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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jinotega (Spanish pronunciation: [xinoˈteɣa]) is the capital of the department of Jinotega in the north central region of Nicaragua.

The city located in a long valley surrounded by the cool climate and Dariense Isabelia ridge located 145km north of the capital Managua. Jinotega has a population of 123,548 inhabitants (city) and 417,372 department [CENSUS 2012]. Jinotega produces 80% of Nicaragua's coffee, which is exported to the United StatesRussiaCanada and Europe.


Also in Jinotega are several rivers and a lake. Apanas, an artificial lake of 51 square kilometers that provides hydropower to much of the country Although there is some contradiction as to the origin of the name, Jinotega is generally known as "The City of Mists" (Ciudad de la Brumas) for the magnificent whisks of clouds continuously feathering through the top of the valley. Another generally accepted name is" The Eternal City of Men "(" City of Eternal Men " ).



The Indian city of Jinotega existed before the Spanish arrived. It is unknown when the first Spanish settled in Jinotega. It had to be after the year 1581, because the Spanish Census of 1581 shows it was still an Indian town. Even in 1703 when missioner Fray Margil de Jesus visited Jinotega there were no permanent Spanish settlers there. However by 1731 there were some permanent ones, like Juan de Castro, othe Spaniard lastnames like Gadea, Duarte, Altamirano, Alburquerque, Fray Juan de Zeledon, and some soldiers. Zeledon is said to have invited some nephews to come here who let descendants who still live there: some of them are Zeledon of La Concordia, Umure and Ocotal Espeso and Pacsila, idilic communities located between the cities of Matagalpa and Jinotega. According to locals, Jinotega was founded when five Spanish families moved north from Nueva Segovia by year 1700 to settle the "dry zone" or "zona seca" community of Jocomico, Naranjo, Umure, Ocotal Espeso, which lies bout 15 kilometers south of the city. The city of Jinotega was formed in the middle of a bowl-like mountainous area. In 1703 a large cross was placed by Spanish friar Margil de Jesus at the highest point of Chirinagua in the western edge of the city, now called Cerro de la Cruz. It is illuminated at night, and tourists organize hiking tours to this peak.


BLI "contra" soldiers marching through Jinotega in 1985


The name Jinotega derives presumably from the Nahuatl word "Xinotencatl". Linguists disagree on the meaning of this word. Some interpret it as "City of the Eternal Men", whereas others translate it as "Neighbors of the Jiñocuabos". The word "Neighbors" here should be understood as being like the ending "ville" or "land". The interpretation as "Neighbors of the Jiñocuabos" is more likely to be the right one, since Jiñocuabo is a tree (Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg.) praised by the natives for curative properties. In the Nahuatl-Language Jiñocuabo seems to mean "mangy tree".


The Jinotega region is perhaps the most war-torn region in Nicaragua's history. Its remote location as well as its proximity to the border with Honduras made it a haven for rebel forces throughout the last seven decades. The most intense battles took place in the Department of Jinotega between 1927 and 1934 under Augusto C. Sandino and his troops (popularly known as "los bandoleros") against the American occupation troops. Later, at the end of the 1970s, Jinotega was a place of bitter war between the troops of Anastasio Somoza Debayle and the civilian rebel population. Somoza was defeated on July 19, 1979. After a short period of peace, civil war began again between government troops of the new Sandinista regime and the Contra rebels who felt betrayed by the Sandinistas and were funded by the United States.



  • Mountains: Cuspire, Chimborazo, Kilambe (1750m), Peñas Blancas, Zinica, Saslaya, Baba, Asan Rahra

  • Valleys: Jinotega city, Pantasma, Cua, Wiili, Wamblan, Bocay

  • Rivers: Coco, Yali, Montecristo, Pantasma, Cua, Wamblan, ULwaskin, Bocay, Wina, Amaka, Tuma, Viejo

  • Lakes: Apanas

  • The climate is subtropical and tropical in the high valleys, dry in summer, rainy in winter and cool in the mountains.


Jinotega is bordered to the:

  • north by the municipalities of Santa María de Pantasma and Wiwili

  • south by the municipalities of Matagalpa and Sébaco

  • east by the municipalities of El Cua, Bocay, and Tuma La Dalia

  • west by the municipalities of La Trinidad, San Rafael del Norte, La Concordia, and San Sebastian de Yali



Starting from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jinotega was driven by the economics of coffee. Jinotega is still a major supplier of coffee for Nicaragua and for other countries. The basic grains (corn, beans, and wheat), vegetables (tomato, lettuce, onion, cabbage, parsley, radish, celery, broccoli, potatoes, taro, carrot, cucumber) and fruit species also contribute to its economy.

Hydroelectrical energy generated by Centro América Plant supplies energy for much of the country.



Public Universities

  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua León (UNAN)

  • Instituto Nacional Tecnológico (INATEC).

Private University

  • Universidad del Norte de Nicaragua (UNN).



  1. Yali

  2. Pantasma

  3. San Rafel del Norte

  4. La Concordia

  5. El Cua

  6. Wiwili

  7. Bocay


Notable people


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