2,100-year-old human footprints preserved in volcanic mud near the lake. They are called "Huellas de Acahualinca" in Managua, Nicaragua.In pre-Columbian times, in what is nowknown as Nicaragua, the indigenous people were part of the Intermediate Area located between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultural regions and within the influence of the Isthmo-Colombian area. It wasthe point where the Mesoamerican and South American native cultures met. This is confirmed by the ancient footprints of Acahualinca, along with other archaeological evidence, mainly in the form ofceramics and statues made of volcanic stone, such as the ones found on the island of Zapatera in Lake Nicaragua and petroglyphs found on Ometepe island. The Pipil migrated to Nicaragua from centralMexico after 500 B.C.
By the end of the 15th century, western Nicaragua was inhabited by several indigenous peoples related by culture to the Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Aztec and Maya,and by language to the Mesoamerican Linguistic Area. They were primarily farmers who lived in towns, organized into small kingdoms.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua was inhabited byother peoples, mostly Chibcha-language groups. They had coalesced in Central America and migrated also to present-day northern Colombia and nearby areas. They lived a life based primarily onhunting and gathering. Joined by waters, the people of eastern Nicaragua traded with, and were influenced by, other native peoples of the Caribbean. Round thatched huts and canoes, both typical of theCaribbean, were commonly crafted and used in eastern Nicaragua.
In the west and highland areas, occupying the territory between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Coast, the Niquirano were governed bychief Nicarao, or Nicaragua. The wealthy ruler lived in Nicaraocali, site of the present-day city of Rivas. The Chorotega lived in the central region of Nicaragua. Without women in their parties,...