possible because, in order to survive, Miskito developed a "dual economy.112 This consisted of the men working for the foreigners,. and the women maintaining their traditional subsistence economy. When the European I' prospering, by working the Miskitos created the possibilities for themselves to achieve a surplus ,'in cash and/or goods. When the businesses ' II left the re1gion, the Miskitos returned to their traditional: methods of survival.3 '' The Mi.skitos' ability to rely upon their subsistence economy at times was jeopardized, however, with the increased exploitation of their I: traditional' food staples. Critical ingredients in their tradftional diet included turtles, lobster and I shrimp, of which were fast becomingdepleted due to the extent of the foreign exploitation. waters became dangerously polluted and 2 Mary1W. Helms, "The Miskito Indians of Eastern Nicaragua: Isolation, Integration. or Destruction?," Revista Occidental, vol. 1, no. 1, (1983): 4. 3 'b'd l. l.. 96 I :

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',. .'I : I and who resided in the local forests w.elf'e seriously threatened. 4 At times, and hrnger were prevalent among the Indians. Their traditional diet, previously healthy and well was now often substituted for one which of much less healthy and abundant I,; foods 5 : : ' In additionto harming their health, the I I I changes a:t1so effected other areas in the Miskito :. : I 11Lanf, labor and crops were becoming transformed from use-values to h . li' i I d t exc ange-va:lues, that 1s appear1ng as commo 1 1es with a apart from a social or subsistence ,, I :::::X::":r, ::: l :::s social 4 DunJar Ortiz, Indians of the Americas: ' I Human Rights and Self-Determination (London: Zed Books Ltd. I :, 216. I 5 L. Nicaragua's Shore: The Years 1 of Br1t1sh and Amer1can Presence, (Universit.yi1 Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1985) I 231:. I 6 Ortiz, Indians of the Americas, 223. ''I 7 'b'd 1 1 1 I i : I,!' : i :.I I I', ,i I 224. 97

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changed the traditional relationships between '' various members of each community, and their I J i i : patterns.: b'f communal food sharing. 8 :1 I Further, the Miskito had an agricultural cycle :I. which coincided with optimum yearly environmental conditionsi. In time, the Miskito altered these 'I patterns ,:to allow for the highest profit possible, ::I': often to detriment of the land and quality of I' the 9 the most example of nearly ' damage done to the indigenous. economy is f ;, found in i6.e case of the green turtle. The green I I turtle the main component to the I I :[I Miskito diet and also held a considerable cultural significa:r)ce as well. The turtle supply was I.' I I !: I as 1.ts demand by foreign.residents and companies; !sharply rose. Not only did this nearly :; : : cause the, :extinction of the turtle, but it greatly disrupted\ lthe lives of the Miski tos. 10 Towards the I I I I ,: ... 10 I I It, 230-231. :I' : : I I. 98

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. i 'i f : 1: i :I end of 1960's, some of the foreign companies 'I I the coast, this time to exploit the turtle. ., Tpe Miski tos, desiring to bolster their own I! complied with the companies demands. The were disastrous. For example, I I I After:two turtle-.processing companies I. established operations in late 1969 and began buying at higher prices than ever before, the of turtles taken by one coastal increased 228 percent within two yearsi while the sale of turtles outside the increased 1; 500 percent. 11 I,' I One .:of the most important residual effects of i the foreign business on the coast was the fact that I 1: it called: linto question the Miskito' s historical ' rights to, all of the natural resources in the area.12 Somozas complete disregard iT for claims to the land and its resources ' ;!. led to many occurrences in which Miskito rights and needs ;wholly overlooked in the name of For exampi:e an American lumber company, after depletingimuch of one area's lumber resources, : I, .1. .. ! ,' i r, I 11 Bernard Nietschmann, Between Land and Water (New York: :Seminar Press, 1973), 199. : i 12 21. ,I I : ,I. I' :'I I ; I' 99

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I 'I II ,. I I i i ;. offered reforest the area. Somoza, on the other ' hand, instead for a higher export tax. As a \ i. result, Na..caraguas lumber industry soon declined .: I i and he forced into a reforestation plan to bring back the f.orest activity. In order to do so, Somoza 'i I nationalized enormous areas of Miskito land, :I! forbiddirtg: the Indians access and use of their own I, timber. 13' I I I I I i Though such violations occurred, the Miskito ': 1 1, ., and thei:t traditional subsistence economy survived 1l i not only Somoza years but the 489 years which :' I I I I this spans, and will no doubt continue to do so. ' I ',1 I I 1 i 1' :I I I ' .I' ., I : I 13 MJbbonald, 21. ,: i : I I ;.I> .. 'I' I I' .. 100

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!II' ' I , .! I I ., 'I: 'I I' ''I CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION : I Although not each of the foreign actors affected each of the five main cultural components, : j each actdl,i-,significantly affected at least one aspect o:fj society. What will follow is a brief of the impact of each of the five ,, i foreign (Spanish, British, Moravian Church, United states, and the Nicaraguan State, I' I I under Somoza) upon the relevant aspects of Miskito1 .culture (language, land base, religion, I' I . '!' i political, s'tructure and traditional subsistence ' '. I economy) ,hich it affected. i'l' Earl: ,Spanish attempts to alter any of the I: primary areas entirely failed. They were '' unsuccessful in capturing any Miskito land or .; I I forcing aspects of their own culture upon the Miskito. : i I I I : It is:difficult to say with certainty whether '' I I i the tc;r: could have permanently denied Spanish 'i : 101 'I I : ; I

PAGE 108

. I: ,I :::: i : ':1 I :,1. I colonial:.fforts in the east without the assistance 'I of the However, based upon the Miskito's '' 't. general success prior to the British arrival, it is i :f I likely would have been able to do so. The ;total rejection of the Spanish by the I :I Miskito probably most attributable to the absolute lack of regard the Spanish.displayed for them as and for their rights to the land and all ; i I resources. And, as a direct result 'I I : ab,usive of the and ethnocentric way in which the '' Spanish apJ)roached the Miskitos, they were ; I 1,[_1: absolutely '.determined to forbid any form of Spanish incursion into the Mosqui tia. The Atlantic : l on the other hand, came to the not with the goal of conquering it, o I I' I but with the intention of establishing trade posts and economically prospering. The British befriended .; :r.: _:I I I the as stated, assisted them in prohibi.,ting Spanish encroachment. This was, of ; course, to the benefit of the British and it 'I: .I I helped to achieve and maintain foreign hegemony on the Nonetheless, the Miski tos believe i l I I 0 : : : 102 : I ',

PAGE 109

. I il' i' 'I I ,. '' I : l i ,I. that it a result of British presence that they were to establish indigenous hegemony over ; : I the other Ind1an people in the region. i ll As a !result of the close relationship which developed the Miskitos and the British, : i these heavily impacted several aspects of Miskito Perhaps most significantly, the British affected the regional political I I structure the Atlantic Coast by encouraging the creation of .:the Miskito Kingdom. While the kingdom did not af:fect all Miski to communi ties nor at all their forms of self-governance within their villages, it did expand Miskito rule to other peoples ini Mosqui tia and symbolized their status I'. as a nation. Also of great importance was the fact that the '' British, in .:the name of the Miskito, proclaimed to I I : the state bf Nicaragua that Miskito lands extended from the to.wn of Cape Gracias a Dios in the .north to san Juan ded: Norte in the south. This for the first :I : I:.: time, established the boundaries of the Mosquitia and the rule of the kingdom . I 103 I i'

PAGE 110

Unfortunatel,y, it was also the British who later signed the 'Treaty of Managua with the state of Nicaragua which greatly diminished Miskito I I territory. In of the Miskito economy, while the British did :trade various items with the Indians, it did not the internal workings of their subsistence economy. The Moravian Church, which was welcomed and encouraged :to the Atlantic Coast by the British, made the first of its strongest impressions in the area of It was the.first church to preach Christianity in the native language of the Miskitos and the to settle among them in their villages. Although the Church was probably more successfulin reaching the Creole population, nevertheless it was and continues to be the most dominant chJrch on the Coast. I While many Miskitos adapted doctrine of the Moravians, they have never abandoned their native faith, but rather added to it concepts of Christianity. 104 I '"I ,.

PAGE 111

I :! : i The sep:ond most critical change the Moravians ; caused was:Jn the area of political structure. As I the result I p;f their favoring the Creoles, they were able to infJ.[uence the replacement of Miskitos with I l Creoles int9 positions of political leadership over .. : Miski to For example, by virtue of the clout the carried, they were able to create I '!' I leadershipirom the local Creole population and I elevate then( into positions of power. Specifically, Creoles and:; :other non-Indians were placed first on ' i the Council and later on the General and Executive co:uncils, which were in charge of. : : i overseeing 1 Miski to Reserve. : These :important. and long-reaching occurrences I led to the.Miskito loss of regional control within '.' their own base. Again, however, they were unable to any change within the Miskito :I I tradi tionalt' ;governance. structure. I Finaily, as a result of British presence, : i English had become a popular language among the '' .. I Indians. was through the Moravian schools that I I! I English was ;taught on a region-wide basis. ' '' I ; ': : l : ( : I o ; : I ' ' 105

