Miskitu History

History

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Who Are The Miskitu People?

The Miskitu Nation are the original people on the Moskitia/Mosquito (Miskitu) territory in Central America. Their history dates back to the Mayan civilizations. Oral history says that in 900 AD under the Guidance of Miskitu King Boopam and the other 11 kings, 12 tribes united and became one Miskitu nation.  The Miskitu Atlantic Coast is a historically comprised area along the Eastern Coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras. It formed part of the Western Caribbean Zone and was long dominated by British Interests. although The Miskito Kingdom was already an independent state when England officially recognized it in 1689.  Twenty-one years later, in 1710, London concluded an official treaty of friendship and alliance establishing a protectorate over the kingdom. The inhabitants, consist of  Miskitu, Guarifanos, Pech is (almost extinct), Rama, Tawaska, Prinsus, Sambos, Lakas, Ulwala, Kukras.Rama Kriol, Creole Their combined cultures are mainly as stewards of the earth who have long been open to invention, in favor of the new and old in moderation and balance.This diverse group of indigenous people has taken care of Mother Earth for Centuries dating back to the time of The Mayan rule. All natural resources are being drained due to over-fishing, deforestation and illegal mining. The byproduct of this industrialization has created toxic waste destroying our natural water sources, soil and the balance of our ecosystem. The dignity of life of the Miskitu inhabitants and said territories are under siege.

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Nicaraguan government forces known as Colonos have been wiping out the original inhabitants of Miskitu territories since the reign of President Daniel Ortega and the UN resolution 650 ( promising protection and autonomy by United Nations to the Miskitu Commanders for disarmament) went into effect March 27, 1990  The systematic attack- part of the, Colonos Sandinista military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing- is carried out daily. Heinous crimes of rape, an ambush of peaceful villages at night with automatic weapons killing men, women, and children. Limiting the access to education, the burning of farmlands and little to no access to health care have ravaged the Miskitu Nation. The Miskitu children are turning to drugs and child prostitution to earn money for their families.

Your donation can reverse this downward spiral by helping to restore affected lands, provide legal and media attention to the plight, and provide humanitarian and medical needs to those urgently affected.

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This once sovereign nation is at risk of extinction along with the devastation of its once pristine ecosystem.

 

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Miskitu History

The Miskitu are the original people of Northern Nahuatl speaking indigenous people. People of Aztec Mexico who accompanied the Spanish to the Miskitu kingdom referred to the Miskitu as “chontal” or “foreigner”, indicating that the inhabitants of the Miskitu Coast were not the same racially as the Aztecs who lived just north of the Mayans and Miskitu peoples. Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus), himself wrote about his 4th voyage in 1502 to the Americas, where his journals described the Miskitu Coast also being inhabited by “dark-skinned” people who wore golden circular medallions and dwelled by a large river where there was lots of gold in the sands.

The peoples and cultures which comprised the Maya civilization spanned more than 2500 years of Mesoamerican history, in the region of southern Mesoamerica which incorporates the present-day nations of Guatemala and Belize, much of Honduras and El Salvador, and the southeastern states of Mexico from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec eastwards, including the entire Yucatán Peninsula, recorded history and people in their murals.  In those murals, some people have found it strange that the Mayan artists portrayed both black and white people. For example, a Pre-Columbian mural by Mayans who lived in the very same region as the Miskitu there is a depiction of three black skinned men with gold medallions around their necks as referenced in Yapti Tas- bia: The Miskitu Motherland (Vance, 2012)

The first European reference in 1685 to the Miskitu indigenous peoples as a “small nation” 1 came from English, Dutch, and French pirates who visited the area in the 1660’s and 1670’s. They noted the well established social, commercial, and military ties between Euro- pean pirates and the inhabitants of the Cape Gracias a Dios area. Nowhere had it been explicitly acknowledged as fact that black people had arrived in the New World before Christopher Columbus, and so they created a “story” of shipwrecked slaves to accommodate the presence of human beings they never expected to meet.

*The Miskito Kingdom, an independent, indigenous state, existed for over 250 years. The country was immense, occupying approximately one-third of Central America. From the Caribbean Coast, it extended north to include the eastern region of Honduras, south to the border of Costa Rica, and west to include the Central Highlands. It included 60 percent of present-day Nicaragua. The territorial size of the Miskito Kingdom was acknowledged in a Spanish map of 1780, Heinrich Berghauss 1840 map of Central America, and U.S. maps of 1850s.

* Washington became acutely interested in the Miskito Kingdom during the California Gold Rush (1848-1855). Travel across the Miskito Kingdom to the Nicaraguan Pacific Coast then by ship to California provided a quick and safe passage for Americans journeying from the Eastern States to the West Coast. U.S. businessman, Cornelius Vanderbilt who operated a railroad in Nicaragua used by these Americans, proposed building a canal to facilitate the journey. Washington wanted American control over such a canal. Since the Atlantic Terminus would be the Miskito port of Greytown, Washington engineered the overthrow of the British Protectorate of the Miskito Kingdom. This would occur in four steps continuing even when the proposed canal was abandoned.

* The governments of the United States and Great Britain hereby declare, that neither the one nor the other will ever obtain or maintain for itself any exclusive control over the said ship canal; agreeing that neither will ever erect or maintain any fortifications commanding the same or in the vicinity thereof, or occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume or exercise any dominion over Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Mosquito coast [the Miskito Kingdom], or any part of Central America. This left the Miskito Kingdom defenseless, exposed, and vulnerable.

*In 1894 the U.S. supported Managua in rejecting this decision and annexing the Miskito Reserve.

Fourth World Journal Articles (FWJV15N)

The administrative institutions established by the Nicaraguan government after 1894 were held by Mestizos from the Pacific areas of the country Creole culture and the English language also came under attack from the Nicaraguan government, which tried to generalize the Spanish language and Hispanic culture among the inhabitants of the Mosquitia. In Bluefields, for example, special policemen were sent to scout for school children to put into Spanish public schools.

*Since the 1940s, over 100,000 Nicaraguan Mestizos have moved onto Miskito land. Originally, a spontaneous movement, this colonization was soon promoted by Managua. For the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples harbor some 80% of Nicaragua’s overall wealth of natural resources.

*Over the past century, the central government, primarily through its agrarian institutions, gave out thousands of hectares of lands in the Caribbean region to colonists.  The result was major environmental damage and indigenous deaths as land were cleared without regard to its long-term potential and Indians [were] killed by Spanish-speaking migrants…

*When the Sandinistas first seized power (1979-1989), they passed Autonomy Law 28 for the indigenous peoples of the former Miskito Kingdom; however, it granted little meaningful powers or protections to the Miskito, Mayangna, Rama, Garifuna, and Creole. Instead, it partitioned their land into two autonomous regions and continued the colonization and exploitation of their land. This policy was continued by successive regimes and the returning Sandinistas.

*In 2008, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted the existence of racial prejudice against indigenous and Afro-descendant women in the Autonomous Regions; as well as serious shortcomings in the health and education services and the absence of a consultation process to seek communities free, prior and informed consent to the exploitation of natural resources in their territories.

*Nicaraguan colonists came from all areas of the national territory, invading ancestral lands, pillaging community property, and preying on the habitats of indigenous peoples

–  Author Joseph E. Fallon is a subject matter expert on the Middle East and Central Asia. He has taught at the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army Intelligence Center: