Every 15 September is Independence Day in Nicaragua. This day marks the moment in 1821 when Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and other Central American nations declared their independence from Spain.
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Central America rebelled because Spain was focusing on trying to hold onto Mexico and other wealthier provinces of their New World empire. The first rebellion in the region occurred in El Salvador, and it was not until 10 years later that Nicaragua joined in. Even then, it was only under the leadership of Guatemala, of which it was formally a part, that it rebelled.
As Guatemala had been a part of Mexico during Spanish rule, Mexico tried to control Nicaragua and other Central American states following the defeat of the Spanish. From 1823 to 1837, Nicaragua and other states formed the United Provinces of Central America, which helped defend against Mexico. But on 30 April, 1838, Nicaragua declared itself officially independent again.
Independence Day festivities begin on 1 September and culminate on 15 September. A “torch of freedom” is passed hand to hand, beginning in Guatemala, going through Nicaragua, and ending in Costa Rica.
On 14 September, a flag-raising ceremony occurs in Nicaragua led by its president. This commemorates the victory at the battle of San Jacinto as well as Central America’s independence from Spain. On 15 September, the celebrations culminate and end with the reading of “The Act of Independence of Central America” in all of Nicaragua’s public schools.