William Walker -(1824-1860) He is commonly known as a filibuster, or a adventurer seeking to take control of Latin American Nations with the purpose of making them a pat of the U.S. When he was only 29 years of age, Walker and a small army sailed into Baja California and Walker declared himself president of Lower California. After a brief reign and a large of amount of desertion among the ranks, Walker surrendered to U.S. authorities on the grounds of violation to U.S. neutrality laws. After being acquitted of charges Walker soon became interested in areas of Central America. In 1855, he was invited by the Democratic party leaders in Nicaragua to come help them fight. Walker along with 58 recruits soon headed for Granada. "The Immortals" (this is the name given to Walker and his men) soon got the attention of other Central American countries who grew fearful of Walker's future plans. Costa Rica sent a small armed force to invade Nicaragua and wipe out the insurgents. They failed. Walker had himself elected president of Nicaragua, a regime briefly recognized by the U.S. Walker soon gained other enemies as Central American businessmen began to arm people to fight against him, and the British navy also made plans of stopping his supply lines. As more and more countries rose up against him, Walker in 1857, finally surrendered to U.S. authorities again. As U.S. support encouraged him to attempt a third invasion in late 1857, Walker again raised an army and headed for Nicaragua. The British interference was too much to bear, and Walker quit before the invasion began. Instead, he later went to Honduras, but he was captured and executed there at the age of 36. Walker's legendary story is much more popular today in Central America than in the United States. Many countries still celebrate or honor the times or locations where Walker was defeated.
Chamorro (1871-1966) Emiliano Chamorro was the president of Nicaragua from 1917-1920. Earlier in life, Chamorro was a renowned leader in the Nicaraguan military. He pledged full support for the revolt of 1909 against Zelaya. He was also an advocate for the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty in which he signed , that specifically stated the U.S. options to the Nicaragua Canal. Before this time, Chamorro was very adamant about keeping the U.S. as far away from Nicaraguan territory and politics as possible. His leadership and dedication to Nicaragua got him elected president in 1917, and Chamorro regained control of Nicaragua through a military coup in 1925. However, U.S. opposition, including naval attack, forced Chamorro to flee the country.
Augusto Cesar Sandino (1895-1934) Sandino was a farmer and mining engineer who joined the liberal revolution in 1926. He became an active opponent of U.S. intervention and fought against the election agreements of 1927. Soon, Sandino's ideology grew apart from the liberal leaders and he began to conduct guerilla movements against U.S. Marines in the area. After the Marines withdrew, Sandino lead a cooperative farming campaign. in 1934, Sandino was invited to attend a special dinner with Anastasio Somoza. He accepted. When Sandino arrived he was seized and executed. The legend of Augusto Sandino lived on as the Sandinista revolutionary group bore his namesake. Carlos Fonseca and other rebel activist strove to remember the work Sandino had done for Nicaragua.
Anastasio Somoza Garcia (189?-1956) Was a long term dictator in Nicaragua, and the beginning of the Somoza dynasty. Anastasio Somoza García was only thirty-four years old when the U.S. marines gave him command of the National Guard. He worked herd to expand his control and rid the nation of all those standing in opposition. On February 21, 1934, ordered his subordinates murder Augusto César Sandino. Following his execution was the murder of hundred of others living in or around the villages of the former guerillas. By 1936, Somoza's power has risen to heights sure of stability so he plotted to overthrow Juan Sacasa the elected president. Somoza himself was inaugurated on Jan 1, 1937. This began the forty-two-and-a-half year reign of the Somoza family. "Tacho" as he came to be called was president for 19 of the dynasties years. He ruled with a strong fist and a stern sense of control over the economy the military, and enjoyed support from the U.S. He began to appoint close friends and relative to all key leadership positions, which gave Somoza absolute power over all Nicaraguan politics. Somoza created an enormous fortune for himself and his family. He owned most of the industries and economically efficient resources in Nicaragua. By the end of the World Wars, Somoza was worth an estimated $60 million. Due the the power and money Somoza had obtained it was imperative that he keep a highly loyal Guard and a protective residence. However, the bodyguards and precautions failed when on Sept 21, 1956 Somoza was wounded by a Nicaraguan poet. He died eight days later.
