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Map of Ometepe |
Ometepe (Nicaragua) |
Location | Lake Cocibolca |
Coordinates | 11°30′N 85°35′W |
Area | 276 km2 (106.6 sq mi) |
Length | 31 km (19.3 mi) |
Width | 10 km (6 mi) |
Highest elevation | 1,610 m (5,280 ft) |
Highest point | Concepción |Country |
Department | Rivas, Nicaragua |
Largest city | Altagracia (pop. 4081) |
Population | 29684 (as of Census of May 28 to June 11, 2005) |
Density | 107.6 /km2 (278.7 /sq mi) |
Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic ofNicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain),meaning two mountains. It is the largest island located in the Lake Nicaragua as well as the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.
The two volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass. Ometepe has an area of 276 km². It is 31 km long and 5 to 10 km wide. The island has a population of 42,000, and an economybased on livestock,agriculture, and tourism. Plantains are the major crop.
As of June 2010, it is scheduled to be named a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve.
Contents [hide] * 1 Inhabitants * 2 Volcanos * 3 Archaeology * 3.1 Ceramics * 3.2 Petroglyphs * 4 Wildlife * 5 Gallery * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 External links |
The island first became inhabited in the Dinarte phase (ca 2000-500 BC), although evidence is questionable. The first known inhabitants were Nahua Indians from Mexico. In their footsteps came the Niquirano Indians, who established an important settlement on the island. Theirceramics and monuments still amaze. Traces of this past can still be found inpetroglyphs andstone idols on the northern slopes of Maderas volcano. The oldest date from 300 BC.
After the Spaniards had conquered the Central American region in the 16th century, piratesbegan prowling Lake Nicaragua. They came in from the Caribbean Sea via the San Juan River. The inhabitants of Ometepe were hard hit. The pirates robbed them of their women, animals, possessions and harvest. They also erectedsettlements on the shore, making it their refuge. This made the local population, seeking shelter, move to higher grounds on the volcanoes. The island was finally annexed, through settlement, by the Spanish conquistadors at the end of the 16th century. But French, English (such as Francis Drake) and Dutch pirates still endangered the island until the late 17th century.
The most importantvillages on the island are Altagracia (pop. 4081), on the eastern side, and Moyogalpa (pop. 2905), with its harbor on the northwestern side of the island. These two villages are the centers of the two municipalities, between the island is divided. Many traditions are kept alive. They celebrate more religious and folk festivals than anywhere in Nicaragua.
Today, Ometepe isdeveloping tourism and ecotourism, with the archaeological past and the bounty of its nature sanctuary, the exotic vegetation, animal and bird life as drawcards.
View of Concepcion Volcan from Maderas Volcano looking across the isthmus.
Volcán Concepción (once named Ometepe volcano) is the northwest half of the island. Concepción is a symmetrical cone, and isan active volcano (Baker, 2006). Concepción volcano rose in the early Holocene Epoch and, through continual eruptions, now reaches an altitude of 1 610 m. It is the world's highest lake island. This volcano is considered the most perfectly formed volcano cone in Central America. The volcano went through a long quiet period, but on 8 December 1880 Concepción came back to life. This eruption was...