100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

US Marines Land In Nicaragua

At the end of the Spanish American War in 1898 the US had Cuba and Puerto Rico in it’s possession. To control Central America and the Caribbean a series of military interventions have occurred u

sing US Marines called the Banana Wars. This was done mainly for the interest of US financial and agricultural corporations building railroads, financing loans and creating huge plantations. The decision to build the Panama Canal increased the need for US influence in the region. This was part of US Secretary of State Knox’s policy of “Dollar Diplomacy” where the power of European influence would be countered by the Panama Canal and Central American governments becoming indebted and controlled by US bank loans. When the occasional rebellion cropped up, US troops and warships were sent in. This occurred in Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

In 1909 Nicaraguan faced a rebellion that pitted liberal president Zelaya against conservative governor Estrada. The US sent 250 US Marines and Estrada became president in August 1910. Estrada was replaced by Aldofo Diaz. Due to a long delay in a US loan, starvation has broken out in some areas and resentment against US influence began to grow. Luis Mena, the Nicaraguan Secretary of War managed to gain the support of the National Assembly accusing Díaz of “selling out the nation to New York bankers.” Yesterday rebel forces seized vessels on Lake Nicaragua belonging to US interests tied to the railroads. Diaz asked the US government for help and Knox appealed to president Taft for military intervention, arguing that the Nicaraguan railway from Corinto to Granada was threatened.

On August 4, 1912 100 US marines landed in Corinto, Nicaragua from the gunboat USS ANNAPOLIS with hundreds more on the way on the USS TACOMA primarily to protect US interests but also to back up Diaz. Coincidentally, Secretary Knox is putting pressure on Congress to approve the stalled $10 million loan.

US Marines protecting railroad in Nicaragua
1912

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