PAGE 112

I ,; l I' I [I I, I I j. The mO:st critical impacts made by the United ' I' States were' 'in the areas of political structure, I economy !land base. I Regarding the regional political structure, it was the States settlers who refused to recognize Miskito King as the authority of the ; ,I Atlantic C9ast, thus undermining indigenous control i :. of Indian land. This irreverent attitude carried :I I over to U S_l.: businesses who disregarded the rights of the to the natural resources. Consequently;, businesses moved onto Indian land and forced many 1 'of Indians out and exploited many of the resources f.or extensive profits. The Miskitos were ;.l: not seen as.: real people nor as the rightful owners ',I of land anal 'its resources, but rather as impediments .'' to u. s ts. and they were treated as such. Further., the u.s. allied itself with the :I.: in the effort to dissolve the I' British so that u.s. interests could directly and cheat the Indians. These : 'L I I' endeavors evntually led to the signing of the ,i !: : Treaty of so devastatingly effected the : !. 106 I 1. I I ; ,I 1 i"

PAGE 113

:I'' ,, I .. :H :I; :1; I 'I 'I 1 : .; : Miskito's base, political structure, and later : l their economic system. :I The ti ideology, as a whole, greatly resembled :;{hat of the early Spanish. The only real I, : r .. difference!was in the actions, which were more ., 'r subtle. ; ';r, ':.: i I I As the case with the other foreign actors, '.I despite U efforts to penetrate and dominate Miskito surface '., I I society, they were able to effect some I' ,I: I 1 1 1 elements of the Ind1ans trad1t1onal culture I i ,. but were u#successful in forcing the replacement of : i: the traditional with the foreign. : '' 'I The final foreign actor to be examined was the 'I .. :: :r I Nicaraguanlstate. Though this category does ',; 'i j include, for the purposes of this paper, the time ,; I : period from Nicaragua's independence in .; I, 1838 througp Somoza's reign in 1979, it is only the .,, :,I state under' the rule of Somoza which will be j 1: ; I 'r addressed;in this -section I: Withithe exception of Zelaya, who was ',[': for reincorporating the Mosquitia into I i i l the state:of Nicaragua, it was Somoza who had the I .; . I.' 'i : i l '. r ; ; j '.! 107

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... ' i I I most effect upon traditional Miskito culture. In this case, his influence took the form I of natural resource exploitation. Had it not been for the existence of their traditional subsistence:economy, the Miskito would have, very likely, not escaped the injustices of Somoza as well I as they did.. However, because the Indians were not dependent Ufon outside sources for their survival, they were able to maintain their traditional lifestylethroughout the dictatorship and nearly forty of disastrous resource plundering. As explained,ih the last chapter, however, Somoza, both I directly and indirectly did cause permanent, negative to occur in their subsistence economy . The Miskito were, on occasion, barred from some of their traditional farming and grazing lands, coerced allowing the commercialization of some I of their mo:st necessary food staples, and the government.1 and foreign companies began to foster a need among, :the Indians for store-bought goods. It is ,within the realm of possibility that this last compo,nent of subsistence economy was the most 108 I

PAGE 115

,I I '' ,I important of survival amidst a sea of foreign invaders. 1 :When a people become dependent upon anyone besides their own communities for food, it is likely that those people will be ready targets for manipulati9n by the settler government of their country, and they are not likely to any degree ofself-determination after that. In case of the Miskito, the maintenance of all five of their traditional cultural components each a decisive role in their survival as a '' people. ' ,' '' I 109 ,'; .11 I

PAGE 116

I '. I I : [ ; .. 'I '', I i l , :J, : Map APPENDIX A of N' 1caragua Map by Bernard Nietsch mann 110

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:L ,} 'II T : 'I :I :I .' i' I I I APPENDIX B GENERAL CHRONOLOGY I 'j' 1502 "discovered" Atlantic Coast of Ni'qaragua 1633 1633 1823 1838 BrH.ish first arrive on the Atlantic Coast 18 9.4 -Existence of the Miski to Kingdom Central America's independence from Spain independence from Spain First British superintendent dispatched to ,I I : Nl.caragua 1847 Church arrives on the Atlantic Coast 1848 -Beginning of significant U.S. interest in ,, l NJ:caragua I,. 1850 Treaty signed between u.s. and Britain 1850 to -Graytown's first boom and bust cycle 1860 of Managua signed between Nicaragua and Great Britain 1860 to 1S94 -Miskito Reserve 1880's First u.s. banana boom on the Atlantic I r'coast 1894 Mosquitia was "reincorporated" into Nicaragua 1905 -Hartison-Altamirano Treaty signed I 1920's Second U.S. banana boom on the Atlantl.c 1934 1936 1979 sandino murdered by Somozas men to Somoza family rules Nicaragua -sandinista Revolution .; .I ,! I .r I .'i :r I 'I 'I; :, i i 111

