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Diriangén (1496 or 1497–1530s)

Kerstin Ewald


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As a cacique, or ruler, of the native Chorotega group, Diriangén opposed Spanish conqueror Gil González Dávila from 1523 to 1529 and is a symbol of Nicaraguan indigenous resistance. He is celebrated in the song “Nicaragua, Nicaragüita” composed by C. M. Godoy, often mentioned as the secret national anthem of Nicaragua . When Dávila started to explore the region of Gran Nicoya (modern Nicaragua) in 1522 or 1523, he found a populated territory that was divided into provinces known as cacicazgos. The single cacicazgo showed a quite complex society with a remarkable stratification of the population regarding access to power and property. By the time the Spanish arrived, power had been centralized and there were constant wars and competition between the regional cacicazgos. Diriangén was a cacique of the Chorotegas ethnicity, which originated in today's Mexico. It is assumed that he was taught his people's history by his mother, as was typical in Chorotega culture. As a very young man he was instructed in the art of warfare and was admired by his enemies, the Maribios, the Miskitos, the Matagalpas, and the Nahuas. He fought and won many fierce battles with the Nahuas, who gave him the name Diriangén, or “Master of the Dirianes, people from the mountains.” Dávila arrived in Gran Nicoya in search of gold, precious stones, and other riches, as well as an intercontinental passage between ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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