The 5th Marine Regiment, United States Marines Corps, Withdraws From Nicaragua

On January 2, 1933, the 5th Marine Regiment, United States Marines Corps, withdrew from Nicaragua.

It trained and left behind a powerful National Guard in a country beset by struggle between liberal and conservative forces centered respectively in the cities of León and Granada.

Founded by the Spanish in the early 1550s, the two cities became competing poles of power. Their militant rivalry often left Nicaragua subject to outside interests even after the country gained independence from Spain in the early 1800s.

British and U.S. interests in Nicaragua grew during the mid-1800s because of its strategic importance as a transit route across the Central American isthmus. With the advent of the California gold rush, Nicaragua proved a popular interoceanic shortcut. Cornelius Vanderbilt's steamship company transported supplies and prospectors from the Atlantic, along Nicaragua's San Juan River, then across Lake Nicaragua to the Pacific.

In 1909, the United States provided political support to conservative-led forces rebelling against President Zelaya. U.S. motives included differences over the proposed Nicaragua Canal, Nicaragua's potential as a destabilizing influence in the region, and Zelaya's attempts to regulate foreign access to Nicaraguan natural resources. On November 18, 1909, U.S. warships were sent to the area after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) were executed by order of Zelaya. The U.S. justified the intervention by claiming to protect U.S. lives and property. Zelaya resigned later that year.

In August 1912 the President of Nicaragua, Adolfo Díaz, requested that the Secretary of War, General Luis Mena, resign for fear that he was leading an insurrection. Mena fled Managua with his brother, the Chief of Police of Managua, to start an insurrection. When the U.S. Legation asked President Díaz to ensure the safety of American citizens and property during the insurrection he replied that he could not and that...