Bluefields

There is something alluring about the griminess and sleaziness that I can’t put my finger on; Bluefields is like a slow trainwreck that you can’t turn away from. A trainwreck with fantastic food, an amazing mix of cultures and languages, great bars, friendly people you can’t trust and trusting people who aren’t friendly. I find myself a reluctant voyeur when in a taxi in this town. An average trip passes half-starved livestock in the streets, shirtless and chiseled men passing tall, beautiful women carrying umbrellas on the clearest days, countless taxis that look like they were driven straight out of a Japanese childrens’ cartoon and packs of the most pitiful dogs you will ever see living on whatever scraps people offer. Bluefields is truly one-of-a-kind and can be worth exploring.

Map of Bluefields Dec 2012

 

History

 

From Wikipedia: Generally, it is accepted that the origin of the city of Bluefields is connected with the presence on the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast of Europeanpirates, subjects of powers at the time hostile to Spain. These pirates used the Escondido River to rest, to repair damages and to be provisioned. By then, the territory of the present municipality was populated by the native towns of Kukra and Branch. In 1602 one of these soldiers of fortune chose the bay of Bluefields as his center of operations due to its tactical advantages, a Dutchman named Blauveldt or Bleeveldt, and from him originates the name of the municipality.

Consensus exists that the black Africans first appeared in the Caribbean coast in 1641, when a Portuguese ship that transported slaveswrecked in the Miskito Cays. From the original settlement the bay began to be populated; the English subjects burst in 1633 and from 1666 they were already organized into colonies, and by 1705 there were authorities established. In 1730 the colony of Bluefields came to depend on the British government of Jamaica. For this, the alliance of the English Miskito ethnic group was decisive, and the British provided them with armaments that allowed them to subdue the other ethnic groups of the Caribbean coast, the Sumu and Rama.

In 1740 the Miskitos yielded to England sovereignty over the territory, and in 1744 a transfer of English colonists was organized from Jamaica to the Mosquito Coast; they brought along with them black slaves. French citizens were also installed. The area was a British Protectorate until 1796, when England recognized the sovereignty of Spain on the Mosquito Coast; the English subjects also abandoned the islands, but the Spaniards did not take firm positions in them.

The Moravian Church was installed in 1847, and in 1860 the Miskito Reserve was created in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, by an agreement between the British and American governments in which Nicaragua as a country did not have part, and the English crown intervened again, putting it under its protection. The city of Bluefields was declared capital of that Reserve.

On the other hand, slaves originating in Jamaica that sought freedom on the Nicaraguan coast continued arriving during the greater part of the 19th century.

The plan of ‘Europeanization’ of the natives was completed by the 1880s, when English and Americans expanded the production of banana and wood, creating an enclave economy; by the 1880 Bluefields was already a city of cosmopolitan character, with an intense commercial activity.

Economic growth also brought a marked process of social differentiation, by which the races and ethnic groups were distributed spatially and in terms of work: in the dome the white population represented the interests of the foreign businesses; the mulattoes worked as artisans and in working class occupations; the blacks had their niche in physical work, and the native population were employed as servants and for other smaller works. In 1894 the government of Nicaragua incorporated the Miskito Reserve into the national territory, extinguishing the Miskito monarchy, and on October 11, 1903 Bluefields was proclaimed capital of the Department of Zelaya. many as ultimately a curse, helping fuel the local economy, but also inhabitants’ addictions

Anything I missed or changes to be made? Let me know!


5 Responses to “Bluefields”

  1. Lourdes26 October, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Thank you for sharing the history of your adopted Home town. I can see why you fell in love with Bluefields and I can tell you are so passionate about everything the place can offer.
    Having said all that, I would like to nominate you as Governor of Bluefields 2013. I see you’re from TX. You inspired me. One day, I can convince my husband to leave the mega city and live a sustainable lifestyle. Live in a place where everybody knows your name and can actually look into your eyes and carry on at least a 10 minute conversation.

    • Casey26 October, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Hey thanks for the compliments! I do love it here…though this lifestyle isn’t for everybody.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am a Texan born and raised. I miss my BBQ and Texmex food, but I sure don’t miss weather below 70 degrees and triple digit summers! I appreciate the nomination. I do feel like a local representative to the travelers coming through and I like showing off the coast. Hopefully we can meet up when you come down this way!

  2. Fred James17 March, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Hi Casey, great articles and information.
    Thinking of moving to Bluefields area. Would appreciate additional information if you could contact me by email. Thank you.

    • Casey20 March, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      Sure thing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Palo de Mayo, Pangas & Pan de Coco in Bluefields | Mi Vida Nica - 28 May, 2013

    […] Bluefields has a rich history and continues to proudly celebrate its culture everywhere in the city, but especially during the month of May. This month represents the welcoming of the rainy season after a long dry winter on the island. Palo de Mayo, or Maypole Dance, is Bluefield’s May Day celebration that continues all month, and this past weekend is considered the biggest party. It signifies reawakening and fertility with hopes of happiness and good harvests as many people dance around a pole or part of a tree decorated with flowers and ribbons. The Maypole celebrations originated somewhere in England and transformed over the years in Bluefields to have a more Caribbean flavor. […]

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