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:i,; :1 ,, !/! ,[, : I I'. ''1.: I: :I' : ': ; : :I :I ':1 APPENDIX C Chronology' lqf the reign of the identifie<;I: :qy Michael in and the of Success1on". Miskito Kings as "The Miskito Kings 1633 1641 1655 1687 1720 1729 1739 1755 1777 1800 1816 1824 1845 1866 1884 1889 1891 '' ' to I : to 1655 to 16S,6 .. 11 I to 1720 'I to 17 .. 2:9 ,. I I to to 17'55 to to 18:oo i I I to 18116 to 18!:24 to 18:42 to to 18'83 Tl I to 1888 I I I' to .18t90 :1 -r to I i :I ' : i : i I j ::: i I : :. I :I I . :. I :I '' '. f,: I .: !'. i I '' :I :I : i ; I' I : ',1 : : r[; I_:,,: I The King The Prince Oldman -Jeremy I -Jeremy II -Peter Edward -George I -George II -stephen -George Frederic -Robert Charles Frederic -George Augustus Frederic -William Henry Clarence -George William Albert Hendy -Jonathan Charles Frederic -Robert Henry Clarence 112

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: !;1 tl . : :r d :. : i; : :II: :I:' ; i ; 'I I :I' ''I i .r 'I I I .i i I I. :I i :I BIBLIOGRAPHY 'I I Bourgois, ::Philippe. "Class, Ethnicity, and the State of No::theastern Lat1.n Ame::1.can Perspect1. ves, Issue 29, vol. :3J no. 6 ( 1981): 22-39. I "Ethnographical survey of the Miskito artcl Sumu Indians of Honduras and Smithsonian Institution I Bureau of American ':Ethnology, Bulletin 106, US Government Printingi0ffice, Washington (1932): 1-178. ,: .I 'I De Kalb, "Nicaragua: Studies on the I :. ,[I I I Mosqul.tO :iShore l.n 1892. II Journal of Amerl.can Society of New York, vol. 25 (1892): 236-288. r:1 : I .)I I II. Dennis, Philip A., and Michael D. Olien. "Kingship Among thed!Miskito." American Ethnologist, vol. 12 (1984): :I Dozier, L. Nicaragua's Mosquito Shore: The Years ofiBritish and American Presence. University: Universitfi of Alabama Press, 1985. : li'; Floyd,>The Anglo-spanish struggle for the Mosaui tia ll' Alburquerque: University of New Mexico I _it Press, 'I .' Formation the Municipal Authority for the Government!: of the Mosgui to Reservation: Its Consti I Laws I and Regulations I and Code and :!:frm of Civil and Criminal Procedure. Burr House 1884, p. 4-19. :i I I ,i ', i I I I :I ,! ,I o "J I :"I: 113 :: I i I ": I,

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' Further Papers Relating to the Arbitration of His Majestyithe Emperor of Austria in the Differences:: Between the Government of the Republic of!Nicaragua Respecting the Interpretations of Certain Articles of the Treaty of :Managua Signed on the 18th of January 1860, London: Harris & Sons, 1881:57. Hamilton, Meet Nicaragua. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Comenius Press, 1939. Helms, Mary "Matrilocality, Social Solidarity, and Culture: Contact: Three Case Histories." Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, vol. 26, no. 2 (Summer .1:970): 197-209. Helms, Mary w. "The Miskito Indians of Eastern Nicaragua: :Isolation, Integration or Destruction." Revista Occ.idental (Tijuana, Mexico), vol. 1, no. 1' ( 1983): 1-14. Helms, Maryw. "The Purchase Society: Adaptation to Economic Frbntiers." Anthropological _Quarterly, vol. 42' no.. 4 ( 1969): 325-342. Keely, Rober;t N. Jr. "Nicaragua and the Mosquito Coast." Popular Science Monthly, vol. 45, no 6 ( June. 18 9 4 ) : 16 0-1 7 4 ': I Las Casas, de. 1957-58. Obras escogidas de Fray Bartolome de las Casas, ed. by Juan Perez de Tudela,' Ediciones Atlas: Madrid. "Brevisima relacion de: la destruction de la Indias, vol. 5, ch. 14, 134'-81. MacDonald,.; .;rheodore. "The Moral Economy of the Miskito Local Roots of a Geopolitical Conflict. In Ethnici ties and Nations: Processes of Interethnic. Relations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, ed. by Remo Guidieri, Francesco P'ellizzi, and Stanley J. Tambiah. Austin: University' of Texas Press, 1988. 114

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