San Juan River and World History :
Pre-Columbian time, Colonial time, Spaniards Gold, Admiral Nelson, The pirates, Gold Rush Cornelius Vanderbilt , Walker, Mark Twain, The Transoceanic Canal, Jacques Yves Cousteau...
San Juan river is the only water communication between Nicaragua Lake ( one of the biggest lake in the world ) and the Caribbean sea ...
Archeological sites can be visit specifically in Solentiname Archipelago.. Many Indians were living there in the Pre-Columbian times, People here talk of a mysterious pre-Columbian big city lost somewhere in the Jungles.. In the rapids of El Toro, Saballo, El Castillo, Infirnillo at Dry season since ever Indians were Harpooning Tarpons...During Colonial time Spanish were using San Juan River to carry the gold from Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean....Famous Pirates came ( Morgan and Co. ) attract by all this Gold so, Spanish built Castles on the river banks.. in Order to prevent attacks to so rich city of Granada...then French and English took interest on the area.... Admiral Nelson went there took San Juan Del Norte ( Grey town ) also went up river to El Castillo...Took the fortress but sick return to England...
Nowadays the Fortress of El Castillo is a famous historical destination ...( A visit to The fort in very good shape, built on a hill in the jungle and of its Museum is a "Must" in my trips )
In the second part of 19th Century San Juan River has been very busy due to the famous GOLD RUSH , The river was use by the pioneers to cross the Central America Isthmus... Much easier in these days than to cross all the USA. They were going from New York to San Juan Del Norte in large " steamer'' then Up San Juan River aboard smaller boats , then across the Nicaragua Lake to San Jorge, then San Juan Del Sur or Corinto on the Pacific coast, a big steamer again and then San Francisco California...
What is amazing and almost unbelievable when you are in the area now is to think than more than a 100 000 Pioneers past there...aboard the boats of Mr. Vanderbilt...among them Mark Twain , he wrote a description of the area:
Dark grottos, fairy festoons, tunnels, temples, columns, pillars, towers, pilasters, terraces, pyramids, mounds, domes, walls, in endless confusion of vine-work -- no shape known to architecture unimitated -- and all so webbed together that short distances within are only gained by glimpses. Monkeys here and there; birds warbling; gorgeous plumaged birds on the wing, Paradise itself, the imperial realm of beauty -- nothing to wish for to make it perfect. Mark Twain 1866...
During all these times there have been a lot of conflict in the area , Obviously to take control of it ... Walker and its Filibusters is one of the example...
At the end of 19th Century several project of Transoceanic canal had been establish. Even a mile has been built from San Juan Del Norte....there is still some heavy machinery around...Then Decision had been taken to stop and to built the transoceanic canal in Northern part of Colombia who became Panama...
The first part of 20th century is characterized by a very agitated political history in Nicaragua, in witch USA has been involved, Sandino take over , then came the Somosa Family who has been in power for long..... Then came the Sandinista revolution, ( see Arts in Solentiname, Ernesto Cardenal ) the Contra ....
Nowadays the country is quiet , five presidential Elections has been held in respect from All parts of Democratic rules.. Nicaraguans people who have been suffering so much now want peace....
Since more than 50 years on the 14th and 15th of September is organize the Annual International fishing tournament ... It's not only fishing , all town is involved.. at 4am on the 14th a walking band awake all town of San Carlos...
Tourism is more than welcome in Nicaragua Rio San Juan , Authorities or simple Citizen are really very friendly and always helpful.
Following are some texts..
I found on the Net concerning history of Nicaragua and San Juan River, Rio San Juan
The discovery of gold in California drew additional attention from American and European powers who wanted to establish and control routes across Panama and Nicaragua. Americans, French and British were among the contenders, and in a move to control a route from the sultry, swampy Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, the British occupied the Eastern seaboard port of San Juan del Norte between 1848 and 1850, renaming it Greytown.
In spite of an extraordinary rainfall (236 inches a year), Cornelius Vanderbilt established a highly profitable route across Nicaragua by waterway and carriage road. In 1851, he developed the route in competition with the Pacific Mail Line, which had joined the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the overland Panama route. The Panama route was laborious until the railroad was completed across the Isthmus in 1855
Vanderbilt’s route was easier in that once passengers reached San Juan del Norte, on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, most of the journey between the oceans was covered in small boats (bungoes) and steamers. The bungoes ferried passengers and cargo up the San Juan River through 125 miles of jungles filled with howling monkeys and exotic birds, to Lake Nicaragua, then across Lake Nicaragua via steamer to La Virgen (Virgin Bay) near Rivas.
Daily Alta California, July 1, 1853
FROM CENTRAL AMERICA
Guatemala, January 1, 1853
Gold Rush History Links http://malakoff.com/goldcountry/history.htm
William Walker (1824-1860),
aventurero estadounidense, presidente de Nicaragua (1856-1857). Nació en Nashville (Tennessee) y estudió en la universidad de esta ciudad. Se licenció en medicina en 1843, después de lo cual estudió derecho, y se dedicó a ejercer la abogacía en Nueva Orleans (Luisiana). Marchó a California (Estados Unidos) en 1850, y en 1853 dirigió la invasión armada de Baja California (México), y se autoproclamó presidente de una república independiente, formada por la Baja California y el vecino estado de Sonora. Tras quedarse sin provisiones y tener que enfrentarse a la resistencia del gobierno mexicano, se vio obligado a rendirse a las autoridades estadounidenses. Juzgado por infringir las leyes sobre neutralidad en 1854, fue absuelto.
