Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotln or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in 1852. Prior to its inception as the capital city, the title had alternated between the cities of Len and Granada. The city has a population of about 2,200,000, composed predominantly of mestizos and whites. Managua is the third most populous city in Central America, after Guatemala City and San Salvador respectively. Founded in 1819, the city was given the name: Leal Villa de Santiago de Managua. Its original purpose was to serve as a rural fishing village. Efforts to make Managua the capital of Nicaragua began in 1824, after the Central American nations formally attained their independence from Spain.
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