Anastacio Somoza Debayle (1925-1980) President of Nicaragua from 1967-1972 and from 1974-1979. A. Debayle was the second son of Anastasio Somoza Garcia. Debayle left Nicaragua to be educated in Florid and Long Island and graduated from West Point in 1946. After returning to Nicaragua in 1946, he was appointed, by his father, to head the National Guard. Anastasio Garcia was known to give many top positions to family members and close friends. When A. Garcia was assassinated in 1956, Luis Somoza Debayle, the first son, took over the presidency. A. Debayle remained head of the National Guard as his brother ruled, until 1967 when he himself was elected president. This reign lasted until 1972 when a law stating that a president can not run for immediate re-election forced him out of office. Later that same year a massive earthquake hit the capital city and killed thousands. The incident called Martial Law to be instated. A. Debayle, as head of the National Guard was again placed as head of the state. Historical research into the nation's recovery from the natural disaster suggests that the Somoza family may have stolen or redirected much of the aid sent help Nicaraguan recovery. However, such evidence did not keep A. Debayle from being re-elected in 1974. The Catholic church in Nicaragua had previously begun to denounce the Somoza regime and by the late 1970s human rights activists began to condemn the work of the Somoza government and their support began to lean towards the Sandinistas. On July 17, 1979 the Sandinistas successfully overthrew A. Debayle and he fled to Miami. Unfortunately for him, he did not stay there where he may have safe. He was assassinated in Paraguay the next year.
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro Cardenal (1924-1978) became the chief executive of the La Prensa newspaper ( an independent news source in opposition to government) As a law student in the 1940s he became a key opponent of the A. Somoza Garcia regime. In 1944 he was thrown in jail for making public speeches against Somoza, and the family newspaper was shut down. The entire family moved to Mexico where Pedro began to study journalism. He became editor of the paper, back in Nicaragua in 1952. In 1955 he was placed under house arrest for his continued rebellious actions. When Somoza was assassinated in 1956, Chamorro was arrested for conspiracy and possible assistance in the murder. He was banished from the capital city. In 1959, he organized a rebellion against Somoza's son Luis Debayle but was sentenced to nine years in prison for treason after being captured. After his release he resumed hi duties as editor and began to head up the Democratic Union of Liberation, campaigning for a free democracy with recognizable human rights. His newspaper placed the Somoza regimes exploitation and oppression where those all of the world could witness. He continually wrote threats to the president and seemed to except the fate coming to him. In January of 1978 he was gunned down in a drive by. Riots began almost immediately. 30,000 Nicaraguans hit the streets. The La Prensa paper fell under attack many times in the next few months as Pedro's wife took over the editor's position and later became president of Nicaragua herself.
Carlos Fonseca Amador Carlos helped found the FSLN in the 1960s and planned and executed various guerilla movements from the mountains against the National Guard. Fonseca's key influences were the reign of Sandino and the Cuban Revolution. He was one of the first Revolutionary leaders to allow women to play key parts in its execution. Fonseca, who had been out of the country visiting Castro in Cuba, returned to Nicaragua in 1975. The FSLN had gone downhill since his departure and Fonseca had returned to get things back on track. However, the disorganization and abandonment of FSLN members from the period Fonseca was away soon became a horrifying reality. The FSLN guerilla leaders in the mountains were betrayed. An informant had led the National Guardsmen to the guerilla camps, and Fonseca's men were ambushed. Carlos Fonseca himself sustained a combat wound, and by the next day, he was dead. His death became a symbol of the terror that threatened the FSLN movement. He became a martyr for the cause and would be remembered as the revolution was carried through the 70s and 80s.
~all information on this page was collected from the Columbian Electronic Encyclopedia, ucis.pitt.edu, and rose-hulman.edu