Durante la Guerra Civil nicaragüense la facción liberal le pidió ayuda, y en 1855 dirigió la toma de Granada. Fue nombrado presidente de Nicaragua en 1856, y reconocido como tal por Estados Unidos. Planeó unificar las repúblicas de América Central bajo su gobierno, pero el industrial estadounidense Cornelius Vanderbilt, de cuya empresa de transportes se habían apropiado los partidarios nicaragüenses de Walker, financió las fuerzas que en 1857 le derrotaron en combate.
A pesar de varios intentos por recuperar Nicaragua, Walker no tuvo éxito. Capturado por los británicos tras desembarcar en Honduras en 1860, fue ejecutado por las autoridades hondureñas. Escribió La guerra en Nicaragua (1860).
© 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. Reservados todos los derechos.
"I have been insane on the subject of moneymaking all my life." — Vanderbilt, quoted in the New York Daily Tribune, March 23, 1878.
Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), industrial estadounidense nacido en Staten Island (Nueva York). Se inició en el negocio de los transportes a los 16 años, creando un servicio de transporte por barco de mercancías y pasajeros entre Staten Island y Manhattan. Consiguió una flota de goletas durante la guerra de 1812, para en 1818, iniciarse en el negocio del transporte fluvial con barcos de vapor, comprando su primer barco de vapor en 1829. Amplió sus servicios con gran rapidez, y se convirtió en un importante competidor, pues podía reducir sus tarifas al tiempo que modernizaba su flota. Pronto consiguió controlar la mayor parte del comercio fluvial del río Hudson hasta el punto que sus rivales en el sector le pagaron para que montase su negocio en otro río, por lo que creó nuevas rutas entre Long Island Sound y Providence, Rhode Island y Boston. En 1851, durante la fiebre del oro en California, abrió una línea marítima y terrestre que iba desde el estado de Nueva York hasta la ciudad de San Francisco (California) permitiendo a los del cuarenta y nueve disponer de un transporte rápido con mínimos costes. En 1855 inauguró una línea para pasajeros y mercancías entre la ciudad de Nueva York y El Havre.
Vanderbilt vendió sus barcos de vapor en 1862 para introducirse en el negocio de los ferrocarriles; en cinco años logró controlar los ferrocarriles del estado de Nueva York. Continuó con su política de calidad en los servicios y siguió adquiriendo líneas férreas. Aunque en 1868 fracasó cuando intentó controlar la empresa de ferrocarriles Erie Railroad, consiguió en 1873 establecer una línea entre Nueva York y Chicago.
Al final de su vida entró en los círculos financieros y se convirtió en un gran filántropo. Entre sus donaciones destaca la que otorgó a la Universidad Vanderbilt, de un millón de dólares. Se estima que, cuando murió, su fortuna superaba los 100 millones de dólares.
In 1779 Nelson was promoted to captain, at the age of 20. He was given command of a frigate, the Hinchingbrook, and took part in operations against Spanish settlements in Nicaragua, which became targets once Spain joined France in alliance with the American Revolutionaries. The attack on San Juan was militarily successful
Concerning the Canal
3,089 sq mi (8,001 sq km), c.100 mi (160 km) long and up to 45 mi (72 km) wide, SW Nicaragua; the largest lake of Central America. It is drained into the Caribbean Sea by the San Juan River. Lake Nicaragua, along with Lake Managua (which drains into it from the northwest), occupies part of the Nicaragua Depression, an extensive lowland region stretching across the isthmus. Once part of the sea, the lake was formed when the land rose. There are several islands in the lake (the largest is Isla de Ometepe); and small volcanoes rise above its surface. The freshwater of Lake Nicaragua contains fish usually associated with saltwater, including tuna... ( Personal comment ( Philippe ) we have a lot of fish here but SORRY NO TUNA IN THE LAKE !!! ) and sharks, which have adapted to the environmental change. The lake is a transportation route; Granada is its chief port. Located only 110 ft (34 m) above sea level, the lake reaches a depth of 84 ft (26 m). It was to be an important link in the proposed Nicaragua Canal.
MarkTwain’s Travel to Nicaragua Rio San Juan .
Frombook: '' Travel with Mr. Brown''
At the end of 1866, Mark Twain traveled to Nicaragua and the San Juan River. A traveler for nearly a decade of his adult life, Twain needed to go from San Francisco to New York City. Instead of crossing the United States by land, he chose to make his way to New York City via Nicaragua and the San Juan River.
In a series of letters to the Alta
California newspaper, Twain describes his travels through Nicaragua
and down the San Juan River. Not published in book form until 1940
as Travels with Mr. Brown, Mark Twain’s commentary on Central
America has remained relatively unknown
Here is the original English text
which includes introduction and textual notes to his travels
The trip took eleven days to arrive at
San Juan del Sur, three days to cross the isthmus, and eleven more
days to sail from Greytown to New York City. Twain, who spent nearly
a decade on the road and once said that, if he had his way, he
“would sail on forever and never go live on solid ground again,”1
wrote an account of his journey via Nicaragua to New York for a San
Francisco newspaper called the Alta California (Rodney v.). He wrote
seven letters describing the sea trip from San Francisco to New
York. These letters were not collected in book form until 1940 and
then published as Travels with Mr.
When he traveled in Central America, it was to get somewhere quickly and to avoid the treacherous stagecoach ride across the continental United States. He crossed the isthmus three times on his way toand from New York and San Francisco. He did it via Nicaragua the first time and then, a few years later, he crossed the isthmus twice again by taking the easier route via Panama—by trainfrom Panama to Colon (Aspinwall). The more rugged Nicaraguan route apparently cured Twain of any desire to repeat it. He never took on the Nicaragua route again, and he only wrote an account of his Nicaragua crossing—never of the two Panama crossings by train.
He would go to the Sandwich Islands
for four months and “describe their people,recount their history,
and report on whatever advantages they might have in the way of
trade opportunities and economic development” (Rodney 1993: 4). The
trip to Hawaii was the first of a long series of journeys outside of
the continental United States that would eventually take him around
the world. He would go on to record those travels meticulously in a
vast corpus of works, Letters from Hawaii, Roughing It, Innocents
Abroad, Following the Equator, A Tramp Abroad, Travels with Mr.
He convinced the editors of the Alta California to underwrite this venture,and he set off for New York City, where he would cross the Atlantic and commence his travels(Rodney 1993: 22).
The problem was getting to New York City. He had already once taken the overland route by stagecoach across the Midwest with his brother Orion, who, in 1861, had been named Secretary of the Nevada Territory (Johnson 1974: 216), and the trip was filled with problems: Indians, rough riding, and the frequent breakdowns of stagecoaches (Johnson 1974: 43-61). Aside from the dangers of crossing the lands of Native Americans and the cumbersome nature of stagecoach travel itself, Twain knew that it would take him some sixteen days to get to St. Louis, and then he would have to take a long, tedious train ride to New York City Rodney 1993: 22).
He chose the Nicaraguan route instead.
He would sail to Nicaragua, cross the isthmus via wagon and steamer,
and arrive in New York City within a month. His choice was a common
one. In the mid-to-late nineteenth century, the Nicaraguan route was
how most people traveled from San Francisco to New York if they
opted not to weather the hazardous crossing of the continental
United States by stagecoach (Rodney 1993: 22).
The Nicaraguan route itself was established by Cornelius Vanderbilt. There was already one route to California via the isthmus at Panama—bongos up the Chagres River to the village of Gorgona and then mule-back to the western coast of Panama4 (Folkman 1972: 2)—which had been set up by William Henry Aspinwall and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. Vanderbilt opened the Nicaraguan route for wide commercial use in 1851, and it was done to ferry people to California to “pick nuggets.” After gold was discovered at Sutter’s mine in California, and after President James Polk’s curt but consequential comment before the United States Congress (“Recent discoveries render it possible that these mines are more extensive and valuable than was anticipated”), nothing could stop the stampede to California(Lewis 1949: 3).
Vanderbilt had already made a fortune building and operating steamships, and he took note of the mad rush to California (Folkman 1972: 16). He had conceived the idea of creating a passage to California via Nicaragua to compete with the Panama route, and the California gold rush made his plans to traverse the isthmus all the more economically enticing (Folkman 1972: 23-7).
After the British and the United States governments signed the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, which resolved territorial claims between the two countries over an interoceanic trade route, the Nicaraguan route quickly became the competitor to the Panama crossing, and it was a vastly superior alternative to get to California than the long way around,via Cape Horn (Folkman 1972: 18-21).
That Mark Twain loved ships and rivers
is a cardinal fact of American literature, and he no doubt wanted to
see both the Lake of Nicaragua and the San Juan River. Cornelius
Vanderbilt, the quintessential American robber baron, made all that
possible with his explorations and commandeering of the Nicaraguan
route across the Central American isthmus.
Twain piloted steamers on the
Mississippi for four years until the American civil war brought to
an end his career as a pilot. Much of Life on the Mississippi,
written years later, concerns both his experiences and the
characters that he met on the river. Twain’s reputation as a
humorist and raconteur, and as the author of Huckleberry Finn and
Tom Sawyer, of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The
Prince and Pauper, has overshadowed his skills as an observer of
nature. We seldom think of Twain as a writer of nature; indeed some
critics argue that Twain’s descriptive passages often border on
being “purple passages” (Rodney 1993: 10). Yet when Twain is writing
at his best about a landscape—be it the Mississippi, his stagecoach
crossing of the United States, or Nicaragua— his descriptive powers
are noteworthy, if not remarkable.